New Organs

August 1, 2017

Marceau Pipe Organ Builders,

Seattle, Washington, Opus 35

University Lutheran Church, 

Seattle, Washington 

Marceau Pipe Organ Builders has completed their Opus 35, a three-manual and pedal organ of 25 stops, 27 ranks, and 1,714 pipes for University Lutheran Church of Seattle, Washington. The first instrument for this edifice was built by the Reuter Pipe Organ Company in 1954, Opus 1097. It consisted of two manuals, 18 stops, 19 ranks, and 1,358 pipes. An Echo division was later installed by Balcom & Vaughan Organ Builders in 1957, Opus 637. This consisted of two manuals, six stops, six ranks, and 392 pipes. Two consoles were added; the Chancel unit was able to control both locations, and a separate console was placed in the rear balcony to play only the Echo division. This arrangement worked well for a number of years before mechanical and tuning issues began to affect the reliability of the organs.

In 2013, a conversation was begun that would address the status of the existing consoles, the unplayable Echo division, and the obsolete electrical system. After exploring a number of options, University Lutheran awarded Marceau Pipe Organs a contract to build a new three-manual, terraced drawknob console and create an Antiphonal division that would be located on the floor of the balcony, as well as some modest tonal additions to enable this division to function in a variety of musical styles and to stay in tune with the Chancel organ, regardless of the season. In addition to the above details, there was a desire to transform the sounds of both organs from dull and colorless to a brighter, more energetic sound. This was achieved by introducing new pipes for the Great, Swell, and Antiphonal principal choruses along with major re-regulation of the existing reed stops. In addition, the Antiphonal received an 8 Festival Trumpet and an 8Krummhorn; the existing 8 Vox Humana was not retained in this division since the Chancel Swell already contained a stop of this character.

The new console was constructed of solid white oak with the coupler rail and stop tiers of bubinga. The simple elegance of the white oak complements the red-brown appearance of the bubinga. The keyboards feature polished bone naturals and ebony sharps. These console treatments have been an integral element of all Marceau consoles for the past 15 years.

A reading of the stoplist suggests a much more colorful and energetic tonal design. The Great principal chorus is completely new to the organ and includes a much-needed 135 Seventeenth. The Swell 8 Principal was a last-minute addition, replacing the original rank, which was slotted with a narrow, string-like sound. The Antiphonal is the only division with a façade; these 12 pipes are from the 8 Principal. The Pedal 16Principal was extended by 17 notes to become 8Principal II on the Great. The luxury of having four 8 Principals is most effective in a less than supportive acoustic.

The number of flute stops is on the lean side due to space and mechanical limitations. The intent was to finish each stop with a multitude of functions, creating a more versatile result. While it is not an ideal design to derive multiple stops of various pitches from one rank, the various derived mutations (Swell and Antiphonal) work quite well as tonal contrasts to the independent Great mutations. 

There are two sets of strings that work remarkably well and complement each other tonally. Having a set of strings in the Antiphonal again creates a unique location of sound that has a most satisfying result!

The reeds all received extensive revoicing in the shop and regulation on site. Both Swell reeds were opened up to gain color and dynamic capabilities. For greater versatility, the Trumpet is set at 16, 8′, and 4 pitches in the Swell, 8pitch in the Great, and 16, 8′, and 4 pitches in the Pedal. A 32 electronic extension was added as the final dynamic element for the Pedal chorus. The Antiphonal 8Krummhorn is bright, and its location still works well with the Chancel organ. The Antiphonal 8 Festival Trumpet brings a solo reed sound to the organ. Its sound is bright and very present without overwhelming the full ensemble.

The organ was dedicated on October 8, 2016, with a vespers service followed by an organ recital performed by William Bryant.

This was a challenging project in so many ways. Working with an existing pipe organ brings many surprises along the way that could not have been anticipated. We acknowledge the following for their efforts in the many details of this work: Carl Dodrill (Pipe Organ Foundation), Jim Stettner and Michael Way (Puget Sound Pipe Organs), William Bryant, organist of University Lutheran Church, and the staff of Marceau Pipe Organ Builders. These skilled craftsmen took on the many and sometimes difficult challenges of this project with energy and commitment! 

—René A. Marceau 

President/Tonal Director

—Sean Haley

Operations Manager

GREAT Manual II (Unenclosed)

16 Principal (Pedal)

8 Principal I 61 pipes

8 Principal II (Pedal)

8 Concert Flute 61 pipes

8 Rohr Flute (Swell)

8 Gemshorn 61 pipes

4 Octave 61 pipes

4 Nachthorn 61 pipes

223 Quinte 61 pipes

2 Super Octave 61 pipes

135 Seventeenth 61 pipes

113 Mixture III 183 pipes

8 Trumpet (Swell)

8 Festival Trumpet (Antiphonal)


SWELL Manual III (Enclosed)

16 Rohr Bourdon (ext 8) 12 pipes

8 Principal 61 pipes

8 Rohrflute 61 pipes

8 Viola 61 pipes

8 Viola Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4 Spitz Octave 61 pipes

4 Rohrflute (ext) 12 pipes

223 Nazard (from 4 / 2 Rohrflote)

2 Rohrflute (ext) 12 pipes

135 Tierce (from 4 / 2 Rohrflote)

16 Posaune (ext Trumpet) 12 pipes

8 Trumpet 61 pipes

8 Oboe 61 pipes

8 Vox Humana 61 pipes

4 Clarion (from Trumpet)

8 Festival Trumpet (Antiphonal)


ANTIPHONAL Man. I (Enclosed)

16 Gedecktbass (ext) 12 pipes

8 Principal 61 pipes

8 Gedeckt 61 pipes

8 Salicional 61 pipes

8 Voix Celeste (TC) 49 pipes

4 Octave 61 pipes

4 Flute (ext) 12 pipes

4 Salicet (ext) 12 pipes

223 Nasard 61 pipes

2 Fifteenth (ext 4 Octave) 12 pipes

2 Flute (from 4 Flute)

135 Tierce (from Nasard)

113 Mixture III (from Octave & Nasard)

8 Krummhorn 61 pipes

8 Festival Trumpet 61 pipes


Chimes (25 tubes)


32 Untersatz (Antiphonal Gedecktbass)

16 Principal 32 pipes

16 Rohr Bourdon (Swell)

16 Gedecktbass (Antiphonal)

8 Octave (ext) 12 pipes

8 Principal (Antiphonal)

8 Rohrflute (Swell)

8 Gedeckt (Antiphonal)

4 Choralbass (ext 8 Octave) 12 pipes

4 Flute (Swell)

32 Posaune (digital ext)

16 Posaune (Swell)

8 Trumpet (Swell)

8 Krummhorn (Antiphonal)

8 Festival Trumpet (Antiphonal)

4 Clarion (Swell)




Great to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 8

Antiphonal to Pedal 8

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Antiphonal to Great 8

Swell to Swell 16

Swell Unison Off

Antiphonal to Antiphonal 16

Antiphonal Unison Off

Swell to Antiphonal 8


Manual Transfer – Great & Antiphonal


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