Plymouth-Trinity's Casavant organ was rebuilt in 1987. The following article appeared in the January 30, 1987 edition of The Record newspaper:
By Laurel Sherrer
SHERBROOKE--For organist Pam Eby, playing hymns at Plymouth-Trinity Church has been a bit of a struggle in the past few months.
The pipe organ, installed in 1907, has been undergoing a major restoration job since September, and Eby has had to accompany liturgical music on the piano—something she finds very unsatisfying.
"I'm very unhappy playing the piano," she says. "You can try to lead (the congregation) but you can't. It doesn't have the sustaining power of the organ."
It won't be long, though, until Eby and the whole Plymouth-Trinity congregation will be hearing the organ resounding through the church again. And it will probably sound better than it ever did.
A $67,000 restoration job is in its final stages now, and an inaugural concert should be taking place in April.
The church has enlisted the services of Guilbault and Therien, a firm that makes, repairs and restores pipe organs. The craftsman started dismantling the organ in September, and since then they have cleaned and voiced "a couple of thousand" pipes, according to Guy Therien of the company.
Therien says what his company is doing to the organ is "giving back its true organ sound". The instrument, he says, was built at a time when the emphasis was on a sturdy, long-lasting product, rather than a well-crafted instrument.
"They were building mass-produced instruments without taking into account craftsmanship and the artistic aspect," he says. "They were not taking into account the sound of the organ, really."
The organ has served the church well up until recently. But over the past 10 years or so, its use has become more and more limited as, one by one, whole ranks of pipes would become unplayable.
"The organ was at its last stage of reliability," says Therien. "The action was not reliable so we decided to have the organ completely rebuilt and tonally revised."
In taking apart the organ, the restorers found some of the wooden pipes were cracked, metal ones had been pinched instead of properly tuned, and repairs had been made with masking tape.
As well as working on the pipes to make them sound better, Guilbault and Therien have installed an electronic system for activating the pipes. With the old mechanical system, there was a delay between the pressing of a key and the emission of a sound.
Eby tried the organ recently, although the restoration job is not quite complete. She says is has a completely different sound now. "It's super," she exclaimed. "It's a nice sound."
When the organ is fully restored, says Eby, it will likely be used for more than just church services. The inaugural concert will feature the renowned Jean LeBuis, an organist from Val d'Or. A concert series has already begun, featuring organ, chamber ensemble and choir recitals, all inspired by the restoration of the organ.
The fund-raising efforts for the projects are continuing, says Plymouth-Trinity minister Martyn Sadler. So far, about $50,000 of the $67,000 needed has been raised. Sadler says he's been surprised by the people's willingness to donate to the cause.
"People were willing to give to this project because it's a concrete thing," he says. "This remains and there's a permanence to it."
Even the people outside the congregation gave significant amounts to the project, he said.
(The Record, January 30, 1987.)