Detroit (CBS Detroit) – Located in the heart of downtown Detroit, Covenant Organs is currently in its 30th year of business. It is a fully operational design and construction facility that combines “old world” wood worker’s hand crafting tools with a state-of-the-art CNC machine
Rick Helderop started the company in 1988 after completing his Master’s Degree in Organ Performance at the University of Michigan, where as a student he spent time working at the school servicing its many practice organs, the Fisk organ and Hill Auditorium’s famous Frieze Memorial organ.
“A good sounding organ will attract people,” explains owner Rick Helderop. “A wonderful, beautiful sounding organ will inspire people.” Upon graduating, Rick spent the next few years apprenticing with technicians and organ builders from all around the country, eventually leading to the formation of his own company, Richard Helderop and Associates, now Covenant Organs.
“We make the consoles which house the keyboards and the stops and different sounds that you push or pull,” continues Helderop. “And then we build the chess, which is the mechanism that the pipes actually sit on. And then we also build the facades that you see in a church.”
“Many people think what they see in the front is the whole organ, what they don’t see is the whole inner workings behind that. A typical organ might be as much as, on the smaller side, 10,000 parts. On the large side, as many as 75,000 to 100,00 parts.”
“We’ve done restorations, not only in other states, but we also became the first American firm to restore and install an American organ in Russia.”
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