Razzody Music

The Hazel Wright Organ Restoration


Loaded shop   Gallery operating system   celestial
All the parts we will be working with for the next 18 months.   Removal of Gallery operating system 1.   Celestial 16' Trompette removal.
  Great chest   Unwiring
Removal of Gallery operating system 2.   Gallery Great chest ready for removal.   Unwiring of Gallery wiring plane.
Floorpipes   Re-wiring of a manual chest primary.   String chest removal
Beginning the pipe layout before crating and shipping. Pipes to the left of the center fountain (pictured) are being restored locally.   Re-wiring of a manual chest primary.   Preparing one of the String main chests for removal.
Flying the string chest.     Blue paint.
Flying the string chest (one of two main chests) out of the chamber. Don't try this at home.   Preparing to fly the Gallery console out of the
south balcony.
  Notice the blue paint on the bottom of the blocks.
This is left over from the Lincoln Center, New York days when the organ chamber was painted in this blue color.
chamade-chest-lower   pos chest lower1   pos chest lower2
Lowering the Gospel chamade chest.   Lowering the Positive chest 1.   Ground rigger Ed receives the Positive chest
as it reaches the ground.
ped pipe lower   string chest prep   string chest out
Lowering a 16' Principal pipe.   Lead rigger, Ward, foreground and Scott
prepping a String chest for removal.
Brian and Piero are just out of the frame.
  Ed prepared to receive the String chest.
Choir facade pedal chest toe blocks   Vacuuming table board.   wiping down tableboard.
Refinishing of the Choir facade pedal chest toe blocks.   Vacuuming one of the Choir table boards.   Cleaning one of the Choir table boards before remounting the toe boards.
Wiping down offset.   Re-mounting the toe board.   Inspecting 32’ Diapason
Wiping down a Great offset chest.   Re-mounting the toe boards on one of the
Great main chests.
  Inspecting 32’ Diapason.
Diapason action removal   Repaired pipes in storage   finished rackboards
Removing the Diapason action.   Repaired pipes in storage.   Finished Rack boards in storage.
Chamber cleaning   Re-leathering winkers   Positive chest before
Chamber cleaning under the chests.   Re-leathering winkers.   Positive chest before re-finishing.
Positive chest after   Re-finishing rackboards   Re-stenciling rackboards
Positive chest after re-finishing.   Re-finishing rackboards.   Re-stenciling rackboards.
Wiring junction fabrication   Preparing pouches for re-leathering   More pouch preparation
Wiring junction fabrication.   Preparing pouches for re-leathering.   More pouch preparation.
Leathering in progress #1   Leathering in progress #2   Leathering in progress #3
Leathering in progress #1.   Leathering in progress #2.   Leathering in progress #3.
New valves   Going to work   Covered gallery
Installing new valves on offset bungs.   Sawyers on his way to work riding his "scooter".   Gallery organ covered and sealed.
Refinishing muffler cover   Tim Newby helping with the Chancel organ covering   Great main chests being covered
Refinishing a muffler cover.   Tim Newby helping with the Chancel organ covering.   Great main chests being covered


Click on the images below to see larger version.
covering the Diapason   Inside the Ruffatti Swell   Chancel covering from the center catwalk east side.
Scott covering the 32' Diapason.   View from inside the Ruffatti Swell.   View of chancel covering from the
center catwalk east side.
Chancel covering from main catwalk at center   View of model   View of model
Chancel covering from main catwalk at center.   View from what will be the west balcony rail
looking north-east (model).
  View from main floor west side looking north (model).
spraying-muffler-covers   muffler-covers-awaiting   Trimming felt strips
Spraying the muffler covers with
lemon shellac (four coats).
  Sanded and prepared muffler covers
awaiting the final two coats of shellac.
  Trimming felt strips for re-lining the muffler covers.
restored flue basses   cleaned-up Trumpet resonators   restored rack boards
Restored flue pipe basses awaiting re-installation.   Cleaned and restored Trumpet resonators.   Restored and re-finished rack boards.

Click here to see progress at the Ruffatti shop in Italy.

Click here to see a video made during the removal of the organ.

Weeks 1 through 8 were removal of the organ. We worked with Ruffatti dismantling wind chests, removing and packing pipes, sorting and labeling parts, loading the two containers destined for Italy and moving Razzody’s portion of the organ to our shop.

Ruffatti is restoring the large pedal pipes, the Ruffatti windhest actions, a portion of the pipe work, the Chamade Trumpets and the console.

Razzody is restoring the Skinner and ancillary wind chests, re-wiring the entire instrument, and cleaning and restoring the majority of the pipe work.

Weeks 7 through 16 have been spent working between the shop and the Cathedral testing and repairing parts that were left in place. This iincludes chest frames and toe-boards, several offset chests and much if the winding system.

Weeks 17 through 26 are again split between the shop and the Cathedral. Continued repair and restoration of the parts left on site is progressing and pre-construction (demolition) cleaning and protection has become our focus. Shop work includes construction of a new chest to replace one damaged by water in the gallery organ, new cabling and restoration of four other offset chests, restoration and refinishing of the Positiv and Great rackboards and re-covering/re-leathering of the large pedal pneumatics.

Weeks 27 through 36 involve continuing work at the Cathedral to prepare for demolition of the interior. Removal of the 32/16' Diapason primary action and final cleaning of the remaining chest tables and frames throughout the organ has been completed. Protective covering of chests and remaining parts is under way. The last step of this process will be sealing off each chamber to make it as air tight as possible. Reservoirs are being repaired as well as any winding related systems. At the shop, leathering and recovering of the Skinner primaries, pedal pneumatics and straight chest actions has been completed. Also, cleaning/repairing of the larger pipes that have remained in storage at the church is also complete. Cleaning of reeds, shallots and repairing reed pipe resonators is in the preparation stages. Moving right along…

Weeks 37 through 46. Final covering of the gallery is complete. Chest and reservoir protection is continuing in the north organ. Certain stops are being relocated and required winding and electrical issues regarding these stops are being addressed at the design phase. Re-winding plans for a small portion of the gallery is being designed. From this point on, much of our work on site is in cooperation with the building architects and engineers. As final plans for the organ come together, we are enjoying working closely with the architects to bring new life to this magnificent instrument!

Weeks 47 through 56. Final work on the chest interiors on site is taking place and should be complete by the time this gets posted to the website. Details for winding and wiring are being finalized for the chests that are being relocated and in the gallery undercroft. Work at the shop continues with reed stop cleaning and repair. New legs have been built and modifications made for the chests that are being relocated. Wiring junctions are being prepared, and new cable lengths are being verified. Since the whole control system is being replaced, we have rewired everything. In the coming weeks, we will be addressing the D.C. runs throughout the organ to make sure everything conforms to the NEC. Details over the new color for the organ have been finalized and initial preparation for the repainting is under way. We are coordinating with contractors regarding the demolition, which has begun, regarding anything that may affect the organ space.

Weeks 57 through 69. Demolition work in the building has delayed some of the electrical projects we were finalizing, such as the D.C. fusing and junction placements. Many more conversations with the architect and general contractor regarding electrical and blower/winding equipment in the undercroft have taken place. Some of this equipment will need to be removed for the hard demolition and replaced when the building is almost finished. Runs for signal and D.C. wiring to the gallery and chamade divisions are being re-designed due to the necessary removal of all wiring and conduit in the undercroft ceiling. Having detailed inclusion with the design work at this phase of the project is a very good thing as it will allow us (Ruffatti and Razzody Music) to assure that all wiring and fiber optic cabling is done safely, neatly and documented at every step. Back at the shop, reed and flue cleaning is progressing at a good pace. We get to work in the great California sun (see photos of Scott in his cool shades). During this process, we check every pipe for damage and shape (out of round is common) and repaired where necessary. The detail at this stage will be a big help when we get to the tonal finishing work. New bass pipes for the gallery Major Flute are being constructed and all other wooden pipes in our possession are being prepared for new paint. Although Brian Sawyers lost several weeks due to medical issues (hip and knee surgeries) all work is progressing on schedule thanks in great part to Scott Clowes' hard work.

Weeks 70 through 116. It has been quite a while since we last posted about the continuing work with the Hazel Wright Organ. Work has slowed now that the restoration work is complete. We do have a few minor things to do in the case but this will need to happen after a good part of the new construction is finished. Under the original schedule for completion, we would be deep in the final tonal finishing of the organ. However, we are instead preparing all parts both here and coming from Italy for storage. If all goes as planned, we will have the organ in storage by the end of May. During its time there, we will make several trips a year to check in on her and turn pipes in their trays to minimize ovaling (not quite sure if that is a word). Pipes are made of a varying combination of tin and lead (and sometimes other alloys) and the lead content makes the metal rather soft. Due to this, the metal flows, or settles with gravity and this causes the pipe to go out of round. This affects speech so it is the best interest to turn them a quarter turn every so often to keep them round. On a different note, the Moller console that sat in the gallery, or south balcony, is no longer for sale. Thank you to those who expressed an interest in purchasing it.

A short history about our involvement with the Hazel Wright organ:

I have been intimately associated with this instrument since its inception. In the late '70s, I had the opportunity to work with Richard Unfried (organist of the church) doing tuning and minor maintenance on the original Ruffatti organ (currently a large portion of the Cathedral's organ), shortly after its installation in the former sanctuary, now called the Arboretum, at the Crystal Cathedral.

In February of 1980, Richard introduced me to Guy Henderson and John Wilson of the Henderson and Wilson Organ Company from New York. Henderson and Wilson were personally chosen by Virgil Fox to perform the work at the Crystal Cathedral. They were beginning the installation of the organ in the then new Cathedral and upon being introduced, I was taken on as an apprentice and a year later, joined the company. Henderson and Wilson had performed a portion of the tonal work on the Ruffatti organ when it went into the former sanctuary (Arboretum) in 1976, and were responsible for its removal from the Arboretum and installation in the Cathedral beginning in late 1979. After installation was complete, we stayed on performing maintenance and between 1991 and 1994 Guy Henderson (at console) and myself (on the pipes) re-voiced and regulated the flue-work and selected reeds to blend the two original organs into a cohesive instrument as unique as its environment.

Guy, John and myself continued the maintenance work, pretty much full time until Guy's retirement and John's untimely passing, both in the early 2000's. In 2006 I brought Scott Clowes in as an apprentice and we continued work, as budgets would permit, until the Cathedrals closing. Scott was on our crew removing and re-installing the Skinner organ in the Arboretum in 1996.

A short history about this project:

Back in 2010, the Crystal Cathedral Ministry was forced into bankruptcy and had to sell the property. When the Catholic Diocese of Orange stepped up and bought the property, I saw the perfect opportunity to bring the restoration concept to the table.

After a couple of calls to Ruffatti and a few meetings with the Diocese, we (Ruffatti and Razzody) presented a complete proposal for the restoration. A short while later, the project was given the green light and the final concert featuring Hector Olivera was planned. In the fall of 2013 the contracts were signed and our start date confirmed; December 18, 2013.

Razzody will be posting updates on the restoration, and from time to time, will add photos and video clips of work both here and at Fratelli Ruffatti. The project should take a little over two years.

Thanks for visiting,
Brian Sawyers