Cover Feature

January 8, 2016

Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, Hartville, Ohio

Our Lady of Fatima Church, Lafayette, Louisiana 

 

From the organbuilder

When we were first approached by music director Keith D’Anna to rebuild the Hoffman pipe organ at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, we recognized the builder’s work and were familiar with it. The organ is installed in large open chambers at the sides of the sanctuary. Most of the original organ was in the left chamber, quite far away from the choir seating area, making use of the organ with the choir difficult. Unwise changes to the original organ, made largely by hobbyists, needed to be addressed. In addition to rebuilding the organ mechanically, there was the desire to bring parts of the organ closer to the choir loft on the right side of the church as well as transform it into an instrument that was in the style of late Cavaillé-Coll circa 1885, in part to reflect the French heritage of this parish. This was a tall order. Our solution was a complete rethinking of the organ both mechanically and tonally. 

The rebuilding of an existing pipe organ can be the most daunting task for an organ builder. When successful, it can be one of the most rewarding as well, but the path to success can be fraught with peril. Pipe organs built in the United States in the 1960s pose a particular challenge. These organs were usually honest best efforts by builders, but few have stood the test of time. They tend to be excessively light in the bass, thin in the middle, and shrill at the top. Coupled with the change in desires for an instrument that will better support both lay and trained singers, these organs frequently leave congregations wanting. To rebuild an organ and make it into an instrument that will serve well and age gracefully requires the builder to be flexible, finding the assets in the instrument and taking advantage of them while introducing new elements to build a cohesive instrument that meets the needs of the client.   

The original organ was built on electro-pneumatic pitman wind chests. These chests we have rebuilt to new condition. All existing pipes were measured for scale, metal thickness, mouth width and cutup, along with judgments regarding sound. Placed on paper, these measurements were then considered as though the organ were completely new. Existing stops that would fit in the new plan were retained. Those that would not were discarded. Many retained stops were placed in different locations to contribute in a new way. A new expression enclosure was built for the Recit giving more room for additions. Mixtures were recomposed. New pipework was added as appropriate, including new 8 and 4 stops of substantial scale. The Positif was a division that did not fit well into the new scheme, nor did the pipe spacing on the chest lend itself to larger scales. In the end, this division was retained largely intact as a foil for the new Grand Orgue when playing lighter polyphonic works. 

The right chamber was largely empty, which gave us a blank canvas to work some magic. Here are located new Pedal Subbasse and Bombarde stops along with an entirely new Choeur division. The Choeur is located directly behind the choir area with expression shades facing both the choir and nave of the church. The nave shades can be closed when working with the choir to more easily balance the organ with the voices. In order to facilitate choral accompaniments, this division has many stops duplexed onto a floating Bombarde division, effectively providing the organist two manuals of organ resources that are close to the singers. 

The Grande Orgue has rich unisons that easily support the upperwork, which is topped by a Cymbale III. Though three ranks, this last stop is only one pitch partial higher than the Fourniture. When added it brings sparkle without impact. The Grande Orgue’s principal chorus is powerful and dignified. The Flute Ouverte is wood and contrasts nicely with the metal Bourdon. The Bombardes are the largest of the three reed choruses and are shared with the Pedale.

The Recit contains all that might be expected. The principal chorus here is lighter than the Grande Orgue. The strings are narrow in the Cavaillé-Coll tradition. The reeds are bright and fiery. This reed chorus is the brightest of the three in the instrument. The composed cornet here is light and lyrical in contrast to the commanding Grande Orgue Cornet III.

The Choeur has many duties including accompanying most of the choral work. Thus it is designed as a second Recit rather than a typical Choir division. The Gambe is more broad than the Recit Salicional, providing a clear unison line. A wide range of dynamics is available from the mystic Flute Celeste through the Trompete chorus. This reed chorus is the darkest of the three on the organ and has proven to be the workhorse chorus for hymns and choral work. Note that the Gambe also plays at 4 pitch, providing a third level of 4 tone that is between the Principal and the Flute Conique. Such a stop is most welcome when the choir needs a small boost of pitch support when the 4 Principal is more than needed. Also in this division are a strong Harmonic Flute and a Cromorne, both at 8 pitch. The Cromorne is in typical Cavaillé-Coll style, being strong, round, and dark with a slight hint of edge at the center of the tone.

The Pedale is complete with a full principal chorus through Mixture III. It has all the color and power to support the manuals and to dominate when required. Reasonable borrows from the manuals appear here for convenience. The 32 stops are note-by-note recordings of specific stops, not digital recreations. They are kept in balance with the rest of the organ for proper blend.

In the rear of the church is the dramatic Fatima Trompette. This stop is in polished brass with flared bells. It is on 6-inch pressure, which is not excessively high; its position gives it the presence that is needed. The bass is round and tuba-like and grows in point as it ascends. It can be brought into the full organ with the blessing of the congregation yet bring the bride down the aisle with aplomb.

The net result is not a Cavaillé-Coll organ, but a unique instrument that is clearly built by the Kegg company and heavily influenced by late Cavaillé-Coll work. Our Lady of Fatima Church is a gratifying and reverberant space with hard surfaces all around. The organ fills the room evenly throughout the dynamic range. While most at home playing French Romantic works, it is quite capable of playing other styles with conviction. Its ability to support and encourage congregational singing has received much praise. 

We are grateful to Father Michael Russo and music director Keith D’Anna for their support and faith throughout the project. We are also grateful for very special help from Lesha Theriot and John Steinman, whose contributions to the project were invaluable.

—Kegg Pipe Organ Builders

Charles Kegg, President and Artistic Director

Philip Brown

Michael Carden

Cameron Couch

Randall Crawford

Joyce Harper

John Johnson

Philip Laakso

Bruce Schutrum

Dwayne Short 

 

GRANDE ORGUE (II)

16 Violon Basse 73 pipes

8 Montre 61 pipes

8 Violoncelle (ext) 

8 Bourdon 61 pipes

8 Flute Ouverte 61 pipes

4 Prestant 61 pipes

4 Flute a Cheminee 61 pipes

2 Doublette 61 pipes

Cornet III 183 pipes

113 Fourniture IV 244 pipes

Cymbale III 183 pipes

Tremblant 

16 Bombarde (Ped)

8 Bombarde (Ped)

4 Clairon (Ped)

Grande Orgue 16

Grande Orgue Unison Off

Grande Orgue 4

8 Fatima Trompette 61 pipes

RECIT (III, enclosed)

16 Salicional 73 pipes

8 Diapason 61 pipes

8 Flute a Cheminee 85 pipes

8 Salicional (ext)

8 Voix Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4 Prestant Conique 61 pipes

4 Koppel Flute 61 pipes 

223 Nasard 61 pipes

2 Doublette 61 pipes

2 Flute (ext, Flute a Cheminee)

135 Tierce 61 pipes

Plein Jeu III 183 pipes

16 Basson-Hautbois 73 pipes

8 Trompette 73 pipes

8 Hautbois (ext)

8 Voix Humaine 61 pipes

4 Clarion (ext)

Tremblant

Recit 16

Recit Unison Off

Recit 4

8 Fatima Trompette (G.O.) 

CHOEUR (I, enclosed)

16 Bourdon 73 pipes

8 Bourdon (ext)

8 Flute Harmonique 61 pipes

8 Gambe 85 pipes

8 Flute Dolce 61 pipes

8 Flute Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4 Prestant 61 pipes

4 Flute Conique 61 pipes

4 Gambette (ext)

2 Doublette (from Mixture)

2 Flute 61 pipes

1 Piccolo (ext, Gamba)

Mixture IV 244 pipes

Scharf IV (from Mixture)

16 Trompete 85 pipes

8 Trompete (ext)

8 Cromorne 61 pipes

4 Clairon (ext)

Tremblant

Choeur 16

Choeur Unison Off

Choeur 4

8 Fatima Trompette (G.O.)

POSITIF (IV)

8 Bourdon 61 pipes 

8 Cor de Chamois 61 pipes

4 Prestant 61 pipes

223 Nazard 61 pipes

2 Quarte d’Nasard 61 pipes

113 Quinte 61 pipes

Cymbale III 183 pipes

8 Rohr Schalmei 61 pipes

Tremblant

Positif 16

Positif Unison Off

Positif  4

8 Fatima Trompette (G.O.)

Etoile

BOMBARDE (floating)

8 Bourdon (Ch)

8 Gambe (Ch)

8 Salicional (Rec)

8 Flute Harmonique (Ch)

8 Flute Dolce (Ch)

8 Flute Celeste (Ch)

4 Gambette (Ch)

4 Flute Conique (Ch)

16 Bombarde (Ped)

8 Bombarde (Ped)

8 Trompette (Rec)

8 Hautbois (Rec)

8 Cromorne (Ch)

4 Clairon (Ped)

8 Fatima Trompette 

Bombarde on Pedale

Bombarde on Choeur

Bombarde on Grande Orgue

Bombarde on Recit

Bombarde on Positif

PEDALE

32 Principal*

32 Bourdon*

16 Contrebasse*

16 Violon Basse (G.O.) 

16 Subbasse 44 pipes

16 Salicional (Rec)

16 Bourdon (Ch)

8 Octave (1–12 Violon Basse) 32 pipes

8 Subbasse (ext)

8 Bourdon (Ch)

4 Choral Basse (ext)

4 Flute (Ch)

Mixture III 96 pipes

32 Harmonics (derived)

32 Contra Bombarde*

16 Bombarde 85 pipes

16 Trompete (Ch)

16 Basson-Hautbois (Rec)

8 Fatima Trompette (G.O.)

8 Bombarde (ext)

8 Trompette (Rec)

4 Fatima Trompette (G.O.)

4 Clairon (ext)

4 Cromorne (Ch)

* electronic

 

Grande Orgue to Pedale 8

Grande Orgue to Pedale 4

Recit to Pedale 8

Recit to Pedale 4

Choeur to Pedale 8

Choeur to Pedale 4

Positif to Pedale 8

Positif to Pedale 4

 

Recit to Grande Orgue 16

Recit to Grande Orgue 8

Recit to Grande Orgue 4

Choeur to Grande Orgue 16

Choeur to Grande Orgue 8

Choeur to Grande Orgue 4

Positif to Grande Orgue 16

Positif to Grande Orgue 8

Positif to Grande Orgue 4

Choeur to Positif 8

Pedale to Recit 8

 

Grande Orgue to Choeur 8

Recit to Choeur 8

Positif to Choeur 8

 

All Swells to Swell

Choeur Nave Shades Closed

 

Grande Orgue / Choeur Transfer

 

Control system and pedal voices by Virtuoso (IOTI)

30 memory levels per user

Unlimited users

 

63 ranks, 47 stops, 3,691 pipes

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