Maybe you’ve noticed – our fabulous EM Skinner organ is singing again! After some vital repair work was done last May, the organ stayed unused for many months as an electrical concern was being figured out. And although we are blessed with a quality piano, Voices, drums, guitar, a Hammond electric organ, and numerous guest musicians, it was still a sad thing for this unique and grand instrument to sit silent.
Here are a few facts about the organ that you may find interesting:
EM Skinner (Ernest Martin Skinner,) the designer and manufacturer of our organ, was one of the most successful and widely esteemed American pipe organ builders.
Our organ is an early and rare example of EM Skinner’s brilliance, and remains largely intact.
About 750 Skinner organs were built, but currently less than 100 survive in anything like their original condition.
Some famous Skinner organs exist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NY, and the Washington Cathedral.
Every organ has its own Opus number – ours is number 299, revealing that it was built in 1919.
Our organ has four Manuals! (keyboards), and full Pedals.
Our organ occupies many spaces in the church! It is the original Surround Sound!
The Console, with its keyboards, pedals and stop controls, is in the front to the left.
Above the console is the Left Chamber, housing pipes for one of the keyboards and the pedals.
Across from the console is the Right Chamber, housing pipes for two more of the keyboards.
In the back of the church is the Rear Gallery, which contains the Tower section of 292 working pipes.
In a closet in the hallway is the instrument’s electro-pneumatic switching
And in the basement is the newly rebuilt blower and power supply.
Altogether, the organ has thousands of pipes, several wind chests, and the ability to create music from a booming crescendo to a well supported singing accompaniment to a gentle whisper.
It is my great pleasure to have this instrument to play, and we are richly blessed to be the custodians of it, caring for it as we are best able, and weekly receiving the blessing of music from its complex orchestra!