About the Organ
Salmen Organs and Farms of South Dakota
Upon receiving the commission to build an instrument for the new American Lutheran Church Milbank, South Dakota, it became clear that our original proposal which would have utilized the mechanics of their existing instrument with the substantial addition of new pipework – a pipe organ having 12 stops, 15 ranks – would not be adequate to serve the needs of this
congregation in their new worship home. As an organ builder, one of the philosophies we try to follow is, “the reuse of existing materials in an environmentally and musically sound manner” wherever possible. Within the budget allowed for the original 12 stop proposal we were able to create a 3-manual instrument with 34 stops, 39 ranks.
The instrument you will enjoy during this evening’s concert represents a musical blend of existing organ components along with those specifically built new for this installation. The organ console, originally from the Moller organ at First Methodist, Huron, South Dakota, was totally rebuilt and fitted with the latest micro-processor based switching and memory system. The windchests along with much of the pipework came from two Reuter organs, First United, Frankfort, KY and St. Paul United Methodist, Lincoln, NE. Working closely with the building’s architect from conception to completion we were able to influence the space for the organ as well as the acoustical properties of the sanctuary.
Working with us on this project were: Bill and Barb Harris, Cheyenne, WY; Kris Harris, Denver, CO; Marty Larson, Hurley, SD; Roger Banks, Edmond, OK; and, Dan Abrahamson, Lawrence, KS. The organ was assembled in the Salmen shop in Wessington Springs and then transported and reassembled at American Lutheran Church in April and May of 2005.
David Salmen is a native and current resident of Wessington Springs, SD. During the past 23 years he has in part been responsible for the installation or rebuilding of nearly 150 instruments across America. He presently maintains approximately 125 pipe organs and operates a 3,000 acre grain farm east of Wessington Springs. In addition to serving as a church musician, David has served on numerous church and civic boards and currently holds positions on the boards of the SD Wheat Growers and the SD State Railroad Museum. His hobbies include steam engineering of antique traction engines and locomotives and the restoration of antique Caterpillar equipment. He and his wife Cheryl have 3 children; Brandon 23; Rebecca 21; and Heather 18. In the Salmen residence can be found one of South Dakota’s largest pipe organs, frequently heard in concert, silent movies or Evensong.
Thank you to the pastors, staff and members of American Lutheran Church for the opportunity to work with you! Congratulations to you for your vision and dedication that are represented in this new building.
Shop construction of the Organ
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