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Despite Changes in Style, Sioux Falls Pipe Organ Company Endures

Pipe Organs
JF Nordlie Company

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – The pipe organ has ruled the Christian worship sanctuary for centuries, and the majestic instrument continues to reign supreme in many Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant parishes.

It’s a tougher sell for congregations moving toward contemporary worship. The growth in praise-band led services, combined with a shortage of qualified organists, is prompting many congregations to leave pipe organs out of their new construction plans.

Current price tags range from $100,000 to well into the millions. But South Dakota organ builder John Nordlie says pipe organs hold their value and can last for generations if they’re well-designed and well-maintained.

Nordlie has built nearly 50 organs in his Sioux Falls shop. Each part is handcrafted, from the wood and metal pipes that turn airflow into notes to the ornate cabinetry that houses the massive structures.

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Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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