Musical Instruments of St. John's
The Sanctuary Organ
Austin 1930 Op. 1775 / Morel 2002; III/47
The main organ of St. John’s Episcopal Church was completed in 2002 by Morel and Associates of Denver, Colorado. It consists of three manuals and pedal, with 49 ranks, 63 stops, and 2,613 pipes. The artisans included:
Rick Morel, Owner and Voicer
Todd Evers, Ray Whipple, Dan Jones
As a result of financial trouble during the Great Depression, the church’s original Austin pipe organ (1930, Op. 1775) was never completed. The console was built to accommodate future additions (particularly the entire choir division and an expansion of the pedal division), but the project languished. Since 1950, parish organists attempted to have the instrument completed and updated. The original Austin pipe work was complemented by a few significant additions. These included a Mixture III in the Swell division, a Principal 2’ in the Great division, and a few other modifications. The result after seven decades was an amalgamation of different organist’s interpretations of what the instrument needed, all done by different organ builders, throughout several philosophical “eras” of organ building. As the console, pipe valves, combination action, reservoirs and wind chests became more and more unreliable, it became clear that something serious needed to be done.
In 1998 Principal Organist Brian du Fresne began extensive efforts to educate the congregation, staff and vestry on the need for significant changes (up to and including full replacement of the instrument). The decision to update and enlarge the organ and the momentum it caused within the congregation led to the development of a church-wide multi-million dollar capital improvement campaign. This effort included improvements and enlargement of the Parish Hall, additional classrooms, a new kitchen and other facilities, and additional support to the pipe organ. That commitment – and the efforts of the entire Organ Committee – helped the church complete the entire project. The members of the Organ Committee were:
Richard Collins, Chair
Brian du Fresne, Principal Organist
Tom Morgan, Director of Music
Bea Hoverstock, Kurt Matthies, Mike Rowe, Jan Squier
In 2001, all of the pipes were removed and taken to Denver to the workshop of Morel and Associates. Major construction began which included removing walls and installing girders to support the weight of the new cantilevered divisions over the choir stalls. All of the pipe work was cleaned and voiced to eliminate irregularities; the reservoirs and pipe racks were rebuilt; the switching systems were entirely replaced. An entirely new Great division of twelve stops was installed. The exposed cantilevered pipes includes all the Great division and some of the Pedal division. What was originally the Great division became the new Choir division. The remaining divisions received an additional ten stops throughout. The surrounding casework and the console were beautifully custom-built to match the existing church decor. The Morel firm built a magnificent fully-customized console with a state-of-the-art combination action, a digital recorder, and variable crescendos and tuttis. The console is prepared for an additional eleven ranks of pipes to be installed on the back wall of the balcony on either side of the Pentecost window.
The end result of all this work is a beautiful, complete, eclectic pipe organ capable of reproducing works from any historical or stylistic period. It plays regularly for weekly services in the church, as well as many funerals and weddings, and it is used as a concert instrument by musicians around the metropolitan area and beyond. The organ was dedicated and inaugurated in 2002. The performers included Brian du Fresne, David Vogels, Tony Lee, and Doug Eaton, representing forty years of St. John’s previous and current music directors and organists.
32 Subbass (dig. 12, Open Diap.)
COUPLERS and ACCESSORIES
Unison off, Sub-octave and Super-octave couplers in each manual
Prepared for Antiphonal division of 12 stops (7 manual, 5 pedal)
10 General Pistons
32 Divisional Pistons
Set / Cancel
99 Levels of Memory
Previous / Next
Full Organ, 4 programmable levels
Crescendo, 4 programmable levels
Digital MIDI Recorder
Two-way indicator signal
Full-size desk drawer under Choir manual
The Chapel of the Holy Family
Johannus Sweelinck 27PE/SP33; II/48
St. John’s chapel organ is a Johannus Sweelinck 27 Platinum Edition digital instrument. Its appearance and tonal palette is enhanced by the addition of Johannus’ unique SP-33 pipe façade. Complementary woodwork matching the instrument’s case, as well as subtle lighting behind the organ, make for a stunning addition to the beauty of the Chapel of the Holy Family. It was dedicated and inaugurated in 2014.
32 Contra Violone
The Harps of St. John’s
The Music Program currently owns three small harps: the Alexander Zacharia Lewis memorial harp (a 31-string lever harp), the Russell R. Morgan memorial harp (a 26-string lever harp) and a Sharpsicle lap harp (26 strings). The Sharpsicle is a student training instrument, and is currently being played by a St. John's 3rd grade student. The harps provide a wonderful musical ministry to St. John's parishoners in hospitals and nursing homes.
The Pianos of St. John’s
St. John’s Episcopal Church also houses several pianos that have been donated to the church throughout the years. The most frequently used pianos are in the Choir Room and in the Parish Hall.