KAPA‘A — “Louder!” Kevin Cartwright calls out as his fingers gently push the keys of the All Saints’ Episcopal Church pipe organ.
Behind a wall in the tight pipe chamber room, his partner Morgan Byrd delicately tunes, optimizing the sound in the church.
Cartwright and Byrd are with Rosales Organ Builders, the team tasked with restoring the island’s only pipe organ. And they’re working on a deadline.
The Rosales Organ Builders’ Opus 41 will be ready just in time for the Church’s Sunday, May 16 concert. The concert will be by reservation only due to the ongoing pandemic, and will also be live-streamed on the All Saints’ website.
The original Austin Pipe Organ was donated in 1925 by S.W. Wilcox and became the island’s first and only pipe organ. In February 2016, the pipe was decommissioned, and All Saints’ started a capital campaign to reconstruct and expand the original four-ranks of pipes.
The new instrument features ‘Olelo Hawai‘i terminology and incorporates traditional Native Hawaiian sounds, like a conch and ‘ukelele as well as birds. The Opus 41 took inspiration from a theatre organ, slightly different than a regular church organ, to highlight these dynamic sounds.
It’s an undertaking that took as many elements of the organ that could be restored as possible, including some pipes, but much of the organ is new and manufactured by hand by Rosales and shipped over from Los Angeles. The copper pipes are sealed to ward off corrosion.
It’s the final stretch to restore and update the organ that started up again late last year and was temporarily interrupted by the pandemic. But as the team analyzed each pipe one at a time for volume, tone and octave on Friday, Rosales President and Director Cartwright said they’re on target for a May 8 completion date.
“All that time, it’s been sitting here silent,” All Saints’ Junior Warden Ron Morinishi said last week.