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Center for Faith and Life
Luther College

Decorah, Iowa

Robert Sipe, 1978
Restorative repairs by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, 2010

In 2009, we were asked to inspect the Sipe organ in Luther’s Center for Faith and Life, which serves as a performing arts and chapel space for the campus. While a fine and well-built organ, the more than three decades of intensive use had taken its toll. Our recommendations included a complete cleaning of the instrument, the upgrading of some of the electronic components of the combination and stop actions, the correction of flaws in racking and other areas, and careful re-regulation of the pipes to bring stray notes back into the fold. This work was undertaken in the summer of 2010 with the assistance of student helpers John Stender, Brett Epperson and Sam Libra.

16' Bourdon 1-8 wood, 9-24 copper, rest metal
8' Principal 1-24 façade, tin
8' Gedeckt 1-12 copper, rest metal
4' Octave tin
4' Spillflöte spotted metal
2' Super Octave tin
II Kornett tin
IV-V Mixture tin
III Cymbel tin
16' Trompete spotted metal, 1-12 half length
8' Trompete spotted metal
4' Clarion spotted metal
Swell to Great
Positiv to Great
8' Rohrflöte 1-12 copper, rest spotted metal
8' Viole de Gambe 1-12 copper, some Haskell, rest spotted
8' Viole Celeste FF,
4' Principal tin
4' Flute Ouverte spotted metal
2-2/3' Nasard metal
2' Blockflöte metal
1-3/5' Tierce metal
IV-V Fourniture tin
16' Basson spotted metal, all half length
8' Hautbois zinc & spotted metal
8' Vox Humana spotted metal
8' Flute Conique 1-12 from Holzgedeckt, rest wood
8' Holzgedeckt wood
4' Principal tin
4' Rohrflöte spotted metal
2' Octave tin
1-1/3' Larigot spotted metal
II Sesquialtera tin
IV-V Scharf tin
8' Cromorne spotted metal
8' Trompette en Chamade flamed copper
Swell to Positiv
16' Principal 1-10 façade, flamed copper
8' Octave 1-12 copper, rest tin
4' Choralbass tin
2' Hohlflöte spotted metal
V Mixture tin
32' Kontra Fagott zinc & spotted metal, all half length
16' Posaune zinc & spotted metal
8' Trumpet spotted

Mechanical key action except for chamade
256 level combination action


The lint of ages, found under the keyboards when they were removed.

A view of John Panning and Brett Epperson cleaning reed pipes, as seen through one of the Great pipeshades.

John Streufert and more reed cleaning.

Erik Streufert and John Panning reinstall newly-cleaned chamade pipes.

The original slider motor controls had no strength adjustement, which caused the motors to be noisy. We installed new adjustable controls, the first of which is on the right.

Erik installs new slider motor controls for the Positiv.

Jim Streufert displays school spirit in the dust on the roof of the main case.

Great pipes before cleaning. This is the C group—all manual divisions are laid out in major thirds.

The mixtures and most of the reeds have been removed.

Only copper basses of the Bourdon 16' and Gedeckt 8' remain.

Pipes returned after cleaning.

The C side of the Positiv.

The Positiv division is supported on steel cantilevers. The C# side is a simple steel channel, but the C side has two channels welded together to make a square tube, which cleverly serves both as support and that division’s windline. This is the sealed end of it at the back of the main case.

The only real flaw in the organ is inadequate racking of some reed pipes. Several Pedal Posaune 16' resonators have fallen over.

Lower halves of some Posaune 16' resonators.

The crew: Erik Streufert (Luther ’13), John Panning, John Streufert, and Jim Streufert. To round out the Streufert clan, Erik’s brother (and Jim’s other son) Karl (Luther ’11) dropped by to take this photo. John Panning feels quite outnumbered.


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Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd.
200 North Illinois Street • Post Office Box 25
Lake City, Iowa 51449 USA
+1 712 464 8065

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