How do you rebuild a 70 year-old pipe organ?  You give a recital.

The Rev’d Edward K. Erb, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale  explains:  “When you have a 70 year-old electrical system in your home - you replace it with safe and efficient modern wiring.  When your electric “brain’s” switches begin to fail, you replace them  with a solid-state electronic system which provides more accuracy of performance and added flexibility.

When your 70 year-old leather shoes wear out, you buy a new pair - such is the leather in a 70 year-old pipe organ which relies on leather pouches to make the pipes sing.  All of this costs a great deal of money.  And so, Grace Episcopal Church looks to raise $200,000 to rebuild her fine and yet failing pipe organ.

Father Erb is a former full-time Church musician and as the priest at Grace Church enjoys also being her organist and choir director.  His annual spring recital honors two former long-term organists at Grace Church, notably Mrs. Phyllis Korb, who many in the community might remember as she taught privately many young musicians in Honesdale.

The other organist was Mabel Broad who preceded Mrs. Korb as organist at the Church.  Ms. Broad’s legacy extends to this day as the 1960 M.P. Möller pipe organ was the gift to the Church upon her death. 

“Adagios and Allegros” is the theme for this year’s recital.  Music by Baroque composers Dietrich Buxtehüde, J. S. Bach and William Boyce will be complemented by French Romantic composers Louis Vierne and Charles-Marie Widor (including the famous “Toccata” from his fifth Organ Symphony).  20th century music will be represented with Samuel Barber (the familiar “Adagio for Strings”) and two of Fr. Erb’s own compositions - a Toccata in A, and a meditation on the Gospel hymn, “I’ll Fly Away.”

Part of the reason for these recitals is not only to raise money for the organ rebuilding, but to raise awareness of organ music in general and the majesty of the pipe organ throughout history.  "We need a new generation of organists," explains Father Erb.  The pipe organ is the original synthesizer with one player performing on a whole orchestra of sounds.

The recital will be held at Grace Episcopal Church at the corner of Church and Ninth Streets in Honesdale (on Central Park) at 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 9th.  A suggested donation of $20 will benefit the Church’s Organ Fund, although all contributions are appreciated.  Father Erb jokes that any donations under - or over - $10,000 will be accepted. 

A wine and cheese reception will follow.  For more information, you may call (570) 241-2685.