March 3, 2012
Organ-builder: perfect career choice for an Earlhamite, especially one who first choice of a major was chemistry, before he stumbled upon an organ, probably in Earlham’s Goddard Auditorium. Today, Andrew Gingery is project manager for C. B. Fisk, an organ maker and installer, where he has worked for 22 years. He’s working now on installing a new organ in Harvard’s Memorial Chapel.
The organ, named the Opus 139, is a wonder of human ingenuity and workmanship, two stories of wood and pipes rising from the back of a balcony in Appleton Chapel.
The outside of the organ is an intricately carved wood casing framing a row of enormous pipes coated in gold leaf. But it’s in the bowels of the organ that the real magic occurs. Behind the gilded facade is a labyrinth of 3,110 pipes and carbon fiber trackers (like wires) spread over three levels that are connected by thin wooden ladders. It’s a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in a Jules Verne novel.