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Glück Pipe Organ

The architecture of the church was taken into consideration when the new organ was designed and the instrument and its pipes were installed. Photo from Setauket Presbyterian Church

Setauket Presbyterian Church has a new addition, and the congregation is inviting community members to share in their joy.

On Oct. 16 the church will host an organ dedication. This year a new Glück Pipe Organ was installed in the sanctuary incorporating pipes from the church’s old organ, and after playing the instrument the last six months to make sure it was hitting all the right notes, it is now ready to be formally dedicated with world-renowned organist David Enlow from New York playing at the dedication event.

Jean Hrbek, a longtime church member, said while some fundraising was done most of the money came from the Gillespie Trust. The fund was established in 2016 when the church, along with five other philanthropic entities, was named a beneficiary of a $100 million charitable trust from the estates of Kingsley Gillespie and his son, Kenyon Gillespie. Setauket Presbyterian receives 10% of the annual 5% distribution required by law of such trusts every year.

Hrbek said an organ was first installed in the 1812-dated church in 1919 and was replaced in 1968. She said the new full pipe organ, with 1,200 pipes and designed by company president Sebastian M. Glück, is a beautiful addition to the church and the sound is incredible.

“It just fills the whole sanctuary,” she said. “It’s really magnificent.”

Because an organ needs to be custom-built to the place it is going to be played in, it was constructed inside the church, Hrbek said. The designer also took into consideration the church’s architecture when designing the new organ so it blends in.

Interim Pastor Kate Jones Calone said watching the building and installation process was amazing and an interesting learning experience.

“I learned a lot from seeing how they built the instrument and also thought about what was the right kind of instrument for this particular worshipping community … the technical skills that went into it was incredible. It is really fascinating to watch, and despite the fact that I’ve been hearing organs play all my life, I had never really seen this process up close.”

The church’s director of music Noby Ishida said the 1968 organ was used every day until recently. He added that as an organ gets older, listeners can notice the difference in the sound. He said a lot of parts wear out over time. Leather is one of the significant parts and as it ages it gets looser. The material can even become porous and develop holes. Ishida said while it’s customary for organ pipes to be sent out to be cleaned, over time constant repairs can lead to costly mechanical issues.

The new organ has the latest equipment, too, with an electronic device where it can be prerecorded with presets, according to Ishida.

“Everything is modernized, so that you focus on playing the organ,” he said.

The musical director said every church has its own acoustical space, including the size of the sanctuary and things such as carpeting which absorbs sounds, and the Presbyterian church has carpeting, so some extra pipes were needed. Ishida said even the pedals add to the quality as they provide the bass underpinning that he said gives the “foundation of the harmony.”

Jones Calone said that music is a meaningful part of worship life and sacred music is written for the organ. She added that music even helps many people learn scripture. The pastor sees the new instrument as an investment that will enrich worship life for current as well as future congregants.

“I think a lot of people, myself included, find that music in worship lifts us up, it strengthens us, it challenges us,” she said.

The pastor said the congregation is looking forward to the community hearing the organ on Saturday, Oct. 16, at the church. There will be two dedication events at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Setauket Presbyterian Church is located at 5 Caroline Ave.