21st Century Upgrades
In each we have retained the very best of the pipework, revoiced as required, while supplying additional new ranks to fill out the specification. Mechanical systems have been rebuilt or replaced and new consoles with state-of-the-art technology provided.
The results are outstanding new organs which maintain the essence of the original instrument while generally going beyond the original builders' intent to speak with the character of a 21st century organ, ready to meet their owners' needs, tonally and mechanically, for decades to come.
Click on the pictures for additional photos or information.
4 Manuals, 84 ranks
Church Street United Methodist Church has had a long history of pipe organs, dating back into the 1800's, and including a total of five instruments. The church's second building, on Church Avenue in Knoxville, housed a small Hook and Hastings tracker instrument in the 1880's. Around 1913, this was replaced by a Moller organ, which was consumed by a devastating fire in 1928.
When the church's current building was completed on Henley Street in 1931, Henry Pilcher's Sons, of Louisville, Kentucky, installed a four-manual, 53 rank organ, for many years, the largest organ in town. http://database.organsociety.org/SingleOrganDetails.php?OrganID=17579
By the 1960's, that instrument was showing signs of serious deterioration, and a contract was let with the Aeolian-Skinner Company, of Boston, for a new organ of 3 manuals, 47 ranks. Several large Pedal stops were retained from the Pilcher.
Installed in 1966, Randall Dyer began maintenance of the new organ as a university junior organ student of the church's Organist/Choirmaster at the time, Dr. Calvin Bower, and has continued that association virtually since.
Over the years, several opportunities have arisen to do major work on the organ, including solid-stating of the electrical system in 1984, along with some minor additions and revoicing in each of the manual divisions.
Again in 1991, following a fire on the stage of the parish hall, and ensuing smoke damage in the nave, the organ was completely cleaned and additional tonal work was done. A positive result of that near-disaster was covering the 1 ¾” thick cork ceiling with plywood panels, which greatly enhanced the acoustics of the room.
By the late 1990’s the Aeolian-Skinner organ was showing signs of impending leather failure. Our firm developed a master plan for a mechanical overhaul and expansion of the instrument, that would nearly double its size over a period of several years, while it remained playable for all but two Sundays, that during the time the new console was being connected.
As leather work proceeded on a division by division basis, additional funds were made available to realize the desired tonal additions. Wind pressures were raised throughout the organ. Original pipe ranks were rescaled, revoiced, and in some cases, moved to different locations. Added stops were fitted on our electro-pneumatic slider-and-pallet chests, which work well with the original pitman chests. The gift of an organ formerly located in the Florida home of M. P. Moller, provided several stops in the new Solo division, all sitting on a custom-designed pitman chest which was built in our shop.
A 16’ Wood Open Diapason from an Austin organ in Cincinnati, replaced the Pilcher rank which had become the 32’ Subbass in 1966. Most of the Pedal division had to be removed and reoriented to install the Solo and the Wood Open, the latter being placed horizontally behind the Swell and Choir enclosures.
The new movable four-manual console is designed in late Aeolian-Skinner style, and features the first new ivory keys in this country in more than 20 years. Space in the console and organ will allow up to 8 more ranks to be added at some point in the future.
The Antiphonal organ, located in the rear balcony over the door, helps pull the sound of the front organ to the back of the church. An attached two-manual console can also control that section, as well as the Chancel Great and Pedal, and is used when the choir sings from the back of the church at special seasonal services.
While the essence of the Aeolian-Skinner sound is still present, the new organ, now the church's fifth, is nearly double the size of the original installation. It represents our vision of what a large 21st century organ should be: an eclectic instrument, broad in sound, capable of playing with authenticity, the great repertoire of the organ and choral traditions, as well as leading inspired congregational singing.
Key to stoplist:
N=new, V=revoiced, S=rescaled, M=moved from another division, NM=new to organ, from Moller house organ
|8'||Principal V, S||61||Pipes|
|8'||Flute Harmonique N||54||Pipes|
|4'||Octave V, S||61||Pipes|
|2 2/3'||Quinte N||61||Pipes|
|2'||Super Octave V||61||Pipes|
|1 3/5'||Terz N||61||Pipes|
|8'||Rohrflote - Prep. (Chapel)|
|4'||Gemshorn - Prep.(Chapel)|
|SWELL - (expressive)
|8'||Flute Celeste TC, NM||61||Pipes|
|2 2/3'||Nasard N||61||Pipes|
|1 3/5'||Tierce N||61||Pipes|
|IV-VI||Grande Plein Jeu (+III)N,V,M||114||Pipes|
|8'||Voix Humaine NM||61||Pipes|
|CHOIR - (expressive)
|16'||Quintadena V, M||61||Pipes|
|8'||Geigen Principal V, M||61||Pipes|
|8'||Gedackt Pommer V||61||Pipes|
|8'||Salicional - Prep.|
|8'||Salicional Cel. TC - Prep.|
|8'||Erzahler Celeste TC||49||Pipes|
|4'||Spitzprincipal V, M||61||Pipes|
|4'||Rohrflote V, M||61||Pipes|
|1 1/3'||Quinte N||61||Pipes|
|III-IV||Cymbel N, V, M||224||Pipes|
|16'||Dulzian N, M||12||Pipes|
|Harp - Prep.|
|SOLO - (expressive)|
|8'||Grand Diapason NM||54||Pipes|
|8'||Violoncello Cel., TC, NM||49||Pipes|
|4'||Open Flute N||61||Pipes|
|8'||French Horn N||61||Pipes|
|8'||English Horn N||61||Pipes|
|Harp - Prep.|
|ANTIPHONAL - (expressive)
|8'||Principal (facade) N||61||Pipes|
|8'||Gemshorn GG, N||54||Pipes|
|2'||Doublette (dbl. draw)|
|16'||(Ant.)Gedacktbass N (Ped)|
|16'||Open Wood N||32||Pipes|
|IV||Grand Cornet (32' series)|
|32'||Contre Bombarde L/2||12||Pipes|