Midland University - Fremont, Ne

Hands-On Initiative

Hands-On Initiative

Aug 31st , 2005

 “A good organist does not play a functioning organ and have a good show.   A good organist plays a bad organ and has an amazing show.”

 Those are the words of Shane Krepp, a student who is taking his passion to heart. He is repairing the organ in Clemmons Hall that hasn’t worked for many years. 

When Krepp first found the organ there were smashed pipes, faulty wiring, excessive amounts of dust, random objects in the pipes and general maintenance issues. 

The music department had explained that vandalism had occurred to the organ, and Krepp said there were many stories of why the organ came to its current state. However, there seems to be no evidence of what actually happened. 

This is when Krepp took it upon himself to repair the damaged organ in Clemmons Hall. This task was too big to do alone. Therefore, he recruited the help of Jade Ricker, Chris Lunbeck and Kelsey Leinen.  

He said he started this project not only because he is very passionate about the instrument itself, but also because he felt it was the right thing to do. When he was a child, Krepp was taught by his grandfather to play the organ. Therefore, he grew up playing the instrument which turned into something very important to him.

Krepp played the organ at Clemmons Hall in order to find which pipes were damaged, he said. By hearing which pipes were unable to play or out of tune, he has been able to locate the pipes and repair them to the best of his ability. 

All of the pipes that were easily accessible were tended to the best way possible by the organ crew. Some of the pieces of the organ were not only damaged but missing. The organ crew not only had to repair — but in some cases they had to find — the missing pieces. In order to reach the biggest pipes, the crew had to crawl on their backs underneath the stage. 

While doing this, they found many different historical items, including math homework that consisted of sign, cosign and tangent without the use of a calculator; English homework from around 1915; an old whiskey bottle from a company that went out of business in 1926; an Edison light bulb box; and newspapers from 1919.

While these are great artifacts, the greatest artifact is the organ itself, Krepp said. Not a lot of people can see how special and beautiful the organ is. In fact, there are only a few well kept organs across the country.

This is Krepp’s first attempt to repair an organ, he said. He knows in theory how to fix one.  Another challenge the organ crew face is trying to use their knowledge of theater organs to repair a chapel organ, but the crew continues to work.

“If anything I would like people to take an appreciation for the organ away from this,” Krepp said.

By Adam Newport, for “The Midland” student newspaper

Photo Credit: Jade Ricker