An organ recital by Mark Steiner of Cumberland to be held at the First United Methodist Church in Meyersdale at 3 p.m. Sunday. The church's original, 109-year-old organ, which was recently refurbished, will be the featured instrument. A social with light refreshments will follow the recital.
When a badly leaking roof caused severe damage to the office of the First United Methodist Church last November, a serious look was taken at the church's pipe organ which was in close proximity.
Art Faner, chairman of the Trustee Board, saw that the damage to the roof also caused minor damage to the organ and the wall behind it. The organ was still usable, but he did not want the historic organ to fall into a state of disrepair. He went to the council with the proposal to have the organ refurbished.
"I wanted to save our organ. It's a part of church's history and legacy," said Faner.
The organ was donated to the church by Andrew Carnegie in March of 1903. The chimes were donated at the same time in memory of James H. Black by his wife Edythe L. Black of Meyersdale. It has been played ever since for services held there.
It was approved to have the organ refurbished by the Steiner-Murphy Pipe Organ Co. of Cumberland, Md. with the help of Joe Conn, James and Art Faner. The historic organ was taken apart piece by piece, laid in the church pews, repaired, painstakingly painted, then put together again.
Seen from the front, the organ has 57 pewter pipes which are the showpiece of the organ. Working behind the scene are 300 pipes made of wood or metal, and also the chimes.
The restoration took two months. It was finished just before the Pennsylvania Maple Festival when the church is open for tours by festival goers.
"It took nine days to paint the pipes alone," Faner said. "The repairs were very expensive, but it was worth it. It was a labor of love, and it looks new and sounds just as sweet as ever!
"We found out that Mark Steiner, plays the organ as well as he repairs them," Faner added. "So we ask if he would come perform a recital for us, and he accepted."
The First United Methodist Church is on 336 Main St. in Meyersdale. Pastor and Associate Pastor respectively are David Bowman and Marlin Miller. Any donations for the upkeep of the organ will be accepted.