Assistant Director of Service and Technician
Kipp Cortez has led a varied and interesting career as a church organist, choral conductor, university professor, carillonneur, and now, organ builder. In his role in the Service Department at Buzard, he does tuning, restoration work, helps manage the tuning schedule, performs intake visits for new clients, and occasionally assists with sales. Restoration work he has done, of which he is especially proud, includes the whiffle tree swell engine for the E.M. Skinner organ at Wesley Methodist Church in Urbana, and mechanical manual octave couplers for Hinners instruments in Lincoln, Illinois and New Haven, Indiana.
Originally from the Chicago suburb of La Grange Park, he took degrees in organ and sacred music at Valparaiso University (Bachelor of Music) and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts). HIs organ teachers included Dennis Northway, Lorraine Brugh, James Kibbie, and Marilyn Mason. He also studied the harpsichord with Edward Parmentier and the carillon with Steven Ball and Dennis Curry. Along with his work at Buzard, he serves as the Assistant Organist at the Chapel of Saint John the Divine in Champaign where he plays the 1991 Buzard Opus Seven organ.
He lives in Champaign with his two cats Romeo and Minerva. Outside of organ building and music, he is an accomplished home cook, regularly bringing in his creations to share with his co-workers. He also collects vintage and novelty cufflinks and enjoys trying to get better at billiards games.