The Polynesian Cultural Center is the proud owner of an 1890 Estey Pump Organ, called a parlor organ. It is about 7.5 feet tall. Isn’t it magnificent? For many years Estey produced more pump organs in the USA than any other manufacturer in its day.
This organ was donated and placed here when the Mission Chapel was built in 1984. Although lovingly cared for, it has experienced long periods of disrepair due to humidity, heat, bugs and mice.
The latest refurbish took almost a year to complete, from late January to early Dec. of 2014 and was directed by a volunteer, Dave Lunt who had been a college choir director and professional piano technician before retirement. Even with all of his experience tuning and repairing hundreds of pianos, he had never attempted an organ before. Through phone contacts with an expert in organ refurbishing, and a “how to” book, the organ was dismantled and repaired section by section.
One of the biggest hurdles was in repairing the bellows which were cracked and full of holes. It was painstakingly dismantled, and the old material replaced. Next, they carefully removed the keyboard section, and found that termites had eaten much of the wood out of the 61 keys. This resulted in an intense rebuild.
122 brass reeds were cleaned one at a time, with vinegar, and carefully reinstalled. Finally, all wood surfaces were repaired and polished as needed, replacement lanterns were located and installed and the stops were regulated for the best sound. Once it was reassembled, and lots of prayers were said and fingers were crossed, the pump organ was tested it…and it worked! Many people were involved in the detailed restoration process, which truly became a labor of love.
We’d love to have you come hear this pump organ in action here at the Polynesian Cultural Center, open daily except Sundays on the beautiful north shore of Oahu.
Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 41 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.