More than 40 years after it was last refurbished, and more than 80 years after it was first built, the pipe organ at Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Hanover is once again in peak playing condition.
To celebrate its latest rehabilitation, the church held an organ dedication concert on Sunday.
At the console was John Peragallo III, whose company rebuilt the organ.
The Peragallo Pipe Organ Company of Paterson, N.J., began work on the $208,000 project July 9 and completed it Oct. 25.
The company was founded in 1918 by John Peragallo Sr., who apprenticed to E.M. Skinner Organ Co., the company which built the original organ in 1930.
It underwent a rebuild in 1964, when additional stops were added, and in 1972, the M.P. Mller Co. of Hagerstown added a new console and 10 ranks.
Since then, however, no work had been done.
"Forty years is a long time for anything electronic," said Donald Horneff, director of music at Emmanuel. "It was spotty. I did not know what to expect. It was very frustrating. No matter what I did, I couldn't rely on anything. I'd hit the B-flat pedal and the F would play. I'd hit the F pedal and the B-flat would play."
"I'd hit this note," he added, miming playing a key with his index finger, "then this one," he mimed hitting one with his ring finger, "and this one would play, even though I hadn't hit it," he mimed, wiggling his middle finger.
The organ console and its more than 2,800 pipes were returned Oct. 25, just in time for the Hanover ghost tour, Horneff added, and he has used it the past two Sundays for services.
The work was completed in such short time because overall, the organ was in good shape.
"The pipes were very, very, very dirty," Peragallo III said. "But they didn't need to be re-leathered."
Because the organ is pneumatic, there is leather at the base of each pipe. The pipes were moved for cleaning and the old console was removed and replaced with an entirely rebuilt one.
The new console, which weighs "several hundred pounds," according to Horneff, was designed so it could be placed front and center for concerts, or off to the side of the choir box so that the director and choir members can see the organist, he explained.
"It was really most satisfying. We see this start from the woodpile ... there are so many aspects involved. It was just the greatest experience," Peragallo III said of playing the first concert on the rebuilt organ.