The heart of Regina’s Knox-Metropolitan United Church is getting an organ tune-up, ahead of a major milestone.
Alongside the pipe organ’s 50th anniversary, Hart Godden is celebrating 25 years as the church organist.
“It’s a whole orchestra under your fingertips. That’s what makes it really exciting,” said Godden, who started playing the keys when he was a teen.
Godden plays a dual role when it comes to the church’s centerpiece; he’s also the city’s only organ technician. The job combines both of his passions: mechanics and music.
“I like building things, and it’s just a very complex machine, which is also a musical instrument,” Godden said. “Not only can you build it up from the ground up with wood and metal … then you get to play it at the end, too.”
Similar to the size of the 4000-pipe instrument, refurbishing and re-tuning the organ is a massive job for one person.
Organ technicians are rare, but Godden called in a co-worker and friend, Steve Miller.
“I’m not the guy who builds them, I’m the guy who fixes and maintains them,” said Miller, who is stationed in Calgary. “We’re making the adjustments to the sound of the instrument, the sound of the pipes and also to the way they start.”
Miller travels across Western Canada for his job. He’s gone as far west as Prince Rupert, B.C. and as far east as Weyburn. He says he’s worked on 200 pipe organs, but the one at Knox-Met stands out from most.
“Generally speaking, these organs from the sixties are considered sort of the newer era,” Miller said.
Knox-Met landed in the path of the deadly Regina Cyclone in 1912. Like much of the building, the original organ was destroyed.
“It was pretty badly damaged. Half the church had blown down,” Godden said.
While the organ is no longer brand new, Godden says he is still just “breaking in” the instrument. He says with proper care and attention, pipe organs can last for hundreds of years.
A celebration and hymn sing for the organ’s anniversary is scheduled for Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.