STOUCHSBURG ---- A benefit organ recital will be held on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at Reed’s Lutheran Church, Stouchsburg. This year’s musical program, featuring a Dieffenbach organ built in 1874 by Thomas Dieffenbach, will be different from the first two recitals in several ways. Because this historic organ continues to be hand pumped to produce its sound, the Dieffenbach organ will be played for a half hour and then alternated with two other historic organs in the church sanctuary. Visitors will be able to hear all three organs throughout the afternoon at half-hour intervals..
“The Reed’s Church Dieffenbach organ is unique among the five public Dieffenbach organs in that it requires an assistant to ‘pump’ a side handle to supply air in order to play it,” explains Carol Dieffenbach Kantner, secretary/treasurer of the Dieffenbach Organ Preservation Society which was formed in 2015. “Most of the other organs had electric blowers installed to supply air to the bellows. The History Center’s organ has the original foot pedals for this purpose.
“This one-manual organ was moved to the basement of Reed’s Church some time ago. The top of it is now obscured by a dropped ceiling. Because of the size of the room and the limitations of the organ needing to be hand-pumped, this year’s recital will be conducted slightly differently than the first two which featured a Dieffenbach organ being played for an hour-long program.”
The Thomas Dieffenbach organ will be played at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Samuel Bohler Pipe Organ and the Gruber Organ, both located in the sanctuary, will be played at 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. During the afternoon, donations for preserving the Dieffenbach organs will be accepted. Refreshments will be available between performances.
This year’s event continues the community efforts to raise funds to repair and maintain Dieffenbach organs located in four Berks County churches and the Berks History Center. Adam Dieffenbach, a descendent of the original builder, will once again be playing the historic organs.
The free recital will begin at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 1:00 p.m. The first annual meeting of the Dieffenbach Organ Preservation Society will begin at that time. The public is welcome to attend and all are invited to become members. Seventy-two charter members have joined the Society since it was introduced last October at the benefit recital. Annual dues are $5 for individuals and $25 for associations. All who join in 2016 will be considered charter members.