St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay will be able to continue with its efforts to restore and install a historic pipe organ—the largest of its kind south of Loop 610—with the help of a $225,000 grant from the city.

What happened

On June 10, Nassau Bay City Council awarded a $225,000 grant sourced from the city’s hotel occupancy tax to restore and install the Kimball Opus 7113 pipe organ in St. Thomas.

The grant was awarded to the nonprofit Kimball Opus 7113 of Nassau Bay, which will provide the project’s funding, making Nassau Bay and St. Thomas home to one of only four unaltered and publicly playable Kimball organs in the United States, according to St. Thomas’ social media post.

Because the Kimball Opus 7113 is rare, St. Thomas Rev. Mike Stone said he hopes it will attract high-end choirs, and provide worshipers and the community with a musical experience they won’t be able to find elsewhere.

Community Impact previously reported that in 2016, St. Thomas was gifted the organ from a private collector who had originally wanted to install the organ at his home but decided to donate it instead.

Since then, St. Thomas has pursued raising funds to restore the organ, including hosting an auction in February that raised more than $57,000, Stone said.

Quote of note

Community Impact previously reported the historic organ is of considerable size, and has three manuals and pedals, with 41 stops, 52 ranks and a total of 3,556 individual pipes, according to the church’s website.

“There's an interesting thing with instruments that the more you play them, the better they sound, particularly when they're made out of wood,” Stone said. “The deep pipes of this, ... they're made of wood, so they've already been kind of primed. They've already been played, which means there's an additional warmth and richness to the timbre of the tone because it's not brand new.”

Looking ahead

This year, St. Thomas will reconstruct its choir loft to house chambers that magnify the resonance of the organ’s thousands of pipes, some of which are as long as 18 feet and constructed from wood and metal, according to the social media post.

The church hopes the organ will be ready to be played by fall or winter 2025, Stone said.