History of the association "Orgelfreunde Sankt Martin"

The mental roots of the association go back into the year 1986. At that time the sacristan Karl Striebel on suggestion of curator Father Dominikus Kirchmair assigned the diocese music director professor Dr. Gert Voelkl with an expertise of the Batzenhofen organ.
The expert called the instrument regarding conception, construction, choice of materials, workmanship realization and sound completely insufficient. He referred to many malfunctions and closed with the words "because of the fundamental imperfections mentioned, you should not invest in the instrument any longer, but have your eyes on the investment in a new organ appropriate to the room".
Nevertheless with some overhaul and repairs the organ can be used until today, if also not always completely according to the desire of the organist. If at that time already a promotion association would have been founded, today probably a solid financial basis would be present, with which would allow a renewal.
Christmas 2005 the organ again had problems, what, in particular with winter cold weather, happens sporadically again and again. No miracle, because 2002 the official organ expert P. Stefan U. Kling OPraem came to the same result, as his colleague 16 years before: Also he advised in his appraisal against a general overhaul and recommended a renewal.
The Christmas organ malfunctions in 2005 were reason that for the first time by family Koehler donations for the organ were collected at the annual gluehwein party (warm spiced wine) taking place for several years already in the Frankenstreet. Further actions were the sale of videos about the holy land pilgrimage of the parish in the spring 2006, the sale of plants from seeds collected there and a further gluehwein party. Thus a financial basis of approx. 400 Euros could be collected and the thought came in mind to prepare the foundation of an official promotion association.
At the parish fair 2006 encouraged by further organ problems the first draft of the statutes was written, which already two weeks later was certified by the tax office Augsburg-Land to correspond to the fiscal regulations of the tax code.
Now it was time to go with the long-preserved idea into the public. The draft was discussed with the minister, and then introduced to the parish council and the church administration. Some smaller changes in the statutes had to be done. Finally minister Walser and all members of the two committees agreed to the foundation of the association.
On Friday 25 July 2008 16 persons followed the public invitation of Franz X. Kohler in the parish hall St. Martin Batzenhofen to the foundation meeting. 14 of them got founder members of the promotion association "Orgelfreunde St. Martin" (Organ Friends Saint Martin). The draft of the statutes was accepted without dissenting votes, membership dues were determined for standard members at 20 Euros and for promotion members at 60 Euros per year. After the entry of the founder members the statutes was signed and the executive committee was elected. Chairmen became Franz X. Koehler and Dr. Sabine Lutz, other members of the committee elected for five years got Dr. Renate Demharter, Ulrike Kohler, Maja May, Konrad Roessle and Stefan Schoeffel.
The first public occurrence of the new association happened with an information booth on the garden party of the music association Batzenhofen on Sunday 03 August. Here further 11 members could be won. Another public member advertisement happened at the holiday of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin after the service. On 16 August 2008 member 50 joined the association. On 08 Sept. the association became member of the GdO. The number of members had increased to over 60. The GdO, which is association of the organ friends, is an international umbrella organization for all, who are obliged to the organ.
By joining the GdO the organ friends were recognized by the city of Gersthofen officially as association and got an entry in the register of associations there. For the exchange of such news the executive committee meets every 2 months to an "Orgelstammtisch" (organ regulars' table). For the dates see our homepage. Guests are at any time cordially welcome.
Obviously there was a whole set of persons, who had waited only for the foundation of an organ association, because starting from at the end of August increasingly donations began to be received and this funds rain continues to today. Many thanks to all of our members and sponsors for this. At the first Christmas holiday we received the proceeds from the operators of the Gluehbude and forging booth as donation.
At the beginning of the new year a large publicity campaign was accomplished: From the Gersthofen directory the addresses of more than 600 households were determined, which belong to the parish Batzenhofen and were not members yet. They all received a personal writing, in which we informed about our association and asked for membership and donations. The membership count at the first annual general meeting in association's history on 13 March 2009 was 89, of it 61 from Batzenhofen, 8 from Edenbergen, 14 from Rettenbergen. Regarding to the numbers of inhabitants, in Batzenhofen 6.2%, in Edenbergen 2.7% and in Rettenbergen 3.1% of the inhabitants are members in our association. So it might be still potential for further members present. We rely on you! At the annual general meeting by the Kath. Woman's Association a very generous donation was presented, which consisted of incomes of the hourly kindergarten and the Advent bazaar 2008.
In order to give to the members and sponsors of the association a criteria about the progress of the project, in July 2009 in the entrance of the parish church St."Martin an "Organ-Donation-Barometer" was installed: If the reading reaches the upper end, the chances are well to begin with the renewal of the instrument.
At the beginning of October the "sound barrier" was broken through: Father Hutt joined the association as member 100. As welcome gift he got the first bottle of "Cecilia Wine", which the association let bottle in limited edition with special label and offers in favor of the organ renewal.
At the annual general meeting (AGM) on 22 January 2010 the membership was 105, of it 67 from Batzenhofen, 13 from Edenbergen, 19 from Rettenbergen and 6 from other places.
At the AGM 2011 the membership had increased to 108 even when the association had to take the death of three members and one withdrawal.
Thanks to the tireless recruitment of Secretary Ulrike Köhler the chairman was able to invite the impressive number of 112 members for the AGM 2012, but only a small fraction of them took part. In the year 2011 three financially very successful benefit concerts took place. Also the church administration decided that the project of organ renewal is not to be set at the end of the list of restoration projects to be done within the next years. Therefore already first contacts to organ builders and the Bavarian State Conservation Office were carried out.
In September 2012 during an on-site meeting with Dr. Nikolaus Könner of the Bavarian State Conservation Office and Father Stefan U. Kling OPraem., the organ expert of the Episcopal Ordinariate Augsburg, the issues of preservation were discussed. A totally new conception of the old organ was not totally ruled out by the experts, but first had to be checked, if it would be possible to bring the instrument with a repair action into a condition that ensures a long lasting good technical and sonic result, combined with easy maintenance and tuning.
A following investigation by organ builder G. Weishaupt has shown that this is not possible. Therefore at the end of 2012, an application for permission under Article 6 antiques protection law was prepared to get permission for the proposed redesign from the local authority. As every year, there were also numerous other activities.
At the annual meeting on 18 January 2013, the managing committee was re-elected. New 2nd Chairman got Dr. Renate Demharter; the previous second Chairman was due to time constraints no longer able to stay. As new 2nd member Johanna Seitz was elected. All other members of the managing committee were re-elected. End of February we got the permission to renew the inner workings of our organ by the Bavarian authority for the protection of monuments. Following together with Father Stefan Kling and our organists Petra Eckl and Sebastian Ehinger we developed both a proposal for the disposition and the request of tender for the new organ. But because of temporal delay with the renovation of our church tower we decided to wait with sending the request to the chosen organ makers. And of course there were various social activities as every year.
In 2014 there was only little progress: The renovation of our church tower lasted again longer than expected and because of the uncertain situation regarding target date and costs the organ project went on very slowly.
After the end of the tower renovation the church administration asked us in May 2015 to send the request to the four chosen organ makers. All of them showed their interest and gave us visits in June, August and September. The last offer we got in November. This was a year full,of activities.
But the AGM in 2016 gave reason for delay again: The next step in church renovation needs a scaffold inside the church and will produce lots of dust. So the new organ should not be installed before the end of this which for cost reasons cold not be started before summer 2017. So this year again the organ project went on very slowly.
This changed with the AGM in 2017: While always being a bar to further proceedings now the church renovation developed to a booster on the way to the new organ. For the renovation needs the organ to be removed it forces to choose an organ maker for the removal. This should usefully be the one that also gets the order for the new organ. So the offers had to be validated and an order had to be given. This lasted until August an the winner was Orgelbau Wech. We hope that there will be an increase in donations again as the organ will visibly be no longer there in late autumn. When things go well we will get the new instrument in late 2019.


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