Mr. Hupalo offers thirty-four years of organ building experience necessary to construct a classic pipe organ. An early interest in pipe organs and sacred music lead him to study music at the Hartt School, University of Hartford. However, his great love for music performance did not fulfill his creative sense that building organs would.
John began his organ building career in the metal pipe shop at Austin Organ Inc. In the pipe shop he attained all the skills necessary to manufacture organ pipes from the small to the large. He worked casting sheets of metal with all the varied alloys used in pipe making. Spending almost ten years learning pipe making, one might call him a master pipe maker.
His career did not end in the pipe shop. He continued to add to his skills and experience, first by joining the cabinet shop as assistant cabinetmaker crafting consoles and wooden pipes. He then furthered his experience by fabricating organ components in the parts department, which crafted all the parts for Austin consoles, chest actions, and moving parts of the organ. This exposed him to machinery of all types. Many of these machines were made at the factory for specific jobs such as making the Austin chest actions. This apprenticeship at Austin was invaluable.
Having gained a full range of organ building experience, Mr. Hupalo founded his first enterprise, a custom pipe shop in Connecticut. His company manufactured and supplied organ pipes to numerous independent organ builders throughout America. In 1986, Mr. Hupalo accepted an offer to join the San Francisco based organ builder, Schoenstein & Company. For the next eight years, he managed the pipe shop. His skills contributed to developing the pipe shop, which included casting facilities and training pipe makers along with making most of the new pipes for Schoenstein. Within the first few years, Mr. Hupalo was developing the rebuilding standard for reed pipes used in the rebuilding of the Mormon Tabernacle organ and developing the French romantic reeds from information gathered by Jack Bethards during his study tour in France.
In 1994, Mr. Hupalo started his own pipe shop, the Hupalo Organ Pipe Co. while he remaining active in supervising the Schoenstein pipe shop. During this period, Mr. Hupalo made pipes for many notable organ projects, among them: St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catholic Church (Rosales Organ Builders Inc.), the pipe facade for the Jacksonville Symphony Hall organ (Quimby Pipe Organs), and rebuilding all pipes of the E. M. Skinner at Hollywood High School (Austin Organs Inc.).
In 2001 Steve Repasky and John Hupalo formed Hupalo & Repasky Pipe Organs, LLC. Since then the company has been building, rebuilding, and servicing pipe organs. Mr. Hupalo is a member in good standing in the following organizations: the American Institute of Organbuilders, the American Guild of Organists (currently a member-at-large), the British Institute of Organ Studies, the International Society of Organ builders, and the Organ Historical Society.
Organ building satisfies my creative sense
Mr. Repasky holds a bachelor of music degree in organ performance from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Repasky is a member of the American Institute of Organbuilders, the Organ Historical Society, and the American Guild of Organists.
Steve served as organist for churches since his parochial school days. He was organist at Old St. Mary’s Church in the early 1980′s and music director a St. Patrick Church, San Francisco for nearly 30 years. Steve is currently associate music director at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco. He has one of the largest private collections of organ, chant, and sacred choral music on the west coast. He performs regularly as an organ soloist, accompanist and choral conductor for the Noontime Concert Series as well as several other Bay Area concert venues.
His apprenticeship with organ building began in 1990 with Schoenstein & Company. Over the years, Mr. Repasky has gained extensive experience in the building, restoring, and voicing of pipe organs. He is also an experienced organ service technician, taking care of many of the more notable organs in northern California. One of the highlights of his career is the restoration of an 1812 English chamber organ. This charming instrument was completely rebuilt from the inside out. Damaged parts were meticulously restored and missing parts were made to match the originals.
In 1995, he was the program chairman for the annual convention of the American Institute of Organbuilders in San Jose. Mr. Repasky has served two terms as subdean (program chair) for the San Francisco Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and is currently serving as a member-at-large on the chapter board.
“I was fascinated by pipe organs at a very early age and can remember wondering, unlike most musical instruments, why the pipes do not move when the organ is played. I am always awe stuck by the sound, design, and mechanics of a pipe organ.”
Mr. Visscher received his bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania where he studied organ with Dr. James Boeringer. Mr. Visscher holds the title of “Master Organbuilder” with the American Institute of Organbuilders. He gained extensive experience in organ building while working for the organ building firms of James McFarland & Co., Bozeman & Gibson Co. Inc., and Rosales Organ Builders, Inc.
For eighteen years, he owned and operated his own firm, Visscher Associates located in the Santa Cruz area. During that time, he built many new instruments through out California. His most notable instrument being the seventy-three rank organ for Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco.
Mr. Visscher is currently the music director and organist at All Saint’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco.
“Pipe Organs are the essence of Life.”