Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Organ

  • The IUP Department of Music is pleased to announce the installation of the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Organ, leased to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania by the American Guild of Organists.

    On May 12, the installation process began for the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Organ in the large instrumental rehearsal room in Cogswell Hall. After being carefully stored in a facility in Lancaster County, the reconstruction and reassembling of parts began in early 2014. The IUP installation process spanned over a month of work which was completed by the original organ builder, Raymond J. Brunner of Raymond J. Brunner and Co., Silver Spring, PA.

    Watch a time lapse video of the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Organ installation.

    Cogswell Hall is the new home of this two manual (two keyboards), mechanical action organ which comes to the university via a special, renewable lease from the American Guild of Organists. The pipe organ is a bequest to the Guild from its original owners, Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee, formerly of Bucks County, PA; it is valued at $400,000. The organ casework is gilded in 22-karat gold leaf, inspired by the early Pennsylvania German organists of David Tannenberg (1728-1804). Tannenberg was the most famous apprentice of Johann Gottlob Clemm, who established the rich, early 18th-century Pennsylvania organ building tradition.

    Throughout the course of the organ's installation, IUP students, faculty, staff, alumni and area church organists volunteered to assist Mr. Brunner in the on-site work. From carrying wind chests (this holds the pipes in a neat row) to holding over 650 pipes in place, the work of many hands contributed to the finished product. Volunteers were also asked to hold each key and pedal note while the builder tuned each pipe. This tuning process took over ten hours to complete. The final stages of the installation include allowing the pipes to settle over the course of the next few months, so that each pipe can acclimate to the ambient temperature of the hall. On June 19, the Lester D. Yankee and Ronald G. Yankee Memorial Organ was heard for the first time in the hall. The organ is a distinguished addition to the beautiful 93 Steinway pianos, one small, portable Martin Ott Organ (without a pedal board), and a two manual Martin Harpsichord. 

    In addition to funding the move and installation of the pipe organ, the AGO will be responsible for its ongoing maintenance, tuning and repairs. It will also establish the Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Annual Competition, a composition competition to encourage the creation of new music specifically for this instrument. Each year the winning composition will be given its world premier performance in a formal recital at IUP by an internationally recognized organist.

    The organ will serve as IUP's premier performance instrument and will be used for solo organ performances as well as collaborative ensemble music written for brass, percussion, strings, voice, woodwinds, keyboard concerti, and choral accompaniment. Music students in all applied performance areas will benefit from having a high quality organ available for accompanying both student and faculty recitals on campus.

     
    AGO LogoThe American Guild of Organists is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, it sets and maintains high musical standards and promotes the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music. The mission of the AGO is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. The Guild currently serves approximately 18,000 members in more than 300 local chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The American Organist magazine, the official journal of the AGO and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America, reaches an audience of more than 20,000 each month.