THE MAPLE STREET CHAPEL
The Rogers organ was installed by S.B. Smith & Associates in Elmhurst. In addition to the standard stops, it has a full MIDI capability, meaning it has a complement of instruments such as harp, guitar, chimes, bells, and violin. It also has the capability of recording a performance. This is not a recording of the sound, but of the actual keystrokes of the organist, meaning the recording literally plays the organ. The sound of this organ using speakers is considerably better than the old pipe organ, but the new organ could be enhanced to play the pipes also.
The former organ had been installed in 1945, having been built in 1920, and
obtained second-hand from a lodge. It had needed extensive
overhaul for some time.
pictures inside the room in the attic of the
Behind the grill you see in the wall is a room which was added to the Reade Room attic when the organ was installed in 1945.
The old organ console was really nothing but a bunch of electrical switches. A large motor in the basement pumped air up to the room in the attic As the organist pressed keys, electrical solenoids opened to allow the air to pass through the appropriate pipes.
different type of metal and wood gave
This picture shows the back side of the grill in the wall. The vertical boards are dampers which are opened and closed as the organist presses the pedal on the console to make the organ louder and softer.
The first two rows of pipes were removed in order to make space for the speakers of the new organ. These speakers have been carefully packed in boxes, as we could some day make the new organ drive some of these pipes for more sound.
It is surprising to walk through the dusty old attic, but then enter the organ room which is closed off with a door and fully plastered. Cleanliness is essential to keep the organ in good working condition.
If you've ever had a tour of the chapel, you've probably heard how the original 1870 organ had a foot-operated bellows. Some of that mechanism still remains in the crawl space underneath: