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Jeremy Wance was the project leader for the restoration and preservation of the 1/5 Hinners Opus 2686 as part of his master’s program in organ technology. The instrument was originally installed in St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hull, Iowa in 1924. The church building was sold in 1950 to the Vogelaar-Bolin Funeral Home in George, Iowa; the entire building was loaded onto trucks and driven down the road with the organ still inside. Judith Finn bought the instrument in 2004 and donated it to the American Organ Institute in 2008.
Very little was changed in the instrument throughout its lifetime. The organ was originally hand-pumped by a calcant (usually a church youth) who was paid 35¢ per Sunday for his effort. A blower was added sometime later. The only other known change to the organ was the painting and stenciling of the façade pipes.
While Hinners Opus 2686 was destined to be a practice instrument at the University of Oklahoma, one of the main goals of the restoration was to preserve its historicity. To this end, traditional materials and techniques were used whenever possible, and marks such as graffiti left by bored calcants were preserved. A new blower was added, but the original bellows was kept intact and operational.
As in most projects, the AOI partnered with an outside professional for consultation on the particular challenges and opportunities afforded by this project. Matthew Bellocchio, of Andover Organs, spent time in the AOI shop examining the instrument and discussing restoration techniques. His particular skills were a benefit to all who worked on this project.
Because the restoration of the Hinners was not a small project, some tasks were delegated to other students. Rachel Foster was tasked with cleaning, repairing, and releathering the reservoir, while Andrea Printy cleaned and refinished the façade pipes and dealt with aspects of the organ case.