Organ Projects

July 3, 2019

John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders, Champaign, Illinois

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Hortonville, Wisconsin

Hortonville, Wisconsin, has had a continuing Lutheran presence since 1867. However, members of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church date their anniversary as August 14, 1870, the dedication of their first church building. In January 1897 the congregation voted to build a new church on the corner of Nash and Embarrass Streets. Five days later, the first stones were hauled for the basement, and less than three months later bids were opened for the building of the church. The contract was let to the local Diestler Lumber Co. for $5,165, with $500 later added to the total. The cornerstone was laid on Sunday, June 13, 1897, and the church was dedicated Sunday, November 28, 1897. That day the second English service in the history of the congregation was conducted.

That building, now the former church, is made of brick in Gothic style; the tower is about 100 feet high. An extensive remodeling of the original building took place in 1960. In 2010 Herman Jennerjohn, in his will, bequeathed twenty-five acres of land to the congregation for $1, if a new church complex could be begun within ten years.

Hence, Bethlehem Church has been on the move! The congregation planned a campus including a new church, a school, a retirement community, and walking paths. The first phase of their growth was the new sanctuary, and the congregation passionately wanted to bring their 1908 Hinners organ with them. The church retained consultant and acoustician Scott Riedel of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to oversee the project and assist in the choice of a builder to carry out the work. John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders was chosen to give the 110-year-old instrument new life in a new home.

The original Hinners slider and pallet windchests were replaced in the 1960s with equipment that was unusable. Fortunately, the staff of the Buzard service department had saved some beautifully built Kilgen slider and pallet windchests, coincidentally also made in 1908, which conveniently fit the Hinners pipework, its original tonal specification, and desired additions. The tables of these windchests were in perfect condition, streamlining restoration efforts. The channels were flooded as a precaution against runs; new felt and leather facings were glued onto the pallets; new powerful pull-down magnets were affixed to new magnet rails under the pallet boxes. All pipes were neatly racked, using as many of the original rack boards as possible.

The original façade was restored. Since the 1908 organ utilized mechanical key action, new center panels matching the rest of the casework were made to fill in the location of the original keydesk. Additional space in the new organ gallery provided the opportunity to add some important new sounds to the organ to increase its versatility. A Pedal/Great 16′/8′ Trumpet, and a full-compass Swell 13⁄5′ Tierce were added; the original Aeoline was replaced by a Celeste rank. The 1960s Pedal Principal was rescaled and revoiced.

The 1960s console cabinet was repaired, refinished, and retrofitted with a new solid-state relay, stop tablets, couplers, and combination pistons. The organ is now ready to serve the Bethlehem congregation in its new home for another century. We are honored to have served the people of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The instrument now speaks with authority and clarity.

GREAT (Manual I)

8′ Open Diapason 61 pipes (bass in façade)

8′ Melodia 61 pipes

8′ Dulciana 61 pipes

4′ Octave 61 pipes

4′ Rohr Flute 61 pipes

2′ Principal 61 pipes

III Mixture 183 pipes

8′ Trumpet 85 pipes

4′ Trumpet (ext 8′)

Chimes (25 tubes)

Great 16

Great Unison Off

Great 4

Swell 16

Swell 8

Swell 4

SWELL (Manual II, enclosed)

8′ Violin Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Bourdon 61 pipes

8′ Salicional 61 pipes

8′ Voix Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4′ Harmonic Flute 61 pipes

22⁄3′ Nazard 61 pipes

2′ Piccolo 61 pipes

13⁄5′ Tierce 61 pipes

8′ Oboe 61 pipes


Swell 16

Swell Unison Off

Swell 4


16′ Subbass 32 pipes

16′ Gedeckt 44 pipes

8′ Principal 56 pipes (bass in façade)

8′ Gedeckt (ext 16′)

4′ Octave (ext 8′)

2′ Super Octave (ext 8′)

16′ Trumpet (ext, Gt 8′)

8′ Trumpet (Gt)

Great 8

Great 4

Swell 8

Swell 4


8 General pistons

4 Great pistons

4 Swell pistons

2 Pedal pistons

General Cancel piston

128-level memory

Balanced Swell expression shoe

Balanced Crescendo shoe

Sforzando reversible


20 stops

22 ranks

1,303 pipes total

electric pull-down slider windchests for manuals

Builder’s website:

Church website:

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