Anderson Memorial Pipe Organ
The first pipe organ in the current church building was a Jesse Woodberry three manual tubular-pneumatic instrument with a magnificent façade, whose pipes swooped under the north rose window; the side-playing console finding close proximity to the central pulpit in the grand Akron-style sanctuary.
It was common for many American churches from the mid-19th century through early 20th century to often replace an entire pipe organ with a new (or larger used) pipe organ, every generation or so. By the mid-1920’s, the late 19th century (then prototype) “modern” 1894 playing system and its patented register action (controlling the movement of the stops) began to fail and the need for a new pipe organ was met by the commission of a new instrument from the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut.
The Anderson Memorial Pipe Organ- Austin’s Opus 1406- was dedicated in 1926 and is the second pipe organ to be housed in the Sanctuary. The chancel was reconfigured at this time and the new console moved to the center of the north side of the Sanctuary. Its austere non-speaking pipe façade is concentrated in the center of the instrument, in front of the north rose window.
The three manual electro-pneumatic instrument’s enclosed divisions, speaking through wood grilles, are found to the left (Swell) and right (enclosed Great and Choir) of the rose window, the unenclosed Great found under the rose window, and the Pedal division splitting remaining space inside the wide expanse of the central organ case.
Under the guidance of Minister of Music Dr. Robin Dinda, FAGO (1989-99), a new Austin console was designed, prepared, and installed for future expansion of the instrument with a new Solo division, additional stops on other divisions, MIDI capabilities, and a multi-level memory system. This state-of-the art console was dedicated in 1996 to the memory of Claudia Rae Young and will comfortably serve the playing needs of the instrument well into the 21st century.
As time moves forward, certain stops/pipes of the organ have been removed or altered to the tastes of the time. The Swell (with the exception of a single stop) and the Pedal division are completely original to the 1926 instrument. The Choir division being mostly original: is foreseen for restoration to its complete 1926 specification, with some judicious upper-work additions to the overall instrument. The Great division’s missing original solo flute and string stops are on the future agenda for restoration as well.
In 2007, a new principal chorus was added to the Great division – replacing non-original upper-work additions to the Great from the 1970’s and replacing two of the original 1926 Great stops. The current three manual/36 rank instrument provides a powerful music presence in worship services: leading hymns, accompanying choirs, and allowing ample color resources for organ literature of all periods. In addition to its fiery harmonic reeds, specialty color stops like the Swell Vox Humana, Choir Harp and Chimes are signature voices on this Austin instrument.
In late 2014, the Anderson Memorial Organ was removed from The First Church, for a substantial restoration and tonal expansion. Austin Organs, Inc. of Hartford, CT (the organ’s original builder) will return the organ to its original 1926 specification using existing and vintage pipework, while judiciously adding upper-work to each division in the style and voicing of the instrument’s original era. The resulting three-manual instrument over six divisions will include a new floating Solo division, bringing the tonal resources of the organ to 60 ranks, and ca. 4,063 pipes.
Austin Organs, Inc. and The First Church is pleased to collaborate on this historic renovation project. Completion is slated for Fall 2015.
The coming specification of the instrument (Fall 2015) will be:
|2-2/3′||Nasard||(original 8′ Echo Salicional)|
|8′||Vox Humana||(separate tremulant)|
|All Swells to Swell|
Standard 8-4 pedal couplers
12 General, 10 Swell, 8 Great, 8 Choir, 4 Solo pistons
Gt/Enc Gt/Sw/Ch to Pedal in separate toe studs as well; 4 Ped divisional studs
Tutti controls (piston & stud)
Ventil controls (Reeds or Mixtures)
300 levels of memory
Transposer, Clock, Playback System
Chime dynamic controls
Bridal (HCTB) Indicator
Solo – nave shades on/off
Solo – chancel shades on/off
Previous / Next controls for sequential registrations
Enclosed Great/Choir – Swell – Solo expression pedals
Register Crescendo (programmable)
Digital General display & LED displays for expression pedals and select controls