An Analytical Approach to Better Pipe Organ Building  
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Client Comments

Products and Services of Art Aadland and AADLAND PIPE ORGAN COMPANY

A 35 Year Continuum of Client Comments re:
(by Organists, Music Ministers, Recitalists and Church Leaders -- past, recent and current)

Thank you for the excellent service you provided at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Madison, SD while I was Director of Music. Not only did you provide excellent service, but you were dependable and efficient. Your work is excellent and I congratulate you as you move into new phases in your organ building. I happily recommend your services and expertise and have enjoyed following the development of your organs as you have created one of the most beautiful, dependable and weather- resistant constructions possible. Congratulations!

Verda Pape
Organist, Teacher, Director of Music, retired

Dear Art: (written in December, 1987)
Enclosed is our check for the final payment for your services in building the organ. The trustees at last night's meeting enthusiastically voted to accept the organ.
We are the talk of the community of Mitchell after last Sunday's concert with Dr. Mary Helen Schmidt. Our people are living on "high" this Christmas. You have made it possible for them. Your Craftsmanship, consistant demands for excellence has given them a level of quality in this organ that they did not really expect. When I saw that choir and people rise after the concert was over, I knew that we had a real winner. And too, my friend it has boosted my ministry here both in my pastoral worth and abilities. For you, the sky is the limit. There isn't one person in this parish from official family, pastor, and general membership that would not grant you the highest praise for your professional work. Have a beautiful Christmas.

Dr. John Hunt Chapple, Pastor, Congregational United Church of Christ, Mitchell, SD

Note to the Reader:
Pastor Chapple was a close neighbor to the Kennedy family, when he was a young boy in the Boston, Mass area. Also a friend of the George McGovern family, Pastor John was always a patron of the arts and a possibility thinker regarding what a congregation could accomplish. He has often motivated those congregations assigned to him to achieve goals far beyond the level that they formerly considered possible.

To whom it may concern: (written by Dr. Mary Helen Schmidt in 1988, after performing on two Aadland organs, in two consecutive years)

It is my very great pleasure to recommend the Aadland Pipe Organ Company for consideration of the purchasing of a pipe organ. I had the good fortune of working with the "Compucornet Expandable" pipe organ (now referred to as the "computerized orchestral" pipe organ") in April 1988 both in recital and service playing situations. I found this unique instrument to be one of the most comprehensive pipe organs for its size that I ever played. As an 8 rank instrument, I was amazed to learn that it had an equivalent number of resources (due to reed and flue synthesis, via complex combining of pure tuned and stabilized mutation stop "overtone" ranks with "pitch selective" stabilized foundation ranks, made possible with an infinitely programmable computerized switching system) as that of a 20 rank pipe organ.

In both service playing and recital work, I found the instrument to display a wide variety of beautifully voiced pipes which gives the organist a colorful tonal palatte from which to draw. The 36 presets with 10 memory files, operated by pushbutton switches also is a distinct advantage in service playing as the panel is instantly lit upon depressing the switch, thereby eliminating the need for rechecking.

The instrument is excellent for leading a congregation in worship as its pipework speaks with the greatest of clarity and precision as well as evidencing extraordinary tonal beauty -- a hallmark of other Aadland non-computerized instruments as well. I have found the sound to be supporting but never overwhelming.

The CCE pipe organ is the wave of the future. It is a wonderfully versatile instrument which should be more widely known and played. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Aadland's originality and work as an organbuilder.

One of the greatest gifts to me recently was the opportunity to "create" at the console of his fine pipe organ in Colorado. I look forward to other opportunities in future years.

Dr. Mary Helen Schmidt, Professor of Music, Augustana College

Note to the Reader: Dr Mary Helen Schmidt, who taught organ and piano at Augustana College, and was the principal organist at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD was undoubtedly one of the finest organists that ever graced the upper Midwest. It is well known that as a young pianist, she performened with the Chicago Symphany Orchestra as early as age of 12 or 13. Later in her piano artistry career, she did international debut's at Lincoln Center in New York and at Wigmore Hall in London. As an organist she placed first in the National AGO competition. But most important of all, was that she was both self effacing and had an elegent humility as she performed the most difficult masterpieces of the great composers with impeccable precision enhanced by masterful expression and the most creative registration. She left countless listeners in awe and astonishment in the way she could bring new life and vitality to the musical spirit of each and every church service, festive event, or the most formal recital. Dr. Schmidt performed the Colorado Debut of a Daniel Pinkum work (with his permission) during her recital on the Aadland organ in Boulder CO, and had his permission and endorsement to do the national debut of this composition also.

Dear Art,
Just a note to thank you for the outstanding work you did on the Atonement organ. Hope your trip home was uneventful and you found everything in good shape at home.

Dr. Miles Olson
Organist, Music Teacher, Organ building associate, Professor Emeritus, Colorado University

The New Hope Lutheran Church organ, custom built by Art Aadland, is a wonderful combination of a pipe organ with all of the features of an advanced digital electronic organ. It has many memory levels of pre-sets, which allow each organist to pre-set their favorite settings and always have them available. The LED illuminated pushbutton transpose feature is wonderful when accompanying instruments and vocalists. The pipes have a full, rich, mellow sound, and stay in tune due to Art’s special processes. Art gives excellent service and makes sure the organ is always functioning at its peak.

Jan Redman, organist, New Hope Lutheran Church, Comfrey, MN.

Art Aadland built a nice instrument for this congregation. It leads well in congregational singing and can handle recital repertoire, as well. In addition, Art was an easy builder to work with as we prepared for the dedication recital.

Marilyn Schempp, Organ Instructor, Augustana College and Principal Organist, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD

Note to the Reader: Marilyn Schempp received her Bachelor's degree in both Vocal and Instrumental Music from Augustana College and a Master's of Music in Organ Performance from the University of South Dakota. While maintaining a private piano studio in her home, Marilyn also teaches organ at Augustana College and is the Chapel organist. At Our Savior's Lutheran she is the Assistant Music Director and Principal Organist. Marilyn is an active member of the American Guild of Organists where she has served as Dean of the chapter and Director of the Organ Academy Scholarship and was on the committee for five Pipe Organ Encounter Camps. Marilyn has also been active in the Music Teacher's National Association, serving as President of the local chapter and Competition Chair for the SD State MTNA chapter. For two years she served as the regional secretary/treasureer for the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. As a performer, Marilyn has played solo organ recitals, has played oboe with the Sioux Falls Municipal Band in the summertime, accompanies high school and college students in competitions, juries and recitals, and has played oboe, piano, harpsicord and organ with the South Dakota Symphony. "Marilyn has an exemplary skill and dexterity, both in keyboard mastery, and in pedal technique, says Art Aadland. "She also has an exquisite sense of organ registration, both in festive and plaintive styles of music." {When she performed a recital at First Lutheran in Volga, with only phase I of the new Aadland organ completed (phase II is still yet to be built and installed) she performed a concert that had the entire crowd (the church was packed to the limits) jump to their feet in a spontaneous and very enthusiastic standing ovation}.

The Hinners tracker action pipe organ was purchased and installed in November of 1919 in the First Reformed church at Harrison, SD. It has continued use except for brief periods when it was restored by Aadland Pipe Organ Co. in 1974, and recently in 2006 when the organ underwent a restoration of the tubular pneumatic façade action (this tubular pneumatic restoration work was not needed during the 1974 restoration since it was working fine at that time). Mr. Aadland has faithfully kept this musical instrument in good working order by maintaining and tuning it regularly. He understands the intricate and delicate mechanism and is highly qualified to give good service. He seems to have a great respect for our organ and we thank him for his dedication.

Marlene Plooster, organist, First Reformed Church of Harrison, SD

I have found the Aadland Pipe Organ Co. to be very helpful, educational, easy to understand, and has given me advice on registration which has helped to make me a better organist.

Melynda Tracey,
Head Organist
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
Jackson, MN.

It has been a pleasure to be one of the organists at our church in Windom, MN. Our organ, which was rebuilt by Aadland Pipe Organ Co. has many beautiful tones and sounds so majestic. As an organist I appreciate all of the hard work done by this firm to make our pipe organ a thing of beauty.

Linda Staples, organist, Lutheran Church of Our Savior, Windom MN

The pipe organ here at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Wood Lake, MN is over 100 years old. It still sounds wonderful thanks to the many years of outstanding service provided by the Aadland Pipe Organ Co. of Valley Springs, SD.

The expertise, knowledge, gentle care and attention to detail that they use at our pipe organ service calls is excellent; done at a very reasonable cost and in a friendly manner. It is easy for us to highly recommend Aadland Pipe Organ Co. for any of your pipe organ needs.

Bea Scheer
Music Coordinator
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
Wood Lake, MN

A sincere “thank you” to Mr. Art Aadland for the many years he has maintained our 86 year old Hinners tracker action pipe organ in the fine shape that it is to this day.

It has been used for congregational singing for all those years, as well as the singing of Dutch Psalms in the early years when Dutch immigrants first settled here. I was one of the organists for fifty years and always loved the rich tones that Mr. Aadland so capably preserved in our beloved organ.

Ruby De Vries
Harrison, SD 57334

At Our Father Lutheran Church, we are pleased with the computerization of our pistons, especially since we have several organists. Each organist can have his/her own set of registrations. Aadland Organ Company has always been very responsive to our needs. Art Aadland works all night if he has to – just to get the job done to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of his customers. We give thanks to God for Art and his dedication to the business of keeping pipe organs alive and well.

Margaret Hinchey, Minister of Music at Our Father Lutheran Church, Centennial, CO.

Art Aadland’s striking design of pipes and console highlight the organ’s role in worship for our small rural church. It is a pleasure to see the results of the partnership between organ builder and congregation with their focus on the special role of music in spiritual life.

Don Swanjord, organist,
Sillerud Lutheran Church, rural route, Balaton, MN

The words “professional” and “personable” come to mind when I consider the Aadland Pipe Organ Co. Art has tuned, cleaned and serviced our church pipe organ for many years. I have played at this church for the past 12 years. Mr. Aadland is definitely someone you can trust and enjoy working with.

Janet Helgaas, organist
Benton Lutheran Church,
Crooks, SD

When St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in Beresford South Dakota moved to a new church building, Art Aadland did a very professional job of removing the instrument from the old church; rebuilding and redesigning the organ, and installing it into the new sanctuary. He spent considerable time redesigning the tonal balance and consistency for the new space. The organ continues to serve this congregation and presents a full and clear sound. It was a great experience working with the company.

Ted Powel, organist
Yankton, SD

The Aadland Pipe Organ Company has been servicing the Old Westbrook Lutheran Church pipe organ for more than the 25+ years that I have been organist there. Art has been prompt to handle emergency issues as well as routine upkeep. Also, he has been good to communicate with the church council when maintenance advice is needed. He is professional, knowledgeable worthy of an excellent recommendation.

Shirley Iverson, Lamberton, MN

The expertise and service provided by Aadland Pipe Organ Co. for 35 years has proven to be invaluable to us in maintaining our 100 year old plus pipe organ.

Lois Dammen, organist
Zion Lutheran Church
Sanborn, MN

I need to tell you how much we enjoy the new pipe organ, built by Aadland Pipe Organ Co. (installed at Grace Lutheran, Westbrook, MN) It’s so easy to hear the parts and to sing along with. Thank You,

Richard Isder, Treasurer (volunteer observation sent with payment)

It is an honor with joy and happiness that I, Dorothy Weiser, endorse the pipe organ that was built and installed by Aadland Pipe Organ Co., at First Lutheran Church of Volga, South Dakota.

Our organ is the third computerized “orchestral” pipe organ that the Aadland Pipe Organ Company has built. It was custom designed and handcrafted specifically for our church.

Our orchestral pipe organ promotes good musical leadership of traditional worship and hymn singing. This instrument can also work well to enhance and compliment contemporary worship abilities.

I am amazed at the capabilities of producing sounds of numerous instruments by programmable combinations of pure tuned “overtone” ranks of organ pipes. This gives us a variety and diverse combinations of pitch levels. The tones and voices of the organ are beautiful, so rich and mellow, very pleasing to the ear. I also enjoy the organ’s preset feature for our own personal settings. We also have the assurance that these chosen settings will be there when we want to use them at a later date.

Art and Ellen Aadland have spent 30 years in research to develop the highest quality pipe organ available, in terms of stability, long term durability and in reduced maintenance requirements. This organ requires only one major tuning each year. Living in eastern South Dakota, with constant climate changes, it is important that this organ is designed with climate resistive engineering as a major priority, and is designed to further improve tuning stability. But if a problem arises Art is only a phone call away, and promptly comes to help you in a very timely fashion.

Dorothy Weiser, organist,
Brookings, South Dakota

Salem Lutheran Church of Jackson, Minnesota has a beautiful Schanz pipe organ that was installed in 1948. It was in need of some repair and updating so in the early 1990’s, Aadland Pipe Organ Co. was hired for the necessary work. Five new ranks of pipes were added. We now have more tonal diversity, especially in the leading of hymn singing. We are pleased with Mr. Aadland’s work and his prompt attention to our tuning needs.

Carole Berkness
Salem Lutheran Church Organist
Jackson, Minnesota

Aadland Pipe Organ Company has been wonderful in helping to maintain and improve our pipe organ. They have solved one of our major problems in tuning with hermitically sealed wooden organ pipes and climate resistive technology.

A major challenge came in 1998, when a tornado destroyed much of our Faith Lutheran Church building. The exposed pipes were filled with tornado debris, and a part of the roof landed on the organ console. Art Aadland and his workers were amazing in their care and attention to detail in repairing and rebuilding our organ to be placed in the new church, New Hope Lutheran, in Comfrey.

The cleaning and restoration of the pipes and wind chests presented many problems and hours of work at his shop, but Art also made numerous visits to make sure everything was perfect when the organ components were installed into our new church. The new console he designed also fits beautifully with our floor plan, as he was able to work with the project from the very start of construction. I have enjoyed working with Art Aadland and would highly recommend the Aadland Pipe Organ Company for all pipe organ needs.

Laurie Fredin, organist
New Hope Lutheran Church
Comfrey, Minnesota

Nearly 18 years ago, Art Aadland brilliantly rebuilt the pipe organ I now play at the local UCC church (Cong. UCC Church in Mitchell, SD). As a result of Aadland’s diligent and careful maintenance of his own guaranteed work, our organ looks, sounds and works like it was just done yesterday.

The Aadland organ has proven itself to be extremely user friendly as a learning instrument, a church instrument and as a classical music instrument.

I have great faith in this experienced organ master and have always been more than pleased with his work. Without hesitation, I would recommend Art Aadland to build, rebuild, repair or service all of your pipe organ needs.

David Klassy, organist
Congregational UCC
Mitchell, South Dakota

Art Aadland has always responded to our service calls for our Wicks pipe organ in a timely fashion. He periodically checks to see if our organ is in need of any maintenance or tuning. He previously gave our church a bid, along with another company and he will get the job when they finally decide to do the project. His bid was more practical and more appropriately fit the budget for our situation. He has a lot of “hands on” knowledge.

Peggy Martius
Director of Music and head organist
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church
Lamberton, Minnesota

At First Lutheran Church in Volga, South Dakota, we have had an Aadland pipe organ for several years. When it came time to replace our old pipe organ, our committee researched organs from several companies, but felt that the Aadland organ was of superior quality and endurance. I have been impressed with Art Aadland and the quality of his instruments.

During the building process Aadland provided monthly progress reports and did an excellent job keeping the sanctuary clean & clutter free. After completion, he’s provided prompt service for adjustments. Now the beautiful cabinet and the six large ranks of organ pipes help make wonderful music that will touch souls for many decades.

Our Aadland organ began touching souls and creating memories from the start. As the organ was nearing completion and organist training began, a patron saint of our congregation was dying of cancer. Although she was well into her 90’s, Ada had several goals to accomplish before she died. One of the last goals was to hear the new organ. So one evening, her daughters brought her to the church. Singing to the new organ, Art and several of us sang all of the hymns she requested. She died a few days later. It was a Holy moment, thanks to Art’s ability to blend a love of music with quality, technology and workmanship.

Jane Utecht, former Worship Committee Chairperson
First Lutheran Church
Volga, South Dakota

Art Aadland took the challenge of building a pipe organ that would blend with the furnishings in our sanctuary of our church and yet produced an instrument with a very wide variety and range of tonalities. He met the challenge extremely well! We have also found that he has kept the organ in tune, and is very prompt at making adjustments that have needed to be done, whether night or day.

Donna Swan, Organist, Sillerud Lutheran Church, Balaton, MN

We have used the services of Art Aadland and for many years – both for the tuning and service of our pipe organ and for match tuning our grand piano. A few years ago, we had some major repairs completed on our organ. At that time, he removed our failing chime system (upon our request) and later installed it with a higher quality chimes action in an improved access location. All works very well! His services are very professional and he comes highly recommended.

Pam Tracey (secretary), Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Jackson, MN

It is with a great deal of enthusiasm that I write this letter of commendation on behalf of Art Aadland and Aadland Pipe Organ Co., Valley Springs, SD.

Trinity congregation had a most unfortunate organ re-building experience with another “organ builder” in 1980-81 and never did resolve the problems with that person. Fortunately, while the workmanship was unbelievably bad the components were of good quality. It was out of this chaotic mess that Mr. Aadland came to our rescue after being highly recommended by Lutheran Church of Our Savior at Windom. He labored tirelessly for us to “put it all together” and kept us fully informed as to what he was doing and the reasons why. Not only did he make friends in our congregation with his friendly and professional style, but the whole community became interested in what was going on at Trinity.

In general, congregations are not knowledgeable about organs and what all is involved, nor do most board and/or committee members have the time to educate themselves and then constantly check up on the organ builder. For this reason, I strongly caution all congregations to check references thoroughly. It is great to have not only an organ expert who is technically qualified, but one who becomes a trustworthy friend of the congregation through his dedicated workmanship and straight-forward manner.

Connie Eads, Parish Secretary, Trinity Lutheran Church, Mountain Lake, MN

When our church burned a few years ago, our pipe organ was pretty much destroyed. Our church really wanted to replace it with another pipe organ, so our search began. Consequently, we decided upon the Aadland Pipe Organ Company, who would custom design and handcraft our own pipe organ according to the acoustics and artistic beauty of our sanctuary.

Some of the benefits that we have received with our computerized orchestral pipe organ include it’s capability of generating combination reed stops; some of which require up to eight pipes playing at one time to produce a single note. This adds individual character along with a wide variety of different tonalities.

Most organs that have as many high-pitched stops as our organ, would take up to 5 tunings per year to produce the kind of tuning and voicing precision that our organ experiences with just one major tuning per year. It is designed and built with climate resistive engineering and temperature differential control engineering to further improve stability. The maintenance service we have received from Aadland Pipe Organ Co. has been outstanding.

Besides all of the mechanical arts of this particular organ, what makes the Aadland Pipe Organ so great is its high quality craftsmanship, all the variations of stops, and the ease of transition from one preset setting to another. This organ has very full, rich, majestic tones but also soft, reflective, meditative tones which all add to the enjoyment of listening to this exquisite pipe organ. As an organist at Grace Lutheran Church, I thoroughly enjoy playing this organ as much as I love listening to it.

Deloris Winter
Organist at Grace Lutheran Church
Westbrook, MN

Dear Mr. Aadland (written in 1987)

The congregation, pastors, and church council of Atonement Lutheran Church in Boulder would like to thank you for the excellent workmanship and quality provided in the new organ recently built and installed at Atonement. This exceptional instrument will be an important part of our worship for many years to come.

Estelle C. Goode
Church Council Secretary
Atonement Lutheran Church, Boulder, Colorado

Our church organ recently needed repair. Mr. Aadland was at the church to repair it within 24 hours of our call. Prompt repair is a valuable aspect of service for a church instrument which is used on a weekly basis.

Jane Kurth, Organist at Zion Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD

I have been an organist for a very small congregation for many years, so have had many chances to work with Art. Our organ is a beautiful, simple pipe organ. He has always been very prompt, professional and meticulous when repairing the organ. He is a very talented musician and very knowledgeable about pipe organs. It has always been a pleasure working with Art.

Vonnie Schneider, organist, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Darfur, MN

Aadland gave new life to our pipe organ by installing a computerized switching system which enables each organist to have multiple levels of memory and a transposer with instantaneous pushbutton access. Most important, Mr. Aadland stands behind his product, keeping the pipes tuned and the controls well maintained.

Steve Wille, Musician, Our Father Lutheran Church, Centennial CO.

I know and work with Art as he works on the organ at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Beresford SD. Art is friendly and personable and his knowledge of organs and how they work is a great asset. He is easy to work with, and he explains what he is doing as the work goes along, which teaches me so much about the inner workings of the organ, beyond the console. When there are specific problems with the organ, he is willing to work for their solution, often giving priority to the organ’s immediate needs over his current schedule. And he follows up on the work, calling later to see how the repairs are holding up.

David L. Aronson, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Political Science
University of South Dakota

Hi Art, Miles and Tom, I’ve been meaning to send you my many personal thanks for all your hard work this summer. The organ sounds and feels great! Everything is working splendidly—and the console looks great, too! It’s been really wonderful, and I am so grateful we were able to make this happen relatively quickly—the fundraising, and having you all out here. I am very, very grateful.

Michael Mastronicola

Dr. Mastronicola recently received his Doctorate in applied keyboard (Piano and Organ) at Colorado University. He was formerly the Head Organist for Atonement Lutheran Church, Boulder, CO and is currently Director of Music Ministries of First Presbyterian Church, Brighten, CO. Dr. Mastronicola is also the primary accompianist for the Boulder Chorale. As an organist, "His sense for organ registration is exemplary and his organ technique is frequently both masterful and brilliant" says Art Aadland, President and Co-owner of Aadland Pipe Organ Co., Valley Springs, SD.

I have known Art Aadland for 25 years and have worked with him at two church locations as an organist for both of these congregations.

The Aadland Organ Company provides expert advice, skilled maintenance and professional installation. Art Aadland is a masterful pipe organ designer and builder. (written on May 2nd, 2006)

Sandy DeSaix, Principal Organist
Calvary Episcopal Cathedral, Sioux Falls, SD

We’ve been pleased with the level of quality, dedication and craftsmanship that Art Aadland has offered to our church for the past two decades. Our Aadland pipe organ has been exceptionally versatile for performing repertoire from the Baroque to the Contemporary. Mr. Aadland’s success in combining tonal design and technology has allowed our 8-rank instrument to sound more than twice its current size, and remain remarkably in tune throughout the year.

Timothy Snyder
Director of Worship, Music and Outreach,
Atonement Lutheran church, 685 Inca Parkway, Boulder, CO

NOTE TO THE READER: Dr. Timothy Snyder has served on the faculties of Connecticut College and the Yale School of Music and received his DMA at Colorado University. Choruses under his direction have toured internationally to Norway, France, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Italy, and the People’s Republic of China. Active as a composer, his choral works are performed by the nations leading choirs, have earned recognition in competitions sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association, the Composer’s Guild and Ithaca College, and are published by Hinshaw Music, Shawnee Press, Lawson-Gould and Santa Barbara Music. Mr. Snyder is also the Director of the Boulder Chorale and has led the Chorale to acclaimed performances of Faure`, Mozart, Bach, and Handel with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.

Our congregation (Dalesburg Lutheran Church, rural Vermillion, SD) has had Art Aadland and Aadland Pipe Organ Co. service our pipe organ for 15-20 years now. They have done a wonderful job in keeping our priceless instrument working properly and at its peak. They are extremely dedicated and they have also done some renovations that have improved the performance of the organ greatly. We have never been anything but 100% pleased with them and their work. We highly recommend them to anyone that asks and will continue to do so!

Susan Jenson, organist
Dalesburg Lutheran Church


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was founded in Sioux Falls, SD in 1971 by Art Aadland and Established in Valley Springs, SD in 1972 by Art and Ellen Aadland

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