Crew removes King Chapel pipe organ

A specialized three-person crew is on campus this week to carefully remove each piece of the pipe organ in King Chapel. 

A crew removes a large pipe on the pipe organ in King Chapel ahead of the derecho repairs on the building.
A crew removes a large pipe from the pipe organ in King Chapel ahead of the derecho repairs on the building.

KCRG-TV9, Iowa’s News Now, The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, and The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun reported on the work, which is being done ahead of construction related to derecho repairs. That work is scheduled to begin later this academic year.

The King Chapel organ, manufactured for Cornell by M. P. Möller of Hagerstown, Maryland, was dedicated in 1967 with a concert by noted French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen. It has four manuals and nearly 3,800 pipes arranged in 65 ranks.

A crate holds several large pipes of Cornell's organ in King Chapel.
A crate holds several large pipes of Cornell’s organ in King Chapel.

The pipes will be stored upright and in crates. About 120–140 unique crates were custom-built for the storage of the organ and organ pipes. The instrument, valued at $2.9 million, will be stored in Urbana, Illinois. 

The pieces will be cleaned and refurbished. Then, it will get reinstalled in the building once construction is complete. 

The organ removal started Monday, Nov. 29, and is expected to be done by Sunday, Dec. 12.