Through a generous donation from Richard and Elisabeth Rowlands and the Portland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, FOKO was able to commission the building of a “puzzle” organ.
The organ comes in 133 pieces, and when assembled, it is a two-octave, two-rank mechanical-action pipe organ with bellows that are easy to “pump” using your two hands. All the parts fit in a custom-built trunk with cushioned compartments to protect all the pieces. While the case plus organ pieces weighs about 90 pounds, there are wheels on the trunk help with mobility.
The original program, called Orgelkids, is based in the Netherlands and incorporates the building of a small, portable organ with various musical events and workshops. David Wallace discovered the information online, and presented it to the FOKO Education Committee several years ago.
Orgelkids, USA is a non-profit organization that was established in 2009 in Oregon and is directed by Erin Scheessele. They worked with Wim Janssen, a retired organ builder, who adapted the original plans from the Netherlands to the current model. FOKO’s “Opus 1e” is only the fifth of these types of organ kits to be found in the United States.
FOKO is currently training “Ambassadors of the Organ” as we prepare for events for folks of all ages to put the puzzle together and make music. If you are interested in being an Ambassador, please contact FOKO. If you belong to a club, historical society, choir, church, or any other group that would like to book the organ for a visit, please contact the FOKO office for details. If you want to see the puzzle organ in action, we invite you to join us at Hadlock Field from 5:00-7:00 on June 29th for “Arts Outta the Park”, an event hosted by Creative Portland, and on September 13th for Organ Day at Victoria Mansion.
The puzzle organ needs a catchy name. Send us your ideas and if you are the chosen submission we will have a ticket for you for one of the summer concerts. Send your creative ideas to info(at)foko.org.