Second Presbyterian dedicates restored organ in Sunday concert

Second Presbyterian dedicates restored organ in Sunday concert

Church unveils completion of first of three phases of work on instrument

February 10th, 2018 by Susan Pierce in Life Entertainment

David Friberg plays the organ at Second Presbyterian Church, which was relocated from choir loft's pit at the front of the church sanctuary to the back of the congregation.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: Organ dedication concert.

› When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11.

› Where: Second Presbyterian Church, 700 Pine St.

› Admission: Free.

› Phone: 423-266-2828.


In an era when many churches are gravitating to keyboards, guitars and drums to accompany congregational singing, Second Presbyterian Church is investing in the restoration of its 60-year-old pipe organ.

The first of three phases of restoration will be showcased Sunday during a dedication concert at 4 p.m. featuring organist David Friberg and the Chancel Choir of the church. The Rev. Dr. Michael Phoenix will officiate over the program.

Dr. Kevin Ford, choir director, says the first phase involved repositioning the organ console from the pit of the choir loft in the front of the sanctuary to the rear of the congregation as well as a complete cleaning of the organ's pipes.

Phase 2 includes a new blower motor and the replacement of the chests that hold the pipes with new digital chests.

"This will allow the pipes to be combined in many more combinations than the old chests allowed and will allow more variety to come from the existing pipework. The new chests will also have room for additional pipes, which are part of Phase 3," Ford explains.

The original Moller organ console and pipes were a gift to the church by the family of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Maclellan in memory of their parents during a church renovation in 1958-1959, says Norma Witherspoon, chairman of the church's organ committee.

"The Maclellans were very active members of Second Church until their deaths. Their children grew up at Second," she says. "Mr. Maclellan's sister, Dora Maclellan Brown, also was a longtime beloved member who taught Sunday School."

Time and continual use had taken its toll on the Moller console over 60 years, and its inner workings were wearing out, says Witherspoon. Phase 1 focused on the console's replacement, constructed by Barger & Nix Organs of McDonald, Tenn.

Second Presbyterian Church, built in 1890, is a Gothic Revival building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was important to the organ committee that the new console blend with the sanctuary's historic architecture.

"Their workmanship is a perfect match. The console's cabinetry is matched so perfectly you can't tell it hasn't been there since the pews were," says Witherspoon.

Phase 1 was largely funded by a gift from the estate of Dudley Porter, says Ford, supplemented with a "great deal of funding from church members and friends."

The organ will be renamed the Maclellan-Porter organ.

Through all these gifts, the $175,670 cost of Phase 1 was funded, says Witherspoon.

"We are well on our way to covering the cost of Phase 2, approximately $200,000," she says.

Witherspoon explains that the restoration will keep the organ pipes that were the gift of the Maclellan family, but additional pipes will be added and there is no estimate on those until they are selected. However, the full restoration is estimated to reach at least $500,000.

Sunday's concert will feature solos by vocalist Laura Marshall and saxophonist Zach Tyler. Anthems on the program include "The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God" from Haydn's "The Seasons," "Thou Hidden Love of God" by Aaron McDermid and "Cry Out and Shout" by Knut Nystedt.

The concert is free, but a freewill offering will be collected to benefit the remaining restoration of the organ.

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.