See inside the Indianapolis company that’s been making pipe organs for 42 years
See and Hear Goulding & Wood Pipe Organ Builders in Indianapolis
Pipe organ builders Goulding & Wood of Indy on Mass Ave have been bringing custom pipe organs to life for customers nationwide since 1980.
Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson
If you pass too quickly, you might miss it.
Tucked away in a small plaza on the northeast corner of East Saint Clair and Massachusetts Avenue, a sign reads “Goulding & Wood Pipe Organ Builders, Established 1980,” in gold letters over dark green paint.
The local company has been designing, building and restoring impressive pipe organs for 42 years.
Thomas Wood and John Goulding, who met while working together in another organ company along Mass Ave. in the 1960s launched the business in 1980. John’s son Mark Goulding took over in 2003 when the couple retired.
The company builds custom pipe organs – the timeless, majestic kind you see crawling up the walls of houses of worship and leading the congregation in song with their larger-than-life sound, produced by a system pushing the wind to through thousands of pipes of different tones and sizes.
It takes about a year and a half for a medium-sized organ to be designed and built from start to finish. Some parts come from outside manufacturers, such as pipes and keyboards, but the majority of an instrument is built from scratch by the workshop’s 14 employees who specialize in various fields such as engineering, woodworking and pipe tone adjustment.
“Obviously every church is a little different, the designs are all different, same with pipe organs,” owner Mark Goulding said.
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“One of the things we look for with a new instrument coming into an existing building is that it feels like it was meant to be part of the building. It matches the interior design and the architectural style. “
One of two dozen such companies in the United States, Goulding & Wood works for clients nationwide. When a project is complete, the team travels to the customer to spend days or weeks installing the instrument.
Just recently, the team hauled new cabinets and facepipes to Germantown, Tennessee, the final phase of an instrument they had been building on for more than a decade.
In addition to building its own organs from scratch, the company services all kinds of pipe organs and also undertakes restoration work.
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Goulding & Wood has restored historic pipe organs at the Indiana Landmarks Center and Irvington Presbyterian Church, two local examples of the company’s work.
“I feel very lucky to have very, very talented people working here. I think one of the things that makes it possible is that it’s a unique job and they all really love what they do” , Goulding said.
“It’s one of the things that has kept me here for 37 years, I can honestly say I really enjoy coming to work every day.”
Jenna Watson is a photojournalist for IndyStar. Follow her on Twitter @jennarwatson.