Rieger Organ Celebrates 25th Birthday

By Lainey S. Cronk on October 16, 2006

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On October 7, 2006, a special concert commemorated the 25th birthday of the Rieger organ at Pacific Union College. With Del Case, professor emeritus of music, on the organ and guest musicians on the violin and harp, the concert featured a wide range of composers with music from the 17th century to the present.

The Rieger organ was installed in the spring and summer of 1981, culminating over 30 years of dreaming and planning by organists Warren Becker, Lowell Smith and Del Case. Under Case’s direction and research, the college decided to have the organ constructed by Rieger Orgelbau of Austria. Case also determined the tonal design, headed the fundraising effort, and supervised the installation and voicing of the organ.

With four manuals, 58 stops, 85 ranks and over 4,700 pipes, the organ remains the largest mechanical tracker action pipe organ in the Western United States. Many prestigious organists from the United States and Europe have performed on the Rieger, and three recordings have been produced. In his comments at the performance, Case explained that the organ cost $380,000 when it was installed; if we were to replace it today, it would cost at least $1.5 million.