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Berghaus Pipe Organ Builders was founded in 1967 by Leonard G. Berghaus after leaving his profession as a Lutheran school teacher. Having been influenced and inspired at a very young age by the landmark installation of Rudolph von Beckerath’s organ at Trinity Lutheran in Cleveland, Ohio he began his career in a similar style of organ building.
Len's early instruments in Chicago and native West Cleveland reflect his approach to classic organ building tenets – warm and vocal principal tone, liquid and articulate flutes, broad strings, bright upper-work, colorful, historically appropriate reeds – all undergirded by solid pedal fundamental. Light wind pressures meant pipes could be voiced in an open style with full tone. The earliest Berghaus organs were often completed as re-built or expanded instruments and were always executed based on methodical analysis of scales, pipe location, etc. Ranks were often re-scaled to meet the tonal needs of the new organ.
During this time, Len worked with Fred Lake, a former voicer at Beckerath and John Shawhan, a former Casavant representative. Being a graduate of Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Len’s friendships with Paul Bunjes, Carl Schalk, Paul Bouman, Tom Gieschen, Walter Pelz, and others would help define the Berghaus sound for the next forty years.
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