October 2020 TAO Feature Article

The Liturgical-Symphonic Organ, or A Tale of Two Austins St. John Vianney Catholic Church Houston, Texas • Austin Opus 2798 Connelly Chapel, DeSales University Center Valley, Pennsylvania • Austin Opus 2800 By Michael B. Fazio     Background Many of us remember the American Classic tonal concept as espoused by Aeolian-Skinner and others. It was born of the Orgelbewegung (also called the Organ Reform Movement) that began in Europe during the 1920s. Coming across the pond, it was tempered by American sentiments. Each major builder had their own take on the idea; while some considered it as simply a marketing scheme, others assumed the mantle proposed by the movement with unwavering devotion. G. Donald … [Read more...]

September 2020 TAO Feature Article

Boston Avenue United Methodist Church Tulsa, Oklahoma Foley-Baker Inc. • Tolland, Connecticut By Mike Foley We were working in Tulsa when I spotted a unique Art Deco building standing tall at the end of the city’s princely Boston Avenue. It looked like a small version of the Empire State Building. I was told it was Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, designed by a most talented local artist and teacher, Adah Robinson. It opened in 1929 and indeed was meant to look as strikingly strong and elegant as it does. The interior is very large, with meeting rooms and offices everywhere, including the senior pastor’s at the top of the tower. The focal point is the 1,358-seat sanctuary-in-the-round, accessed by a spectacular narthex. … [Read more...]

August 2020 TAO Feature Article

Our Lady of Czenstochowa Church Coventry, Rhode Island Kegg Pipe Organ Builders • Hartville, Ohio By Charles Kegg   Each pipe organ we build brings something new to our table. Of course each instrument is different from any other we have built, but the relationship we have with Brian Mattias, director of music and organist at Our Lady of Czenstochowa Church, is also unique. Brian is an organbuilder, service technician, and owner of Potter-Rathbun Organ Company in Cranston, Rhode Island. He is active in the American Institute of Organbuilders, and I have known him for many years. Brian sees and hears new pipe organs from builders from all over the world at our annual conventions and had an unusually broad perspective when … [Read more...]

July 2020 TAO Feature Article

Irvin Boudreaux Practice Organ Baton Rouge, Louisiana Nolte Organ Building • Milwaukee, Wisconsin By John M. Nolte Every successful organ project begins with a dream or vision. The maxim attributed to Thomas Edison is also true: “Vision without execution is just hallucination.” Irvin Boudreaux’s vision of his own practice instrument began when he was a private student of Warren Hutton at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. The most popular practice organ on campus was the 1974 Holtkamp two-manual and pedal tracker with three 8' ranks: Manual I Rohrflöte, Manual II Copula, and Pedal Pommer. There were no stops or couplers, just 154 pipes to help you learn your music. Irvin thought about this off and on for a number of years. … [Read more...]

June 2020 TAO Feature Article

First Cumberland Presbyterian Church Chattanooga, Tennessee Allen Organ Company • Macungie, Pennsylvania by Jeff Ayers Stop List   When entering the Woodmore neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tennessee, observers will notice a large stone Gothic structure with soaring heights and stunning architecture. Upon walking into First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, you will immediately notice the 70-foot-tall brick walls, stone floor, hand-painted ceiling, and the organ, strikingly flanked by stained glass windows and pipework. For more than 40 years, Bruce Clark has served as the organist at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1980, he oversaw the installation of the 48-rank Fratelli Ruffatti pipe organ that originally included … [Read more...]

May 2020 TAO Feature Article

The Renovation of the Christ (Crystal) Cathedral Organ Garden Grove, California Fratelli Ruffatti Padova, Italy Stop List 1 Stop List 2 By Francesco Ruffatti What an exciting journey! The story started in 1970, when our firm was contacted by Richard Unfried, the organist of the Garden Grove Community Church in Garden Grove, California. Negotiations began for the manufacturing of a very large five-manual instrument. It was to be installed in a building that, in addition to being a formal sanctuary, was also used as a drive-in church, featuring large glass doors overlooking the parking lot, making it possible for people to follow Dr. Robert Schuller’s service from their cars. The contract for a new organ was signed in May … [Read more...]

April 2020 TAO Feature Article

Wesley United Methodist Church Muscatine, Iowa C.B. Fisk Inc. Opus 153 Stop List By David C. Pike In January 2018, C.B. Fisk was, for the first time in its 57-year history, commissioned to replace a church organ that had been destroyed by an act of God. On March 6, 2017, a tornado swept through downtown Muscatine, Iowa, a small industrial city on the banks of the Mississippi River. During its brief, circuitous path through town, the tornado’s 115-mile-per-hour winds toppled the tall masonry chimney of Wesley United Methodist Church. The chimney’s stone-work came crashing down onto the roof over the pipe organ chamber. The roof collapsed, and in the blink of an eye Wesley’s 1983 four-manual 94-rank pipe organ, the largest … [Read more...]

March 2020 TAO Feature Article

The Cathedral of Christ the King Superior, Wisconsin Glück Pipe Organs • New York City Stop List By Sebastian M. Glück   From the time that the Cathedral of Christ the King was dedicated on Christmas Day of 1927, the goal of building a suitable pipe organ had been elusive. The neo-Romanesque structure and its campanile are built upon a raised platform and stand nobly against the Wisconsin sky. Romanesque churches feature thick masonry walls with small windows that encourage ample reverberation, yet 1937 witnessed the carpeting of the sanctuary and the installation of sound-absorbing materials covering the ceiling and the upper walls of the nave, annihilating reverberation. In recent decades, the choir, accompanied by a … [Read more...]

February 2020 TAO Feature Article

Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe Orlando, Florida Schoenstein & Co.• Benicia, California View the Stop List   The Tonal Perspective The tonal design opportunity here was truly grand—plenty of well-placed space for each division and a stoplist large enough to face no compromises. The challenge, as always, was making a good acoustical match. Even a “perfect” acoustic must be carefully matched to make full use of its quality. The Basilica is built on the plan of the original fourth-century St. Peter’s in Rome, but, of course, it is made of modern materials. The size and shape encourage a wonderful openness and short, but pleasing, reverberation. The clarity is quite wonderful. The frequency … [Read more...]

January 2020 TAO Feature Article

Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Norfolk, Virginia Casavant Opus 2734, Renovated by Foley-Baker Inc. Stop List by Mike Foley Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church has long been noted for its music. In 2012, Kevin Kwan became the director of music and organist and in just a few years lifted the program to yet new heights. The church opened in 1910 with a 50-rank Austin which, after a massive fire, was replaced with a replica instrument. This organ fell victim to water and wear over time and was replaced in 1963 with Casavant’s 68-rank Opus 2734. At the time, it was a fine example of America’s mid-century outlook on tonal design. However, as with so many other churches, the ever-changing ear of the organ world did not … [Read more...]