At the time of its installation in 1928 in the then new 1500-seat Memorial Chapel, it was the third, and largest, Casavant organ installed in California.
Throughout many decades, the Casavant organ has been a centerpiece both on campus and in the Redlands community. It is played at all major university events including the enduringly popular Feast of Lights, and is showcased every spring since 1987 during the Redlands Organ Festival. It is also integral to the School of Music education program, for teaching, student practice, and performances.
As part of an extensive restoration of the Memorial Chapel, the entire organ was removed and shipped back to the Casavant workshop. The organ chambers were repaired, painted, new lighting was installed, and the organ's air system was redesigned to draw air from inside the Chapel rather than from the outside — a contributing cause of dirt entering the organ.
The approach to this comprehensive refurbishment project was rather conservative. In addition to thorough cleaning, the damaged pipes were repaired; those missing and beyond repair were replaced. The pipework that had been moved and revoiced previously in a failed attempt to make the organ more in line with the ideals of the Organ Reform Movement was reinstated to its original location and tonally refinished.
The original electro-pneumatic, ventil-type windchests, which had been reworked in the past, were converted to Pitman action, with new pouchboards and stop actions. The relatively new console was retained and upgraded.
The sample set of this iconic organ is available from CLR Resources.