Wausau pipe organ plays role in congregation - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau pipe organ plays role in congregation

WAUSAU (WAOW)—Listening to the Salem Lutheran Church pipe organ is like taking a trip back in time according to organist Mark Hoenecke.

"If you close your eyes … you can take yourself across the Atlantic Ocean to the northern part of Germany and going back about 300 years experience what a village church would be like" Hoenecke told Newsline 9. 

An organist since high school, Hoenecke says his place at Salem Lutheran Church, 2822 6th St., Wausau, is high atop the second level of the sanctuary, leading the congregation in song every Sunday. 

"It's a humbling experience and we realize how very blessed we are to have an instrument of this quality right here in Wausau" Hoenecke said. 

Taking 18 months to construct the 2,511 pipes in the white oak-encased organ, Hoenecke says the instrument is also a history lesson.  It was modeled after the construction design of German organ maker Arp Schnitger, a favorite of the Lutheran composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

"In the years following the Reformation, there was a boom in organ building going on.  Bach was very familiar with the organ work of Arp Schnitger and had played many of his organs.  And so what was done here would have been an organ that would have been built during the lifetime of Bach and could very well have been some of the same sounds that Bach himself experienced" Hoenecke said. 

Over a period of 18 months the organ was handmade in Duluth, Minn. and then taken apart to be reassembled inside Salem Lutheran's sanctuary.  Included inside are 2,511 German-made lead and tin pipes ranging from 16-feet tall to ones thinner than the size of a pencil.

Worship services are held at Salem Lutheran Church at 9 a.m. every Sunday.

Online Reporter Rob Duns (WAOW)   

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