St. Thomas Lutheran Church
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32′ Subbass – 1-12 Electronic, 13-32 Austin (1928)
8′ Harmonic Flute – E.M. Skinner and Estey
8′ Viola – A.R. Schopp
8′ Voix Celeste – A.R. Schopp
4′ Principal – E.M. Skinner
4′ Bourdon – E.M. Skinner
22/3′ Nazard – M.P. Moller 1948
2′ Harmonic Piccolo – Estey
13/5′ Tierce – M.P. Moller 1948
11/3′ Larigot – M.P. Moller 1948
16′ Trombone – 1-12, A.R. Schopp, 13-61 Austin (1930)
8′ Tromba – Austin (1930)
8′ Trompette – M.P. Moller 1948
8′ Clarinet – M.P. Moller (1926)
4′ Clarion – Austin (1930)
16′ Contra-Viola 1-12 Austin (1930), 13-61 A.R. Schopp
16′ Gedeckt – 1-12 Electronic, 13-61 from Murray Harris
8′ Principal – Aeolian-Skinner Op. 1219
8′ Gedeckt – Murray Harris
8′ Flauto Dolce – E. M. Skinner
8′ Flute Celeste – E. M. Skinner
4′ Octave – Aeolian-Skinner Op. 1219
4′ Chimney Flute – Aeolian-Skinner Op. 1219
2′ Super-Octave – A. R. Schopp (1998)
III-IV Mixture (11/3′) – Aeolian-Skinner Op. 1219
III Sharp Mixture (1′) – from 20-22
8′ Clarinet – M. P. Moller (1926)
A history: from the church website http://theory.music.indiana.edu/isaacso/organ/history.html
The St. Thomas “pipedream” began in the fall of 1995 when our organist, John Schwandt, learned of a gentleman in Washington, D. C., who had an old organ lying in pieces throughout his house and was looking for a church willing to accept the instrument as a donation. Our Baldwin C-640 electronic organ, purchased in 1978, had suffered at least two lightening strikes and the electronic damage was beginning to spread. Though there had been very tentative discussions in the Worship Committee about the eventual need for a replacement, no one thought that would happen any time soon�and it was assumed any new organ would be another electronic instrument, since a new, comparable pipe organ would be prohibitively expensive. John recognized this potential gift as an unusual opportunity. If, instead of purchasing a new pipe organ, we fashioned one out of used components, and if the members of St. Thomas participated in the refurbishing and construction process, we could have a pipe organ for a cost far less than new.
After a series of divine coincidences, we accumulated all but four ranks of this organ’s pipework through special contacts and situations. Brantley Duddy, a noted Philadelphia-area organ technician and voicer, provided much of our pipework, the swell shades, and the blower at very low cost. Our organ builder, J. Clark Wilson, helped locate the rest of the necessary pipework for the organ. The 27 ranks of pipes, totaling 1709 pipes deployed on 62 speaking stops, come from many notable historical builders, including Austin, M. P. M�ller, Estey, E. M. Skinner, Aeolian-Skinner, Murray Harris, and others. The ivory keyboards in the console are restored from a 1920s-era Skinner console. Other components, including the blower and the swell shades, are also “recycled.” Even the bells of the Zimbelstern were donated. Unfortunately, the pipes from the Washington, D. C., organ that started the project were, in the end, in such a state of deterioration that we were unable to use them in our instrument. Some small wind chests from that organ were rebuilt, however, and are part of this organ.
Of special significance is the labor of St. Thomas members. Countless volunteers helped clean old pipes, traveled to pick up components, unloaded truckloads of parts, painted and stained the organ case, and performed many other tasks. The most extraordinary effort was the construction of the organ case itself. We are deeply and forever grateful to our mastercraftsmen Dan Seegert, Paul Leber, and Stormy Churchill, who invested countless hours of personal time to provide a secure and attractive “home” for the organ. Jim Halvorson fabricated the ceramic tiles, which help link the case visually to the rest of the sanctuary. Other volunteers painted and stained the woodwork. The visual design of the case is the work of John Schwandt, who developed the tonal design of the organ, as well. The exposed pipes of the facade are arranged to suggest the uplifting of hands in prayer. The cross in the middle reminds us that Christ is the center of our faith.
Through the careful and diligent work of the Pipe Organ Task Force and the overwhelming support and participation of the congregation, we have an instrument of exquisite quality for at least a third less money than its new equivalent. Further, since electronic instruments have a life expectancy of 25 years or less, and a pipe organ can, with proper maintenance, last indefinitely, this installation was a very wise use of resources. The St. Thomas organ is better-than-new and is a fine testament to good stewardship, as well as to master craftsmen, both past and present.
The St. Thomas organ was dedicated on February 7, 1999.
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Grand Choeur Triomphale – Alexandre Guilmant
performed at St. Thomas by Andrew Kotylo
February 2, 2007
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