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Cover Feature: Quimby Pipe Organs, First United Methodist, Athens, GA

September 20, 2021
Quimby Opus 77
Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., Opus 77

First United Methodist Church of Athens, Georgia, is home to the newest instrument by Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., of Warrensburg, Missouri. The four-manual, 68-rank pipe organ, Opus 77, was created through the collaboration of Michael Quimby, president and tonal director, and T. Daniel Hancock, former president and designer, Quimby Pipe Organs; James F. Mellichamp, president and professor of music, Piedmont College, Athens, Georgia, consultant; Stephen Mitchell, director of music; and Janis Maxwell, organist.

The instrument is designed primarily to fulfill its first job of leading worship and then to serve a variety of musical functions. The tonal design is not intended to copy any one particular school or period of organbuilding; however, Michael Quimby does draw his inspiration from the great builders of the past, such as Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, Father Willis, Ernest M. Skinner, and the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company, as well as renowned English organbuilder T. C. Lewis, among many others. His goal is to build an instrument with its own identity and character that will embrace the needs of the client and to provide an instrument that not only serves as a recital instrument but can also be used in the wide variety of musical genres found in the worship practices of the twenty-first century.

The tonal concept of this instrument was carefully conceived and notably avoids the redundancies that are often found in large organs. Each stop is designed and voiced to provide sounds that not only work well within the ensemble but are also intriguing and beautiful on their own, making the organ tonally diverse, while at the same time cohesive and easy to register.

The instrument is unusual in a number of ways. First, it has four enclosed divisions. Second, the 32′ and 16′ Pedal reed stops and all other manual 16′ reeds are full length. Third, the instrument contains certain features of the symphonic style of organ that were sought after in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Michael Quimby and his team have striven to play a leading role in reviving and developing this style of building over the last two decades. Fourth, departing from the symphonic tradition, each division of the instrument, excluding the Solo, contains a completely developed Diapason chorus. This has proven to increase the versatility of the instrument in classical, romantic, and symphonic styles of music. One thing that sets these Diapason chorus ranks apart is the unusual use of substantial metal thicknesses incorporating antimony and trace elements for stability. Over the last twenty-five years Quimby Pipe Organs has discovered that using thicker metal allows the pipework to be voiced to its full potential—for stability in pipe speech and achieving the optimum in harmonic development.

Another feature is the chorus of trumpets and orchestral reeds, including the Tuba, French Horn, Oboe, English Horn, and Corno di Bassetto, all voiced by head reed voicer, Eric Johnson. Of particular interest are two contrasting solo reeds, the Tuba in the Solo division and the Hooded Trumpet in the Antiphonal division, voiced on twenty inches wind pressure and ten inches wind pressure, respectively. Over his many years of study Eric has developed a technique and sound that sets him apart as one of the premier reed voicers in the world today.

Mechanically, Quimby instruments feature the use of our version of the Blackinton slider windchest, distinguished by a pneumatic pallet design and absence of slider seals, allowing for the flue pipes in each division to speak without the “explosive attack” experienced by individual valves since each note shares a common note channel with the other ranks. The reed ranks, Solo, Pedal, and offset pipes are on electro-pneumatic, pouch-style windchests.

As with most instruments, the console is seen as the crown jewel of the installation. Made of solid mahogany, in the Aeolian-Skinner style, with walnut drawknob jambs, coupler rails, and accents, the console incorporates the Virtuoso control system, provided by Integrated Organ Technologies of Alpharetta, Georgia. The solid mahogany case, designed by T. Daniel Hancock, and built by Southern Elegance Custom Cabinetry of Crawford, Georgia, incorporates design features from both the existing grillwork and the sanctuary, achieving an aesthetically elegant display. Located in the twin chancel façades are notes 1–21 of the Great 16′ Double Open Diapason and notes 1–12 of the Pedal 8′ Octave.

It is with great gratitude that Quimby Pipe Organs wishes to thank all of those at First Methodist who made their stay in Athens an enjoyable one: Chuck Hodges, senior pastor; Dave Walton, business administrator; Bob Winstead, executive director of administration and project manager; Steven Mitchell, director of music; Janis Maxwell, director of youth music; Ron Young, facilities manager; and all those in the congregation who showed the love of Christ by supplying treats and meals throughout the installation.

On Sunday, August 1, Joe Russell, a student of both Alan Morrison of the Curtis Institute of Music and Ken Cowan of Rice University, began his tenure as associate director of music ministries and organist. Bradley Welch played the inaugural recital on Sunday, August 29, after a one-year delay due to Covid restrictions. The recital was live-streamed and is available on the church’s website: athensfirstumc.org/.

Current associates of Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., who took part in the construction and installation of this instrument include Michael Quimby, Eric Johnson, Chris Emerson, Dan Sliger, Brian Seever, Chuck Ford, Chirt Touch, Anthony Soun, Bailey Tucker, Mahoney Soun, Joseph Nielsen, Kevin Kissinger, Ruth Anne Parrott, Dwight Parrott, Joe Lambarena, and Jim Schmidt.

—Chris Emerson, Administrative Assistant, and Daniel Sliger, Project Lead


Builder’s website: quimbypipeorgans.com/

Church’s website: athensfirstumc.org/


Cover photo: Chris Emerson

Other photos: Chris Emerson and Daniel Sliger


Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc.

208 Marshall Street, P. O. Box 434

Warrensburg, MO 64093

GREAT–Manual II, unenclosed

16′ Double Open Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Open Diapason 61 pipes   

8′ Hohl Flute 61 pipes

8′ Violoncello 61 pipes

4′ Octave 61 pipes

4′ Stopped Flute 61 pipes

2-2⁄3′ Twelfth 61 pipes

2′ Fifteenth 61 pipes

1-3⁄5′ Seventeenth 61 pipes

1-1⁄3′ Mixture IV 244 pipes

16′ Double Trumpet (Swell)

8′ Trumpet 61 pipes

8′ Tuba (Solo)

8′ Tromba (Pedal)

8′ Hooded Trumpet (Antiphonal)

Chimes 25 tubes

Great to Great 16-UO-4

SWELL–Manual III, enclosed

16′ Contra Gamba 73 pipes

8′ Open Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Stopped Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Viola da Gamba (ext 16′ Contra Gamba)    

8′ Voix Celeste (CC) 61 pipes

4′ Octave 61 pipes

4′ Harmonic Flute 61 pipes

2′ Super Octave (from Mixture IV–V)

2′ Mixture IV–V 252 pipes

16′ Double Trumpet 61 pipes

8′ Trumpet 61 pipes

8′ Oboe 61 pipes

4′ Clarion 61 pipes


Swell to Swell 16-UO-4

CHOIR–Manual I, enclosed

16′ Gedeckt 73 pipes

8′ Geigen Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Chimney Flute (ext 16′ Gedeckt)

8′ Erzähler 61 pipes

8′ Erzähler Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4′ Principal 61 pipes

4′ Night Horn 61 pipes

2-2⁄3′ Nazard 61 pipes

2′ Flageolet 61 pipes

1-3⁄5′ Tierce 61 pipes

1′ Mixture III–IV 191 pipes

16′ Contra Fagotto 73 pipes

8′ Fagotto (ext 16′ Contra Fagotto)


8′ Corno di Bassetto (Solo)

8′ Tuba (Solo)

8′ Hooded Trumpet (Antiphonal)

Choir to Choir 16-UO-4

SOLO–Manual IV, enclosed

8′ Harmonic Flute 61 pipes

8′ Gamba 61 pipes

8′ Gamba Celeste 61 pipes

8′ Corno di Bassetto 61 pipes

8′ English Horn (GG) 56 pipes

8′ French Horn 61 pipes


16′ Double Trumpet (Swell)

16′ Contra Fagotto (Choir)

8′ Fagotto (Choir)

8′ Tuba 61 pipes

8′ Tromba (Pedal)

8′ Hooded Trumpet (Antiphonal)

Solo to Solo 16-UO-4

Chimes (Great)

ANTIPHONAL–Manual IV, enclosed

8′ Open Diapason 61 pipes

8′ Lieblich Gedeckt 61 pipes

8′ Flauto Dolce 61 pipes

8′ Flute Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4′ Octave 61 pipes

2′ Fifteenth 61 pipes


8′ Hooded Trumpet 61 pipes

8′ Tuba (Solo)

Antiphonal to Antiphonal 16-UO-4

PEDAL–10 ranks, unenclosed

32′ Double Open Wood Diapason (Resultant, 10-2⁄3′ stopped pipes and 16′ Open Wood) 12 pipes

32′ Contra Bourdon 56 pipes

16′ Open Wood Diapason 44 pipes

16′ Open Metal Diapason (Great)

16′ Bourdon (ext 32′ Contra Bourdon)

16′ Violone 44 pipes

16′ Gedeckt (Choir)

16′ Contra Gamba (Swell)

8′ Open Bass (ext 16′ Open Wood)

8′ Octave 44 pipes

8′ Bourdon (ext 32′ Contra Bourdon)

8′ Violone (ext 16′ Violone)

8′ Erzähler (Choir)

8′ Gedeckt (Choir)

4′ Super Octave (ext 8′ Octave)

4′ Solo Flute 32 pipes

2-2⁄3′ Grave Mixture II 64 pipes

1-1⁄3′ Sharp Mixture II 64 pipes

32′ Contra Trombone 85 pipes

32′ Harmonics VII (derived)

16′ Trombone (ext 32′ Contra Trombone)

16′ Double Trumpet (Swell)

16′ Contra Fagotto (Choir)

8′ Trombone (ext 32′ Contra Trombone)

8′ Trumpet (Swell)

8′ Fagotto (Choir)

8′ Oboe (Swell)

8′ Clarion (ext 32′ Contra Trombone)

8′ Fagotto (Choir)

8′ Tuba (Solo)

ANTIPHONAL PEDAL–1 rank, enclosed

16′ Bourdon 44 pipes

8′ Octave (Antiphonal 8′ Open Diap)

8′ Bourdon (ext 16′ Bourdon)



Great to Pedal 8

Great to Pedal 4

Swell to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 4

Choir to Pedal 8

Choir to Pedal 4

Solo to Pedal 8

Solo to Pedal 4

Antiphonal on Pedal 8

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Swell to Great 4

Choir to Great 16

Choir to Great 8

Choir to Great 4

Solo to Great 16

Solo to Great 8

Solo to Great 4

Antiphonal on Great 8

Swell to Choir 16

Swell to Choir 8

Swell to Choir 4

Solo to Choir 16

Solo to Choir 8

Solo to Choir 4

Great to Choir 8

Pedal to Choir 8

Antiphonal on Choir 8

Solo to Swell 16

Solo to Swell 8

Solo to Swell 4

All Swells to Swell

Combination Action

Great Organ divisional pistons 1–8

Swell Organ divisional pistons 1–8

Choir Organ divisional pistons 1–8

Solo Organ divisional pistons 1–8

Antiphonal Organ divisional pistons 1–8

Pedal Organ divisional pistons 1–8 and 1–8 toe studs

General Pistons 1–12 (duplicated on toe studs) and 13–18 pistons only

Next Piston Sequencer: 3 pistons and 1 toe stud

Previous Piston Sequencer: 3 pistons and 1 toe stud

Set Piston

General Cancel Piston

Crescendo & Expression

General Crescendo pedal, 60 positions, three adjustable and one standard

Swell expression pedal

Choir expression pedal

Solo expression pedal

Antiphonal expression pedal


Great to Pedal - thumb and toe paddle

Swell to Pedal - thumb and toe paddle

Choir to Pedal - thumb and toe paddle

Solo to Pedal - thumb and toe paddle

Swell to Great - thumb and toe paddle

Choir to Great - thumb

Swell to Choir - thumb

32′ Contra Bourdon - thumb and toe paddle

32′ Contra Trombone - thumb and toe paddle

Sforzando - thumb and toe paddle

Manual Transfer - thumb and indicator light


Great Organ 14 ranks

Swell Organ 15

Choir Organ 14

Solo Organ 7

Antiphonal Organ 7

Pedal Organ 10

Antiphonal Pedal Organ 1


Total number of ranks 68

Total stops 97

Total pipes 3,867

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