The Opus 91 has set sail for England.
In April, we wrote about Lake City, Iowa, organ builder Dobson Pipe Organ Builders Ltd.'s latest project: Designing and building a pipe organ for Merton College, one of the 38 institutions that make up Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Carried by the MSC Alyssa in three 40-feet shipping containers, the Opus 91 (which denotes the 91st organ Dobson has made) departed from Montreal on June 11. It's bound for Liverpool and scheduled to arrive on June 18.
Dobson tonal director John Panning said a crew of six will arrive in London on June 24 and start unloading the containers for installation set to start June 26. Two additional organ builders from a nearby firm that will be maintaining the organ after Dobson leaves will also assisting with its installation. After two weeks, two more Dobson employees will travel to Oxford.
All told, the physical installation will require about six weeks of work, after which will follow about three months of tonal finishing, which is the adjustment of each pipe for proper strength, speech and tone.
The Iowa firm, located about 120 miles northeast of Omaha, has been working on the project for about five years. It's unusual for an American firm to build a European instrument because Europe has more organ builders and repairers. Dobson beat out builders from across the globe, however, after submitting a bid for the project.