The Organ Tuner

Do you have ringing in your ears? Well maybe you need a doctor, or perhaps you happened by the church when the new organ tuner was in town.

Fred Hermes, Pipe Organ Technician, came to SJT to tune the electronics, tweak the pipes, and breathe some life into the organ. Fred and his wife Nancy live in La Valle, Wisconsin. They travel in a several hundred mile radius to provide tender loving care for organs and pianos alike.

“When my mom was pregnant with me, she worked with my dad while he was wiring an organ. So you could say that I’ve been in the organ business since before I was born!”  Fred further explained that this “hobby,” working with organs for over 45 years, has given him the freedom to travel, spend time with his kids, and do the important things in life.  His wife Nancy assists in the two-part job by playing the keys while Fred works on the organ’s electronics.

Fred carefully explains the effects that temperature and humidity have on the pipes positioned by the balcony. “Even a small change in climate can affect the tuning.  An out-of-tune organ can sure be painful to hear.” He enjoys keeping organs alive, healthy and in tune. Sometimes he admits that his goals for an organ are not God’s goals. “I always try to remember that God is in control!”

Part of tuning the organ includes adjusting the pipes.  Fred climbs the tall ladder to tune the pipes most reachable from the front. He attends to others by standing in the balcony and reaching over the edge. The smaller treble pipes and the large bass pipes all receive attention.

Fred fondly credits Nancy for bringing joy into his life after the loss of his first wife from cancer.  Together they share that joy by nurturing pipe organs and answering the call from Psalm 100 to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.