Donations of time and money save Dordt’s organ

Maddie Kobes — Staff Writer

The Casavant organ, built for Dordt in 1979, has recently undergone a major repair project. This organ is used for student practice and concerts, featuring students and professional organists.


The Casavant organ is the longest pipe organ in Iowa. Since being built in 1979, the metal had started collapsing in on itself.


“The B below middle C was missing,” Isabel Munson, an organ student, said. “They used it as a sample to make the new pipes.”


During the renovation, 400 of the organ’s over 2,000 pipes were replaced, including the largest pedal pipes in the facade. The Casavant organ company hand-crafted the 400-pound pipes during the past year. Casavant technicians, with the help of Dordt football players, lifted the pipes onto the organ case. None of the pipes were damaged in the process.


“We are thrilled that the organ is fully repaired,” Carrie Groenewold, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of Church Music and Organ, said. “And especially grateful for one anonymous donor who funded the entire project.”


Having adequate practice on the organ is essential. Each organ is different in feel, sound, and method of playing. Some hurt the organist’s hands.


Organists cannot just start playing a new organ they haven’t learned to play before. Students cannot be successful with only one hour of practice per week. Groenewold makes sure that students have enough practice time scheduled.


All the organ students meet at the beginning of the year to pick practice times. Each student gets two to three hours of practice per week; seniors get to pick first.


Groenewold “fights for practice times,” according to junior music student Karli Vanden Brink. “She’s a huge advocate.”

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