The Fred and Ella Reddel Memorial Organ at Valparaiso
The Reddel Memorial Organ
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, of Lake City, Iowa, has completed
rebuilding the Schlicker organ at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.
The organ's usefulness continues to increase as an essential facet of the
university's life. Church music majors in both bachelor's and master's degree
programs discover this instrument's flexibility both as a concert and a
service-playing instrument. Its state of the art technology gives students the
ability to practice in a variety of ways, and the wide spectrum of colors
offers an opportunity to learn about authentic registrations from many periods.
Students and faculty daily rotate on the organ bench,
keeping the organ in use over 12 hours a day. The organ leads worshippers in
song at five services per week, in addition to a weekly organ colloquium,
choral rehearsals, student lessons, practice time and recital preparations. The
organ also takes part in formal academic occasions, as well as choral vespers
services and other concerts during the year.
Since the organ's completion there have been faculty and
guest recitals by John Scott, Martin Jean, John Bernthal, Willim Eifrig, Philip
Gehring, Jeff Weiler, John Ferguson, Wolfgang Rübsam, Uwe-Karsten Gross,
and Lorraine Brugh. In addition, the organ is highlighted annually at the
Liturgical Institute, a conference for musicians and liturgists each spring.
The changes made to the organ will not merely meet the needs
of church musicians and their music today. The organ has been prepared with a
flexibility and variety that will also serve the coming generations of church
musicians and all those who continue to make music at Valparaiso University.
--Lorraine S. Brugh
Kruse Organ Fellow
The Organ Builder's Perspective
The Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University was
designed by Chicago architect Charles Edward Stade. Ground-breaking took place
in 1956 and dedication in 1959, the University's centennial year. Prompted by a
spirit of liturgical renewal, and inspired by modern European religious
buildings and the later works of Frank Lloyd Wright, the chapel, its
furnishings and artwork represent a synthesis unique in American post-war
A significant part of this Gesamtkunstwerk is the Reddel
Memorial Organ. Designed by Paul Bunjes and constructed in 1959 by the
Schlicker Organ Company, the entire organ is placed on platforms cantilevered
from the chapel's west wall. The broad sweep of its façades suggests the
transitional visual designs of Organ Reform builders such as Kemper and Kuhn,
which depended on striking arrays of front pipes in lieu of casework. The
structural daring of the organ, evident in older photographs, has been
diminished by the installation of permanent balcony choir risers, which reduce
the visual impact of the cantilevers.
The original disposition of the organ and its windchests was
unusual. Bunjes described the layout in the January 1960 issue of The Diapason:
"Four of the organs [divisions] are physically and tonally divided, so
that there appear to be two greats, two positivs, two swells and two pedals."
Each division's halves symmetrically flanked the west end's stained glass
window. The left half was denoted on stop tablets as "I", the other
on the right as "II".
From today's perspective, the only department in which this
separation seems guided by a musical purpose is the Swell, which is divided
into a chorus half (principals and trumpets) and a color half (flutes, strings
and solo reeds). For the most part, the lowest-pitched stop in a given division
was placed on one side (I), the next stop in the specification on the other
(II) and so forth until every stop was distributed. This arrangement led to
illogical windchest juxtapositions, which thwarted proper blending. Further,
the great distance between the two halves of each division greatly complicated
The organ's tonal design reflects Bunjes' concept of the
neo-Baroque organ. Had it been completed, the organ would have included 44
ranks of compound stops and mixtures and three regals. Bunjes' eccentric
nomenclature is already in evidence, with stops such as the Brustwerk
"Schnabelfloete" (described in The Diapason as "narrow scale,
cylindrical") and the Swell "Schwegelschwebung" (a two-rank
celeste at 4' pitch). Tellingly, this latter stop, together with the Swell
Gambe and Celeste, are described as "non-functional registers [which]
appear among the open flutes."
The technical details of the instrument mirror its
transitional visual design. Some forward-looking elements representative of
European trends are present, such as pipes of 85% tin, cone tuning and
"nickless" voicing; other features, such as closed toes, the 68-note
compass of the Swell and a plethora of couplers, reflect the influence of the
American Classic style.
Though the organ had served Valparaiso well for many years,
faults were appearing with increasing frequency. The original swell engines and
combination action had been replaced before our involvement. Windchest problems
signaled the need for releathering, and reinforcement was required to arrest
the settling of the façade pipes. Our work touched every major system
and component of the organ, and can be grouped into the following areas: Tonal,
Organizational and Structural, Windchest, Console and Electrical, and Wind
The organ faculty was eager to preserve the character of the
instrument, while desiring to make additions that would expand the versatility
of the instrument without resulting in a pastiche. As the major recital and
teaching instrument on campus, the organ is expected to accommodate every
The Chapel of the Resurrection is a vast space, enclosing
over 1.5 million cubic feet. One sensed a distance in the original instrument,
a curious dullness uncharacteristic of Schlicker's later work (and even
contemporaneous works such as his 1960 instrument at St. Olaf College). Part of
this was undoubtedly a lack of experience working in immense spaces, which are
not always the panacea imagined. More likely, however, is a philosophical
viewpoint articulated by Jonathan Ambrosino as "anti-heroicism": a
reaction to overblown symphonic instruments and a desire to replicate the
intimacy (if not the technical details) found in historic instruments.
Though there were many stop preparations, the principal
choruses of every division, and, for the most part, the flute choruses, were
complete. While providing a not unpleasant sound, they struck the present-day
ear as restrained. It was agreed that the foundations were too light; on the
other end of the spectrum, the Great Mixture in particular seemed dull, thick
and unstable, a trait somewhat shared by the Positiv Scharfmixture. These
mixtures have double choruses, that is, two or more pipes playing the same
pitch. The duplicates were much larger in scale than the primary ranks and had
a fluty, quavering tone. We elected to replace these duplicates with pipes
smaller than the primary pipes. In addition, the Great Aequalprincipal 8' and
Octave 4' were increased in scale by two notes and one note, respectively.
These changes represent the only instances where rescaling or removal of
original pipework occurred. Interestingly, the Swell chorus required only
slight re-regulation; perhaps its encasement and position closer to the ceiling
give it a cohesiveness and point lacking in the other, essentially exposed,
Many preparations were sensible and could be completed. Some
exceptions were made, however. In the Positiv, the planned-for Quintadena 8'
was supplanted by a Principal 8'; the Geigend-regal 4' was exchanged for a
large French Cromorne (named Chalumeau to avoid verbal confusion with the 1959
copper Krummhorn). In the Swell, the place for the Schwegelschwebung was given
to a small-scaled Salicional 8', while the prepared-for Dulzianregal 4' became
a Vox Humana 8'. The Pedal Floetenprincipal 8' was built as a firm but quiet
stopped wood Floetenbass 8', and the ambivalent Gemshorn 8' was revoiced to
emphasize its flute character. Because of weight and space restrictions, the
Grossuntersatz 32' had to be electronic if it was to be present at all; we took
the opportunity to supply an electronic Principal 32' as well.
All pipes were carefully cleaned and repaired. Those
originally cone tuned were fitted with slides, both to preserve the smallest
pipes, and because the general voicing treatment (some loudening and raising of
cutups) required slightly longer pipes. Each set of pipes was re-regulated;
some received more extensive work. Pressures were raised from 3 3/8" to 3
3/4" in the Great, Swell and Pedal; the Positiv was increased from 2
3/4" to 3". In addition, the Trompeta Real and the Bombarde 32' have
been voiced on the yet higher pressure of 4 5/16", made possible by a
slight revision to the wind system.
Because the prepared-for Brustwerk seemed almost an
irrelevancy in such a vast building, and since convincing Brustwerk-like
effects could be obtained from the Positiv, we decided to recast the fourth
manual as a Solo, voiced on 6" pressure. This division contains bold
principals, pairs of strings and harmonic flutes, two solo reeds, and a Cornet
mounted outside the Solo expression box. Like the Swell, this division has 68
Organizational and Structural Issues
The arrangement of the windchests was described earlier. For
architectural reasons, the Swell and Positiv retain their divided arrangement.
Because of the oddly diffuse sound of the Great and to promote tuning
stability, we consolidated the two Greats and two Pedals by moving Great II
into the place formerly occupied by Pedal I, and moving Pedal I into Great II's
former position. Despite these changes and the addition of the Solo, the
organ's visual appearance is unaltered.
The metal façade pipes of the Great and Pedal are
constructed of electrolytic zinc, a much softer material than the handmade zinc
used before WWII. Builders who constructed and supported pipes of new zinc with
the same methods used for old zinc have been embarrassed by collapsing pipes,
since the new zinc requires more robust construction and greater support. At
Valparaiso, some façade pipes have a great amount of overlength that was
not properly supported, causing the tops of the pipes to lean; style="mso-spacerun: yes"> also, the pipes were finished with a
clear lacquer that degraded over time, giving the façade an unattractive
mottled appearance. These pipes were straightened, stripped and repainted a metallic
silver color. We installed additional hooks and racks to hold these pipes
Console and Electrical Issues
In its original state, the organ's console was located in
the gallery somewhat to the right of center. When the permanent choir risers were
installed, the console was moved to its present central position. A new console
that honors Schlicker's original design was constructed. The heavily-worn
original keyboards were replaced by new keyboards of similar design. New stops
required new stop tablets; because Schlicker-style tablets are no longer
manufactured, we made new tablets of quartersawn maple. A Solid State Logic
combination action and MIDI equipment was discreetly added. A performance
recorder utilizing floppy disks has also been provided.
The Schlicker reservoirs have floating-plate tops with
curtain valves; all were restored. Infiltration of untempered air into the
basement blower room from an adjacent mechanical room was eliminated by
extensive caulking, makeup air inlets were enlarged and a humidifier was
installed. The undersized curtain valve in the main static regulator was
All the main windchests built by Schlicker employed that
builder's distinctive "Pitman Chest with Tonkanzelle" design. The pneumatic
pouchboards are mounted vertically on the chest siderails. This design is
similar to those invented by Fleming, Roosevelt and others at the end of the
19th century. Schlicker's goal was to give an individual valve chest something
of the "cushion" offered by the channel (Kanzelle) in a pallet and
slider windchest. All pouches and primaries were releathered. New windchests,
where needed, were built with electro-pneumatic action.
The thinking organ builder who is asked to work on an
existing organ faces many challenges, perhaps more than presented by an
entirely new organ. He must gather his facts and ask difficult questions.
Everything is historic from the moment it is made (time bestows its cachet
without regard), but not everything is historically significant. Can we
correctly judge the significance of our forebears' work? Is it right to alter
this organ, and if so, how far should one go? Will retention of the status quo
honor the past while depriving the organ of a future? We all know organs that
were damaged by thoughtless rebuilding; conversely, some of the world's most
revered organs are themselves rebuilds. Ultimately, it is the builder's
integrity, sense of proportion and good taste that determine the outcome.
Our road was greatly smoothed by the Valparaiso organ
faculty: John Bernthal, William Eifrig, Philip Gehring and especially Martin
Jean. Significant assistance also came from Fred Plant, Valparaiso's Director
of Buildings and Grounds, and Barbara Hoover, Chapel Secretary. The organ
itself is a legacy of these people and many others; succeeding generations of
players and listeners should be grateful for their good spirit and
--John A. Panning
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders
Lake City, Iowa
A Brief History of the Organ
The history of the organ in the chapel at Valparaiso
University begins with plans that were laid for a new campus beginning in the
1940s to replace its original site. The new campus included plans for a chapel,
which were hastened when the original 1892 Auditorium-Chapel burned in 1956.
That $1.5 million structure was destined to be the largest collegiate chapel in
the world, seating some 3,000 people. The edifice was dedicated in 1959 on the
100th anniversary of the founding of the university. Originally called the
Memorial Chapel, it was renamed as the Chapel of the Resurrection in 1969.
Under the direction of Heinrich Fleischer and Theodore
Hoelty-Nickel, planning for an organ began, and Paul Bunjes of Concordia
Teachers College (now Concordia University) of River Forest, Illinois was style="mso-spacerun: yes"> engaged as consultant. The contract was
awarded to the Schlicker Organ Company of Buffalo, New York, and the tonal
design was a collaboration between Bunjes and Herman Schlicker. As originally
envisioned by its designers, the organ was to comprise four manuals, 77
speaking stops, and 101 ranks, not counting two 12-note pedal 32' stop
extensions. It was also largely to have been a straight design, consisting of
69 independent stops, with six borrows and the aforementioned two extensions.
Furthermore, the console provided for a future two-manual and pedal antiphonal
division, the stoplist of which was not determined at the time. (Schlicker was
also subsequently engaged to construct three other pipe organs on campus--a small
two-manual tracker in Gloria Christi Chapel dedicated in 1962, a small
two-manual teaching studio instrument, and a small two-manual practice organ.
Other firms later provided additional practice instruments.)
A gift by Fred and Mazie Reddel of St. Joseph, Michigan in
honor of their parents Fred and Ella Reddel made it possible to initially
construct about two-thirds of the organ. At the time of its dedication on
September 27, 1959 by E. Power Biggs, the organ had only 47 stops and 64 ranks
installed, and was valued at $65,000. In 1962, five additional stops and six
ranks were added--the Great IV Scharf, the Great 8' Trompete, and the Swell 16'
Gedacktpommer, which thus also provided two stops in the Pedal division. These
were made possible by a donation from the E. R. Morris Foundation through the
auspices of Kenneth Merrill of South Bend, Indiana. In 1972, two further stops
and ranks were added--the Swell 8' Schalmei and the Pedal 4' Querfloete. These
were made possible by a gift of Mrs. Walter Gaertner of Farmington, Michigan,
in memory of her husband, and were first used in a recital by Richard Heschke
on April 20, 1972. At that point the organ stood at 54 stops and 72 ranks in
It is also interesting to note that the copper 8' Trompeta
Real, the horizontal reed rank, is not the original pipework in the instrument.
The first set proved to be underscaled, and was taken out and subsequently
installed in the new Schlicker organ of 1962 in St. Luke's Lutheran Church,
Chicago, Illinois. The new set, installed in May 1963, of larger scale,
required more room, so the trebles were "double-decked," whereas the
original pipework had been all on one level.
The physical and tonal design of the instrument was
pathbreaking at the time, since its creation came during the revival of the
neo-classical organ in America. Combined with the striking architecture of the
chapel, the result was a unique visual and aural accomplishment that gave
Schlicker and the university an instrument that drew attention from all over the
world. The organ was illustrated as the only American representation of the
craft of organbuilding as part of the "organ" article in several
editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica over the space of two decades in the
1960s and 1970s, for example.
Split into two large mirrored parts on the rear gallery wall
of the chapel, the design called for the pipework to be placed on numerous
platforms extending out from the wall, divided into tonal groups, but with a
symmetrical facade. Most stops were given "I" (left, or south) and
"II" (right, or north) designations, which could be played and
coupled independently from division to division. The Swell division thus has
two separate expression boxes, which can be independently controlled. The tonal
design of the divisions was to be almost pure "Werkprinzip," with the
Pedal based on a 32' Grossuntersatz (a stopped 16' pipe-based rank, not
installed), the Great on a 16' Principal, the Swell on 8', the Positiv on 4',
and the proposed Brustwerk on 2'. Functionally, however, the facade displayed
only the 16' and 8' ranges of principals. The organ and building design
ultimately dictated that a full 32' open flue rank would never be possible in
the space available.
The organ specifications had been drawn up while the
architectural plans for the chapel were still evolving, and thus the
positioning of the Brustwerk division was also left nebulous. The central
full-length gallery window precluded the installation of that division in
traditional center position, and no chests were constructed. Later ideas that
never came to fruition ranged from creating a "Rückpositiv"
instead on the gallery rail to installing the Brustwerk style="mso-spacerun: yes"> on one of the original platforms. In
addition, various efforts had been made to try to have the organ completed, but
the university deferred such funding to concentrate on other priorities.
Although there were these incomplete features, they did not detract from the
fact that the organ was still capable of having a wide range of literature
played upon it very successfully.
By the 1990s it was clear that the organ needed mechanical
work from the considerable wear-and-tear it received from almost constant use
as a performance and worship instrument, and finally it was possible to
coalesce repair needs, fundraising, and the faculty's desire to finish the
instrument in an appropriate manner into a major impetus that led to the
signing of a contract in 1995 with Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd., of Lake
City, Iowa, for refurbishing and additions to the Schlicker.
The organ was the first large instrument by the Schlicker
firm, and is one of the largest organs ever built by them. It has long been
considered Schlicker's "magnum opus," and is a vehicle of great
integrity in the synthesis of music, art, architecture, and theology in that
worship space. This account, written on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of
the completion of the instrument, is presented as a contribution to documenting
that it is worthy to be designated as both a masterpiece of American
organbuilding and as a truly historically significant pipe organ.
--Michael D. Friesen
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Chapel of the Resurrection
Schlicker Organ Company, 1959
Paul G. Bunjes, Consultant
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, 1996
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Principal
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Aequalprincipal
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Holzfloete*
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Gedacktfloete
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Octave
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Hohlfloete style='mso-tab-count:1'>
22/3' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Quinte style='mso-tab-count:1'>
2' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Octave style='mso-tab-count:1'>
13/5' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Großterz*
V-VII style='mso-tab-count:1'> Mixture 2'
IV style='mso-tab-count:1'> Scharf style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 1'
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Fagott*
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Trompete style='mso-tab-count:1'>
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Klarine* style='mso-tab-count:1'>
I to Great
I to Great 4'
II to Great 16'
II to Great 8'
II to Great 4'
I to Great 8'
II to Great 8'
to Great 16'
to Great 8'
to Great 4'
SWELL (I and II separately expressive)
22/3' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Nasat
13/5' TC II
IV-V style='mso-tab-count:1'> Plein Jeu 11/3' I
I to Swell I 4'
I Unison Off
II to Swell II 16'
II to Swell II 4'
II Unison Off
I to Swell
II to Swell
11/3' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Klein Nasat II
IV-V style='mso-tab-count:1'> Scharfmixture 1' I
Zimbel 1/5' II
I Unison Off
II Unison Off
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Principal*
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Viola*
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Octave*
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Trumpet*
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Clarinet*
to Solo 16'
to Solo 4'
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Holzprincipal
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Kontrabass
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Subbass
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Octave
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Gemshorn
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Floetenbass*
51/3' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Quinte*
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Choralbass
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Querfloete
2' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Nachthorn*
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Posaunenbass
16' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Trombone
8' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Trompete
4' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Kornett
2' style='mso-tab-count:1'> Zink
I to Pedal
II to Pedal
I to Pedal
II to Pedal
* indicates stops added by Dobson in 1996
All Swells to Swell
Great/Positiv Manual Transfer
256 levels of memory
8 Great divisional thumb pistons
8 Swell divisional thumb pistons
8 Positiv divisional thumb pistons
8 Solo divisional thumb pistons
8 Pedal divisional thumb & toe pistons
Great to Pedal Reversible thumb & toe piston
Swell I to Pedal Reversible thumb & toe piston
Swell II to Pedal Reversible thumb & toe piston
Positiv I to Pedal Reversible thumb & toe piston
Positiv II to Pedal Reversible thumb & toe piston
Solo to Pedal Reversible thumb & toe piston
Tutti Reversible thumb & toe piston
4 Crescendo settings (one fixed, three programmable) with
crescendo bar graph indicator
Solid State Logic List System (40 generals, 99 steps)
Solid State Logic MIDI system and performance recorder
MIDI stops not affected by couplers