Founder and key planner Lorenz Maycher, organist and choirmaster for First Presbyterian Church, is hard at work inside 115 S. Kilgore Street this month, setting it up as a home-away-from-home for the pipe organ celebration.
It's the first new operation to move into Kilgore's Downtown Entertainment District since the zone was established by city council members in March 2013.
"My office at the church has been uninhabitable now for three years," Maycher
said joking ... mostly.
space at the church, 815 E. Main St., is wall-to-wall equipment and keepsakes.
"Since the festival started, I've been receiving so much memorabilia."
Much of the vintage pieces come from the collections of private donors, long-time fans of Maycher's
First Presbyterian pipe organ predecessor, Roy Perry, the local festival's namesake.
Dedicating one of several offices to playback equipment and a computer terminal, "I've already started transferring reel-to-reel tapes," Maycher
Call it a 'train wreck,'" Maycher
quipped Tuesday morning.
sorted through the piles of framed pictures and boxes of pipe organ artifacts carted over from his
office at First Presbyterian
home storage, the new building will be staged as a reception area for festival-goers, a mini-museum and workspace for volunteers.
Some of the pieces are particularly priceless for Maycher
, a longtime Perry devotee and admirer of not only the organ designer's First Presbyterian masterwork and his
St. Luke's United Methodist Church construction but of numerous other lauded instruments built throughout East Texas and across the country.
Many play pivotal roles in the annual festival.
Perry's influence on the organ circuit is well-known through his work with Aeolian-Skinner, and Maycher credits his legacy for the hundreds of organ aficionados who have descended on Kilgore the past several years for a week's worth of concerts and lectures.
Through supporters' donations, "We have almost all of Roy Perry's manuscripts now and his letters and files," Maycher said, such as "All his plans and blueprints for the Washington (National) Cathedral, which was his largest installation back in the '70s.
Moving the assembled collection will open Maycher's
office once again for not only workspace but as a "green room" for festival performers.
Down Main Street and around a corner, the festival headquarters - as yet unnamed - will be open to the public, particularly those festival attendees who register for special events.
As ever, the annual event is free but select activities are RSVPonly - so far, 65 people have registered for this year's festival, closing in on 2013's 105-member roster with weeks to go.
Beyond the week of the festival, "It'll be by appointment.
We're going to have exhibits in there that are open to the community, I would say probably four times a year," Maycher
anticipates the office could host as many as 80 people for a reception or mini-concert.
This year's Nov. 9-14 series of events will start there.
"Larry Palmer from (Southern Methodist University) is going to play a clavicord recital, which is going to be a first for us," Maycher
taking photos of all the organs that we visit," Maycher
Local organ fans can whet their appetites for the upcoming festival through First Presbyterian's Noonday Meditations beginning Sept. 3.
The weekly, half-hour performances begin at 12:05 p.m. each Wednesday through Dec. 17.
"There's a brief welcome at the beginning, prayer, a couple of scripture readings," Maycher
said, "followed by organ music that is either related to or reflects what has just been read."
October marks the diamond jubilee of First Presbyterian's sanctuary
Moving into the building 75 years ago, the month is also the 65th anniversary of the installation of Perry's Opus 1173 Aeolian-Skinner
The church will celebrate the organ's anniversary inparticularwitha2p.m. concert Oct. 19 featuring Maycher, prior organist Jimmy Culp and Kilgore High School junior Jace Mankins.