Popularity of Pipe Organs
in Churches


Pipe Organs and Contemporary Christian Music

U.S. pipe organ makers reported building only 91 instruments in 2010, down 14% from 2009 and 40% from 2008, according to the Organ Historical Society in Richmond, Va.

A small church in a suburb … that previously might have bought a small pipe organ, now maybe buys an electric organ or a guitar or a bass drum, says Scot Huntington, president of the historical society.

For churches hoping to draw more young people to worship services, the pipe organ sounds out-of-date, says Josh Hunt, a Baptist pastor and national consultant to churches trying to increase membership.

"Young people today don't listen to pipe organ music on their iPods," he says.

A nice summarization of this delimia is found in the article A church closes, but where does its pipe organ go? (1)

Industry Shrinking

Contemporary Christian Music is following in the footsteps of popular music. In its early stages that included Folk Music styles, but has come to be more influenced by various Rock styles and Country music. None of those styles use pipe organs for accompaniment.

With the rapid rise of preferences for various styles of Contemporary Christian Music among new generations of church goers, there has been wholesale replacement of the older traditional hymns, accompanied by a considerable decrease in the popularity of pipe organs over the years. As a result, a number of formerly quite successful pipe organ builders have gone out of business. Examples include:


Footnotes

1 A church closes, but where does its pipe organ go?, Holly Meyer, The Tennessean, May 4, 2017, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/04/pipe-organ-surplus/310491001/, accessed 10-28-2020



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