Cover Feature

Russell & Co. Organ Builders, Chester, VermontZion Lutheran Church,Appleton, Wisconsin From the BuilderThe organ that preceded the new instrument began its life in 1903: a two-manual, 19-rank tubular-pneumatic instrument built by John H. Sole of Fremont, Ohio. The tonal scheme was typical of many late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century instruments, with broad foundations, a well-developed Principal chorus on the Great, colorful flutes, and reeds of the period. Overall quality of the pipework was quite good. It is speculated that the physical layout was also well engineered and provided adequate tonal egress based on other Sole instruments of the period. Sadly, the tubular mechanism was not as robust and was failing by mid-century.In 1946 J. H. McGaw, a former employee of W. W. Kimball of Chicago who relocated to Green Bay, Wisconsin, after Kimball ceased its pipe organ production in 1942, completed a rebuild of the instrument, enlarging it by one rank, but redistributing the resources over three manuals, 36 stops. The physical layout of the organ was changed to accommodate the new supply house electro-pneumatic windchests that occupied considerably more room. A supply house console was also provided. The entire instrument, save one Pedal rank, was enclosed in long narrow expression chambers to regulate the volume, with minimal tone openings at their front. This necessitated very loud and forced voicing of the pipework to create enough sonic energy to escape the confines of its enclosure, adequate in the sanctuary, but unpleasantly loud for the choir singers sitting directly in front of the organ. Much of the Sole pipework was retained, though in some cases repurposed for the new specification. Several ranks were changed to add softer string and celeste sounds to the organ.The organ was repaired, revoiced, and modified in 1980 by J. C. Taylor & Co. with the addition of higher-pitched pipes to add brilliance to the ensemble, ultimately resulting in an instrument of 22 ranks. The organ was further repaired and modified in the mid 1990s. By the turn of the twenty-first century it was evident that the organ’s mechanism was worn out and that a major mechanical and electrical rebuilding would be required. The issues with tonal egress also needed to be addressed.The organ committee of Zion Lutheran Church in conjunction with their consultant, John Schwandt, was determined to do something special for both the church and the community at large. In 2006 proposals were sought from several builders. It was acknowledged that funds for such a project were limited, but their sights were set high. Russell & Co. was selected to build a new organ for the church with the intent of utilizing as much as possible of the best pipework from the old organ. This was both in the spirit of valuing, honoring, and building on the past and recycling for the future. In other words, it was a “green” solution compatible with the faith and tradition of Zion Lutheran Church.During discussions on design and cost in 2007 and 2008, a rare, substantial symphonic organ built by M. P. Möller in 1931 (Opus 6007) located in Elmira, New York, became available. The availability of this instrument changed the direction of the project, leading to a final proposal for a grand instrument founded on the symphonic tradition for Zion Lutheran Church and the Fox Valley.The symphonic organ is all about warmth, color, and blend, with a smoothness and luxury of tone not appreciated for many years. While powerful, the tone lacks harshness, unlike far too many organs built in recent times. At the same time this instrument goes beyond the confines of a purely symphonic instrument and can perform a wide variety of both liturgical and concert music from all periods of history.The Great and Swell divisions have well-developed and blended choruses with an emphasis on foundation tone. In the Great, the original Sole chorus of Principals (8′, 4′, 22⁄3′, and 2′) was reinstated to its rightful place. The pipes of the 8′ and 4′ stops were rebuilt for a cleaner tone. The other ranks were revoiced to the power and tone as they might have been in the early twentieth century. A new Mixture stop of four ranks was added to complete the chorus and add a crowning brilliance to the organ, well suited to the music of Bach and the Lutheran liturgy. The Choir and Solo divisions are more orchestral in nature, full of colorful reed and string ranks. An organ Harp, a percussion stop similar to a vibraphone, crowns the instrument at the top of the upper Solo division. The Pedal division is rich and smooth, providing a solid underpinning for the instrument.Installation of the organ commenced in March 2013 with the first sounds heard in October of that year. As the instrument neared completion at the end of 2015, Zion was able to commission a design for a new gothic-inspired organ case and solicit bids for its construction. Local craftsman Dwayne “Doc” Sultzbaugh was commissioned by Zion to construct the case according to plans developed by Charles Ford of Quimby Pipe Organ Builders (QPO) in conjunction with Stephen Russell. QPO donated the largest façade pipes for the project as well as pipes from the bottom octave of the 32′ Tuba. The smaller façade pipes at the outer two sections are from the original Sole organ façade. The case and final pipework was installed in the fall of 2016.It has been a privilege to see this fine organ unfold from its original conception in our shop drawings to its completion in this historic church sanctuary. We expect it to bring much joy to the congregation, community, and musicians alike.—Stephen J. RussellRussell & Co. Organ BuildersChester, Vermont From the Music MinisterPreserving the past to move forward into the future has been a goal of both Zion Lutheran Church and this organ project. The worship space at Zion dates from 1903 and is a beautiful, classic sanctuary with large stained-glass windows and a glorious main altar. It is fitting that the organ committee and organbuilder created an instrument that harmonizes visually and aurally with its grand surroundings.Zion has long been the congregation that breaks with tradition and strives for something different. This was evident when they installed the Sole organ in 1903, and they continued this tradition with the installation Russell & Co. Opus 57.Since starting my work at Zion in early 2014, I have been able to hear the organ at all stages of the process. From its very early sounds to what graces the sanctuary today, the organ has been a joy to play each week. Stephen Russell has worked so that the organ at its softest sings beautifully, and when the organ is roaring at full capacity, it isn’t screaming at the listener, but rather warmly enveloping the listener in the breadth of sound the organ creates.  It has been an honor and privilege to step into such a momentous organ project. Working with the organ committee upon my arrival, it was clear that this was going to be an instrument unlike the Fox Valley of Wisconsin has ever seen. The vision, dedication, and artistry of our organ consultant, John Schwandt, and organbuilder, Stephen Russell, has helped Zion to ready themselves for a long, continuing, future of music. This instrument is, using Dr. Schwandt’s words, “a blessed gift.” To God Alone be the Glory.—Matthew Walsh, Music MinisterZion Lutheran ChurchAppleton, Wisconsin GREAT – unenclosed16′   Contra-Diapason (ext Pedal 4′ Choralbass)   24  pipes8′  Principal   61  pipes8′  Rohrfloete   61  pipes4′  Octave   61  pipes4′  Nachthorn   61  pipes22⁄3′  Twelfth   61  pipes2′  Fifteenth   61  pipes13⁄5′  Seventeenth   61  pipes11⁄3′  Mixture IV  244  pipesSWELL – expressive16′  Lieblich Gedeckt  24  pipes (ext Koppelfloete)  8′  Open Diapason   61  pipes8′  Bourdon   61  pipes8′  Viola Pomposa   61  pipes8′  Viola Celeste   61  pipes4′  Principal   61  pipes4′  Koppelfloete   61  pipes22⁄3′  Nazard   61  pipes2′  Flautino   61  pipes13⁄5′  Tierce   61  pipes2′  Plein Jeu IV–V  296  pipes16′  Contra-Oboe   73  pipes8′  Trumpet   73  pipes8′  Oboe (ext 16′)4′  Clarion (ext 8′)Tremulant8′  Vox Humana   61  pipesVox TremulantSwell 16Unison OffSwell 4CHOIR – expressive16′  Gemshorn   85  pipes8′  English Diapason   61  pipes8′  Harmonic Flute  49  pipes (1–12 fr Gemshorn)8′  Quintadena   61  pipes8′  Gemshorn (ext 16′)8′  Gemshorn Celeste   61  pipes4′  Gemshorn (ext 16′)16′  Bass Clarinet   73  pipes8′  Tromba   61  pipes8′  Clarinet (ext 16′)Tremulant8′  Tuba (Solo)Harp (Solo)Chimes (prepared for)Choir 16Unison OffChoir 4SOLO – expressive8′  Diapason (unenclosed)  61  pipes  8′  Flauto Mirabilis   49  pipes (1–12 Pedal Open) 8′  Gamba   61  pipes8′  Gamba Celeste   61  pipes4′  Hohlpfeife  61  pipes16′  Tuba Profunda   85  pipes8′  Tuba Mirabilis (ext 16′)8′  French Horn   61  pipes4′  Tuba-Clarion (ext 16′)TremulantSolo 16Unison OffSolo 4SOLO II16′  Gemshorns II (Ch)8′  Koppelfloete (Sw)8′  Gemshorns II (Ch)4′  Gemshorns II (Ch)4′  Rohrfloete (Gt)2′  Gemshorn (Ch)16′  Vox Humana (TC) (Sw)8′  Tromba (Ch)8′  Trumpet (Sw)8′  Oboe (Sw)8′  Clarinet (Ch)8′  Vox Humana (draws Trem) (Sw)Harp   61  notesChimes (prepared for)ZimbelsternSolo II is unaffected by couplersPEDAL32′  Contrabass (resultant)32′  Contra-Bourdon (resultant)16′  Open Wood Diapason (25–32 Solo Flauto Mirabilis)   24  pipes16′  Contra-Diapason (Gt)16′  Subbass   32  pipes16′  Lieblich Gedeckt (Sw)16′  Gemshorn (Ch)8′  Diapason (Solo)8′  Bourdon   32  pipes8′  Lieblich Gedeckt (Sw)8′  Gemshorn (Ch)4′  Choralbass   32  pipes4′  Nachthorn   32  pipes22⁄3′  Mixture V  48  pipes (draws 4′ Choralbass)32′  Contra Tuba (ext 16′) 12 pipes32′  Fagotto (Harmonics)16′  Tuba Profunda (Solo)16′  Contra-Oboe (Sw)16′  Bass Clarinet (Ch)8′  Tromba (Ch)8′  Trumpet (Sw)4′  Tromba-Clarion (Ch)4′  Clarinet (Ch)Chimes (prepared for)Pedal DividePedal Silent COUPLERSGreat to Pedal 8Swell to Pedal 8Swell to Pedal 4Choir to Pedal 8Choir to Pedal 4Solo to Pedal 8Solo to Pedal 4 Swell to Great 16Swell to Great 8Swell to Great 4Choir to Great 16Choir to Great 8Choir to Great 4Solo to Great 16Solo to Great 8Solo to Great 4 Swell to Choir 16Swell to Choir 8Swell to Choir 4Solo to Choir 16Solo to Choir 8Solo to Choir 4  Swell to Solo 16Swell to Solo 8Swell to Solo 4Great to Solo 8 SELECTED ACCESSORIESAll Swells to SwellHidden MIDI control panel with lighted pistonsMIDI on Solo 1, 2, 3MIDI on Swell 1, 2, 3MIDI on Great 1, 2, 3MIDI on Choir 1, 2, 3MIDI on Pedal 1, 2, 3 49 ranks, 2,825 pipes Builder’s website: website:

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