by Steve Panizza
My first instrument was built some twenty years ago for a church that closed not long ago. The building was purchased by an African American Apostolic congregation which had no use for the organ. It was advertised for sale and subsequently purchased and removed by John Miller, a young organ builder in Milwaukee who is just starting out, but whose interest lies in mechanical player instruments. He comes off a 3 1/2 year apprenticeship in Germany. He was impressed enough with the tonal and visual design of the organ I built to consider it worthy of saving.
"Steve has taken a scientific, logical, and practical approach in designing and building his instruments, and it was the voicing that ultimately won me over to rescue this instrument from the closed Racine parish upon the sale of their building".
- John Miller
So I would like to build you a pipe organ. I have a very specific concept in mind and if you will, please read on and let me know what you think as we ride the elevator together.
The removal and storage of my first instrument by Milwaukee organ builder John Miller creates an opportunity. When I first began to seriously think about pursuing life as an independent organ builder out of college, a series of formative influences guided me to develop an understanding of the instrument as something collaborative and sustainable, something I lately refer to as the collaborative classical coffee shop concept. John Miller and I got together at the end of last year to talk about our shared ideas, and the concept for a project that we would do together using material sourced from my first instrument began to take hold.
Using my design archives with the goal of repurposing as much material as possible to help lower project cost, I developed a new specification and design concept.