The organ has arrived and brings with it a modification to the interior frontal design of the church designed by a professional architectural firm to accommodate key components of the instrument. A placard currently on display in the Narthex of the Church represents these changes. The organ features the following state-of-the-art characteristics (more information available at Allenorgan.com):
- A movable console consisting of three manuals, AGO standard conclave pedalboard, and 50 Stops (62 stops with optional GeniSys Voices - two stops per division plus four MIDI stops per division) in drawknob configuration
- GeniSys Voicing and Display - advanced touchscreen control providing access to the many functions of a modern console, known as a Vista Navigator or a sequencer; 40 combination action memory levels (and many more via USB drive) to meet the demands of most organ literature and service playing
- 7-Channel Audio System including Antiphonal Division
- Manuals controlled by touch-sensitive Optical Sensor Technology
- Advanced MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) capability in HD with over 250 options including additional organ voices, orchestral, keyboard and percussion voices (a particular favorite are the chimes!)
- Five traditional sound profiles (known as suites) sampling some of the world's most important organ building traditions, including:
Willis - Characterized by Diapasons and weighty reeds, this style of organ building was brought to its height by renowned 19th-century British organ craftsman Henry Willis. Numbered among his greatest works are the organs of St. Paul's Cathedral, London and The Royal Albert Hall.
Cavaillé-Coll - Broad Montrés and dominant fiery reeds are integral parts of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's tonal scheme. The genius of this French organ builder was his creation of the symphonic organ. The "Grande Orgue" became an extension of the orchestra and "a new sound for a new age".
Schlicker - The Schlicker Organ
Company specialized in instruments of Neo-Baroque design supportive of
contrapuntal music. The European heritage of this American organ builder is
readily evident in the sound of their instruments.
Arp Schnitger - A renowned tradition of the 17th century, the Arp Schnitger is a monument of the North-German School of organ building.
Aeolian-Skinner - Under the tonal direction of G. Donald Harrison, this company developed the American Classic tonal design, characterized by firm and articulate principals, bright mixtures and French-style reeds.
We will be utilizing predominately Willis, Cavaillé-Coll, and Aeolian-Skinner for the next few months as these have been the suites best voiced and balanced for our particular space. Giving credit where credit is due, our tonal director is Mr. Stephen Leslie, a sought after organ technician, organist, and pianist originally from Atlanta, GA. Mr. Leslie holds the Bachelor's in Organ Performance from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (1971) and the Masters in Collaborative Piano from Houghton College (2016), a Wesleyan school in western New York. Mr. Leslie has served a number of congregations throughout his career including three Wooster, OH communities: Trinity United Church of Christ, Westminster Presbyterian, and currently Wooster United Methodist Church. Mr. Leslie's career has been dedicated to the ownership of Newton Pipe Organ Services, Inc. and to being the West Coast Representative for Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, OH where he began in 1975. In 1998, he was invited to return to the tonal department as a staff Voicer and Tonal Finisher, a position he held until retirement in December 2013. Recent projects have included and are not limited to the famed E.M. Skinner Opus 634 at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel which boasts 8,565 pipes distributed over 132 ranks, the largest in the state of Illinois. We are honored to have access to Mr. Leslie's expertise and wisdom and we look forward to a continued rapport with him. We are also grateful for the excellent counsel and hard work of Mr. Robert DeMass and the team from Pellegrino Music of Canton, OH who returned to us with a beautiful visualization of our organ space, incorporating the unique area and placement of key components within our elegant and simply stated chambers on either side of the marble and stain glass façade and behind the choir loft.
We are ever so grateful to the boundless generosity of our parishioners, clergy, and Organ Committee for giving of their time and treasure to create a reality of this aspiration. We are very happy to welcome our new organ and cordially invite you to inquire or to join the music ministry for this new chapter in our worship life together as a Parish.
In addition to incorporating the wonderful tradition of repertoire, hymnody, and accompaniment, the organ makes possible a number of new initiatives (and revisiting of old ones) in the area of Concert Ministry and may include such events as choral and instrumental performances, organ recitals and demonstrations, School show-and-tells (brief field days entitled "pedals and pizza") or other children's programs such as Christmas Pageants or a special program for All Souls Day (Halloween), hymn sings, a joint event of the Cleveland Chapters of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and the National Pastoral Musicians Association (NPM), or services to other important events throughout the Liturgical Year. Stay tuned as we move forward with this exciting new project.
Please also check out Patrick's Musings, Music Blog/Links, and Recordings below where our Director of Music will keep you informed on his latest as well as other fun topics related to the musical arts, some of which will relate directly to the organ while others may relate to broader musical issues in dialogue with what we do at SJA.