NEWBERRY — The Lutheran Church of The Redeemer is hosting a hymn festival and musical celebration at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Schantz pipe organ. A reception will follow.
Construction of the present church began in 1964 when the second church building and annex were dismantled. The church bell of 1853 was retained and kept in storage for restoration to be used as part of a future building program. At present, it is installed in the tower of the Redeemer Family Life Center.
For 19 months following the concluding service in the second church on March 1, 1964, the congregation worshiped in Boundary Street Elementary School. The Service of Groundbreaking for the new church was conducted on May 17, 1964.
The present building was consecrated on Nov. 21, 1965. The Community Interdenominational Thanksgiving Day Service on Nov. 25, the First Communion Service on Nov. 28, and the Service of Blessing of Memorial, Honor, and Special Gifts on Dec. 5 completed the opening celebration.
As part of this building program, a contract with the Schantz Organ Company in Orrville, Ohio, was signed and the new pipe organ was constructed. The Schantz Organ Company was opened in 1873 and is the largest and oldest American Pipe Organ builder still under the ownership of the founding family.
The original design of the organ consisted of 24 ranks with 1,496 pipes and the 21-note chime set from the former organ. Since 1966, the organ has been enlarged to 29 ranks to include additional stops for the pedal organ, a zymbelstern, and a trompette-en-chamade installed in the rear gallery. The organ is controlled by a three-manual console which is located on the right side of the chancel.
Over the past 50 years, the Schantz pipe organ has provided music for worship services, marriages, funerals, recitals, and other community events.