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Church Raises Funds for Organ Renovation - KOAM TV 7

Church Raises Funds for Organ Renovation

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 For the past 112 years, members of the St. Mary's catholic church in Pierce City have worshiped with the sounds of a 650-pipe organ.  

But now, with thousands of dollars in restoration needed, the congregation is looking for ways to preserve the organ which has been a constant for more than  a century.  

"I still get nervous [playing]. I try to make each weekend, each Sunday when the choir's here, special," organist Rhonda Forgey said. 

Forgey knows she's not just playing music. She's handling one of the church's most beloved artifacts.

"It's over a hundred years old, here. So it is the oldest member in our church," Forgey said.

Built in 1889, the organ came to St. Mary's in 1913. And after a century-plus of wear, it needs restoration.

"There's 650 different pipes that have to be taken off and washed," Renovation Coordinator Danny Boman said. "The main reservoir on the inside is made of leather and they're 100-some years old and they're ready to be repaired. I mean, it's pretty fragile."

The church has already raised about $116,000 of it's $125,000 goal. Leaving just $9,000 needed to ensure the organ can join in worship for generations to come.

"My husband and I were married in this church. And his parents were married in this church. And his grandparents," church member Kristi Chapman said. "You know, we're really a big family here. A big church family. And the organ has been part of that for over 100 years. And a lot of people really value it. So they want to restore it. They want this project to happen, and it will happen."

"It is just a vital part of the church," Forgey said. "I mean, when you think about it, where would mass be without music? It will be here for 100 years more. And whoever takes over for me, it will become a part of their life."

The church will hold a benefit concert and dance April 18th in the St. Mary's gymnasium.  The Mark Chapman Band will perform, live.

St. Mary's has also started a GoFundMe page.


If funding comes through, the church hopes to have renovations complete by September.


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