Meet our Staff
Michael’s diverse background includes pipe organ building, custom furniture building, and mechanical design. Beginning as an apprentice at Marceau and Associates, he very quickly became the shop supervisor, overseeing several projects from inception to completion. Notable instruments are First Unitarian Church in San Diego and First Presbyterian Church in Pullman, Washington.
Born and raised on a Minnesota farm, Michael garnered many skills from an early age in wood and metal working, construction, and machine maintenance. From one manual tracker organs to one-hundred plus rank organs, he has established himself as a talented designer and gifted craftsman.
A Portland, Oregon native, Chris grew up in the organ industry. As the son of internationally renowned organist Jonas Nordwall, Chris’ experience with pipe and electronic organs began at a very early age. He is fortunate to have had associations with notable people in organ performance, organ design, and the organ building world.
His musical studies began at age 6 on the piano with Lila Schlavin. Organ studies were with Portland, Oregon organists Laurie Pratt, Gerry Gregorious, James Welty, and Dr. Jeannine Jordan. Additional studies were with Allan Van Zoeren and his father. He attended Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.
Beginning in 1997 Chris apprenticed with Edward M. Stout III, the acknowledged E. M. Skinner specialist and retired organ curator for San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. There he assisted with the restoration of the E. M. Skinner organ in the Palace of Legion of Honor. In 2000 while employed at Marceau and Associates as a service technician Chris collaborated with Michael Ruppert on several organ projects. From 2004-07 Chris worked for J. Nelson and Company, the Allen representative for Northern California, where he was responsible for custom pipe/digital organ projects and service.
Chris has played professionally for churches in the greater Portland area since the early 1990s. During his Bay Area residency, he served as organist for Oakland’s First Baptist Church, later at Berkeley’s First Unitarian Church, and also was a frequent accompanist for concerts at the Basilica at Mission Delores in San Francisco. Since returning home to Portland he has served as organist at Portland’s First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Vancouver, WA and is currently music director and organist for St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal church in Beaverton, OR.
Jonas Nordwall has been the organist at Portland’s First United Methodist Church since 1971 and presently is their Artistic Director of Music. For over fifteen years he was the organist for the Oregon Symphony Orchestra during Maestro James DePriest’s tenure as music director.
His Bachelor of Music Degree in organ performance is from the University of Portland where he studied piano, organ, and orchestration with Arthur Hitchcock. Additional organ studies were with Frederick Geoghegan, Richard Ellsasser, and Richard Purvis.
For ten years he served as the Senior Staff Organist at the famous Organ Grinder Restaurant in Portland. An organist equally skilled in both classical and popular music, Jonas has presented concerts all over the world and has produced over 40 highly acclaimed recordings. He has appeared on national and local television programs in both the United States and Australia. His recordings are often heard on “Pipe Dreams.”
He was associated with the Rodgers Instrument Corporation for over 30 years, where he designed many of their instruments and supervised many of their notable installations including Carnegie Hall. He has consulted with the Allen Organ Company as a tonal finisher and is an artist for their Allen Artist Program.