The KENT GRAND ORGAN – Progress Report


As we begin to move into the final phase of pipe organ restoration and to see the enhancements made to the Gathering Place for Arts and Culture it’s appropriate to remind ourselves of what will soon become reality for Kent Lutheran Church and the larger Kent Community.

The historic Kent Grand Organ once installed at the Gathering Place for Arts and Culture at Kent Lutheran will be a symphonic, rather than classical pipe organ.  When compared to the pipe organ at Benaroya Hall in Seattle with 83 ranks and 4,490 pipes, KGO will have 70 ranks with 4, 264 pipes.  The symphonic organ is a style of pipe organ — expanded with many pipes imitative of orchestral instruments. These expansions are intended to facilitate the expressive performance of classical orchestral works re-scored for a solo organist. According to our builder, Marceau and Associates of Seattle, KGO will be the largest symphonic organ to be set in any church in the Pacific Northwest and the largest organ installed in any Lutheran Church in this area.


6/26/2020 – The console that will be placed in the balcony to play the Gallery Division separately is nearly complete. This console was originally built by G. Harold Keefer for a small organ at the University of Washington and has been completely rebuilt. The original ivory keys are wonderful to play on.

The Board of Directors of The Kent Grand Organ is pleased to present this progress report as we begin Phase III of our fundraising efforts.   We have come a long way in realizing the dream of the Kent Grand Organ at Kent Lutheran Church. We invite you to celebrate with us!

The Vision:

  • The Kent Grand Organ, housed in the sanctuary/worship space of Kent Lutheran Church, will be the centerpiece of culturally rich and diverse musical offerings performed in the heart of downtown Kent
  • It will attract persons from the Seattle-Tacoma area and beyond who appreciate the organ and cultural arts in many forms
  • It will provide opportunity to hear and appreciate a restored vintage pipe organ; built as Opus

78 in 1878 in Boston. It has 3 keyboards, 54 ranks and 3,303 pipes. Restored value 1.3 million

  • The KGO can provide a musical arts opportunity for artists to hear and share their music in a new way building a stronger sense of community within the city and region.

Organizing the Kent Grand Organ Board of Directors

In 2015 a larger group “Friends of the Kent Grand Organ” created an eleven-person Board of Directors (7 from Kent Lutheran Church and 4 from the community). After being approved by the Church Council, the Board began meeting monthly. It filed for non-profit status with the State of Washington. Application is underway to receive 501(c) (3) IRS status. By-Laws and “A Memorandum of Understanding” were approved by Kent Grand Organ Directors and Kent Lutheran Church Council.

Funding Phase I

The congregation raised enough funds to bring the pipes and reusable parts of the organ from Massachusetts and provide storage in Kent and install the interim organ. Total funds raised and expenditures for Phase I: $ 66,512. Considerable volunteer labor was given in moving the pipes, storing them and getting them prepared for inventory with Marceau Pipe Organ Builders. The church’s Capital Building Campaign supported a number of structural items for repairing and upgrading the facility. The space is prepared for serving the congregation and also for welcoming the community as they appreciate the musical arts presented by the anticipated Kent Grand Organ.

Funding Phase II

Goal: to raise $100,000 to take advantage of the generous offer of the Whalen family to match their $100,000 challenge gift during calendar year 2016. The challenge honored the memory and long-time commitment of Betty and Bob Whalen to the music ministry of Kent Lutheran Church. Cash gifts and fulfillment of pledges by November 1, 2017 enabled us to receive $ 116,144 – which met the $100,000 challenge-match by Jane Wilson and Paul Whalen. We shared in a Dedication Service for these funds in worship on November 19th. In this fundraising phase we raised $6.000 from members of the community and a $5,000 gift from King County via councilman Dave Upthegrove.

Total funds raised Phase I and II – $284,656!

Funding Phase III

Goal: to raise $ 350,000 from south King County community members/businesses and foundation grants. These funds will complete the installation of the organ and begin to create an endowment for future programs and upkeep   A KGO Grant Task Force is being formed (Claudia Otey, Judy Woods, Mike Bentz, Marino Correia, Marvin Eckfeldt). A seminar is scheduled with Peter Drury, seasoned nonprofit strategist and fundraiser. A strategy will be developed to reach out for gifts from community members and businesses (early 2018). We welcome the names of potential community donors you may know (outside the congregation). A PowerPoint program will be created to solicit gifts from Kent service clubs. An aggressive grant writing effort will be developed to approach as many foundations as possible. We expect to be submitting grant applications after January 1, 2018.

Formal solicitation (such as a capital campaign) from KLC members will occur in Phase IV if needed. Along the way we will welcome any designated gifts in Phase III, including those that can be matched by an employer.