Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord

Organ Renewal Project


The Kirk’s musical heritage has been at the heart of our worship since our founding in 1947.  Investing in an instrument of incomparable quality, Kirk in the Hills affirms its commitment to the future excellence of fine and sacred arts in the Detroit area.

After 65 years of use, Kirk in the Hills Organ needs not just a renovation but a re-envisioned instrument.  By Christmas 2027, the organ will be reimaged with two new antiphonal ranks of pipes, leading the congregation into the next 80 years.

PIPE ORGAN RENEWAL PROJECT BROCHURE

Sanctuary Organ History

The Kirk organ had its beginnings with the design of the sanctuary in 1954.  Installed in 1958, it has seen many changes over the years.

  • 1958 - Pipe organ installed by Möller Opus 8863. The original organ had 89 Stops with 4,902 pipes. 

  • 1962 - Aeolian-Skinner replaced some Swell and Pedal reeds and added the original Trumpette-en-Chamade under the supervision of Fred Marriott.

  • 1993 - King of Instruments replaced the original solid-state console with an electronic state-of-the-art console. Bill Whitehead added new Walker Digital Stops. The new console was created with blank stops with the hope of adding more in the future.  

  • 2004 - West chancel chamber was insulated because of frequent leaks in the chamber. Fiberoptic cable was added for a better connection to the antiphonal chambers.

  • 2014 - Trumpette-en-Chamade were replaced by Jerroll Adams Organ company under Glenn Miller’s guidance.  

  • 2027 - A reimaged instrument will be installed by the Létourneau Organ company. The new instrument will have 88 Stops with 4,824 pipes. The project will reuse 1,750 pipes from the existing organ.

Organ 101

 


A pipe organ is called the King of Instruments because of the multiple sounds it can create.  It is not just the artistry in the pipes, but mechanical engineering and computer system that runs it. The organ can be a small orchestra or a great booming sound when you ‘pull out all the stops’.

 

Learn More → 

 

Pipe Organ Project FAQ's

Why do we need to replace the existing pipe organ?

The existing organ has reached the end of its useful life and has started to fail. It is a Moeller organ installed in 1958 and has had numerous additions and corrections over the years. Nearly 200 of its 4,500 pipes are not working; some windchests are cracked; and some electrical cables were installed in a way that is not in compliance with today’s codes.

 Additionally, the Moeller organ was never properly voiced for the sanctuary.

 A full explanation of the problems with the existing organ is contained in our consultant’s report, available here.

How will the new pipe organ be better than the existing organ? 

A detailed acoustic study of the sanctuary was undertaken, and the new organ addresses the findings:

  • The new organ will be properly voiced for the sanctuary, sounding more powerful even while being played more softly than the existing organ.
  • New, exposed antiphonal pipes mounted high on the back wall of the nave will help distribute sound throughout the sanctuary.
  • The two bays next to the altar will have exposed, façade pipes that will project sound more efficiently into the sanctuary.

Who is the builder of the new organ?

The Kirk contracted with Létourneau Organs of Saint-Hyacinthe (near Montreal), Quebec, Canada to build the organ. The new organ will be their 143rd organ. The organ committee recommended Létourneau because it proposed the best design to solve the imbalance of sound in the nave with the best, up-to-date technology. The new organ will have 86 ranks and 4,824 pipes.

What is the timeline for building the new organ?

  • Now to July 2027: Létourneau designs, builds, and tests the new organ at its workshop.
  • September 2026: Létourneau removes about one-third of current pipes for reuse in new organ.
  • September 2026 to July 2027: The Kirk removes remaining parts of the current organ, repairs the organ chambers, and constructs an iron framework to support the new organ.
  • July 2027: New organ is completed in Létourneau workshop.
  • July 2027 to December 2027: Létourneau installs, voices, and tunes the new organ, ready to play in December 2027.

Will we be able to use the Sanctuary during construction?

The sanctuary will be sporadically unavailable from September 2026 through July 2027 during pipe removal, organ chamber repair, and construction of supports for the new ranks in the chancel and the antiphonal ranks at the rear of the nave. The sanctuary will be unavailable from July 2027 through December 2027 during installation of the new organ.

When the sanctuary is unavailable, worship and other services will take place in the Refectory.

What other work can be done in the sanctuary during construction?

Although not part of the organ project, other work is being planned for the sanctuary from September 2026 to July 2027. This work may include replacing the electrical system, updating the sanctuary lights, reglazing some stained-glass windows, replacing the curtains in the upper left rear of the nave, new cameras and microphones, new lighting in the chancel, and hardening part of the ceiling in the chancel for better acoustics.

How much will the new pipe organ cost?

The contract price for the new organ is $3.5 million. Work to be done to prepare the sanctuary for the new organ (pipe and machinery removal, organ chamber repair, and steel support structure construction) will add about $300,000 to the cost, for a total cost of $3.8 million.

The additional work in the sanctuary beyond the organ project is currently being estimated for cost.

What are the sources for funding the cost of the new pipe organ?

The 75th Anniversary campaign pledged $1.5 million toward the organ. A generous donor has pledged $1 million. The remaining $1.3 million will be raised from members and friends of the Kirk.

How can I donate to the new pipe organ?

  • Click Here to donate online. Select "Pipe Organ" from the dropdown fund option.
  • Contact the Business Office at 248-626-2515
  • Email
  • If you prefer, you can also make a pledge to help support the pipe organ fund.

Who do I contact for further information about the new pipe organ?

You may contact any member of the organ fundraising committee. 

  • Keith Peters (Chair)
  • Carol Beggs
  • Jeff Beggs
  • Dennis Curry
  • Ian Dittus
  • Todd Galloway
  • Jeff Haynes
  • Judith Premin
  • Kimberly Shapiro
  • Jennifer True

Please call the Business Office at 248-626-2515 for committee member contact information.

Support the Pipe Organ Project

 

To help support the pipe organ project please contact the Business Office at 248-626-2515 or email  .


If you prefer, you may also donate or make a pledge online using the links below:

DONATE      PLEDGE



Organ Project Updates

Updates on the Kirk pipe organ project will be posted here. Please check back to keep up-to-date on the status of the project.