Pipe Organs of La Grange, Illinois, and the Architectural Edifices That House Them Part 5: Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod

June 6, 2018

Stephen Schnurr is editor and publisher of The Diapason, director of music for St. Paul Catholic Church, Valparaiso, Indiana, and adjunct instructor in organ for Valparaiso University. His most recent book, Organs of Oberlin, was published in 2013 by Chauncey Park Press (www.organsofoberlin.com). He has authored several other books and journal articles, principally on pipe organ history in the Great Lakes region.

This article is a continuation of a feature in the August 2015, June 2016, July 2017, and February 2018 issues of The Diapason. This article was delivered as a lecture for the Midwinter Pipe Organ Conclave on January 19, 2015, in La Grange, Illinois. The research for this project provides a history of a number of pipe organs in the village, but not all. For instance, organs in residences and theaters are not surveyed.

 

This church traces its first meeting to May 30, 1886. On September 19 of that year, the congregation dedicated a building for worship and educational use on a parcel of what had been farmland owned by Louis Sieling. One week later, the congregation was formally organized. The Reverend John Strieter of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Proviso (now Hillside), commuted on Sunday afternoons to conduct services. Reverend Alex Ulrich was called as first resident pastor in 1893, remaining until his retirement forty-eight and a half years later.

In 1894, Saint John Church built a new edifice on the present property, across the street from the location of the first services. The frame building of Gothic influence cost $8,500, and was crowned with a bell tower and bell. Dedication occurred on September 30. In 1911, Saint John assisted in the formation of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Hodgkins, and Saint John’s original church building was moved there for the daughter congregation’s use. Services were conducted in German until 1928, when alternation of German and English became the practice. German was dropped in 1943.

On April 30, 1967, ground for the present church was broken and the cornerstone was laid, with dedication ceremonies occurring on Founders’ Day, September 26, 1968. The architect was Harold A. Stahl, a noted architect of Lutheran churches in the Chicago metropolitan area.

In 1940, the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois, installed a new organ in the 1894 church, part of a $20,000 remodeling project. The specification was dated April 6. The building and organ were dedicated on October 6, 1940. Opus 2138 was a two-manual organ of eleven ranks, 630 pipes. Wind pressure was four inches.

 

1940 Wicks Organ Company Opus 2138

GREAT (Manual I, Enclosed)

8 Open Diapason (scale 42, 73 pipes)

8 Claribel Flute (“regular,” 85 pipes)

8 Violoncello (scale 54, 73 pipes)

8 Dulciana (scale 56, 85 pipes)

4 Octave (scale 56, 73 pipes)

4 Flute (ext 8 Claribel Flute)

4 Dulcet (ext 8 Dulciana)

223 Dulciana Twelfth (ext 8 Dulciana)

2 Dulciana Fifteenth (ext 8Dulciana)

Tremolo

Chimes (Deagan, 134, 21 tubes)

1 blank tablet

SWELL (Manual II, Enclosed)

16 Lieblichbourdon (97 pipes)

8 Violin Diapason (scale 47, 73 pipes)

8 Stopped Flute (ext 16Lieblichbourdon)

8 Salicional (scale 60, 85 pipes)

8 Voix Celeste (TC, scale 60, 61 pipes)

4 Violina (ext 8 Salicional)

4 Flute d’Amour (ext 16Lieblichbourdon)

8 Cornopean (“must be smooth more like Horn,” 73 pipes)

8 Oboe (synthetic)

8 Vox Humana (“in separate box,” 61 pipes)

Tremolo

1 blank tablet

PEDAL

16 Sub Bass (“extra large,” 44 pipes)

16 Lieblichbourdon (fr Swell)

8 Bass Flute (ext 16 Sub Bass)

8 Still Gedeckt (fr Swell 16)

8 Cello (fr Great 8 Violoncello)

1 blank tablet

 

Couplers

Great to Pedal

Great to Pedal 4

Swell to Pedal

Swell to Pedal 4

Great to Great 16

Great Unison Silent

Great to Great 4

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Swell to Great 4

Swell to Swell 16

Swell Unison Silent

Swell to Swell 4

 

Combination pistons

3 Master pistons (thumb and toe)

3 Great pistons and Cancel

3 Swell pistons and Cancel

3 Pedal pistons and Cancel

General Cancel

Pedal to Great pistons on/off

Pedal to Swell pistons on/off

 

Accessories

Great to Pedal reversible

Balanced Swell expression shoe

Balanced Great expression shoe

Balanced Crescendo shoe

Sforzando reversible (thumb and toe, with indicator)

Wind indicator

 

In 1968 and 1969, Wicks moved the organ to the present church, adding sixteen ranks, naming the project Opus 4862. The organ was first used on Easter Day, 1969. Ronald Hauser, then organist of Saint John Church, presented a dedicatory recital on September 28 of that year. New ranks are marked with an asterisk below.

 

1967 Wicks Organ Company Opus 4862

GREAT (Manual I)

8 Principal (61 pipes)*

8 Concert Flute (61 pipes)

8 Gemshorn (61 pipes)*

8 Dulciana (73 pipes)

4 Octave (61 pipes)*

4 Koppelflöte (61 pipes)*

4 Dulcet (ext 8 Dulciana)

223 Twelfth (61 pipes)*

2 Fifteenth (61 pipes)*

III Mixture (183 pipes)*

8 Trompette (fr Sw, 8)

Chimes (21 tubes)

SWELL (Manual II, Enclosed)

8 Geigen Principal (61 pipes)

8 Gedeckt (61 pipes)

8 Salicional (73 pipes)

8 Voix Celeste (TC, 49 pipes)

4 Principal (61 pipes)*

4 Violina (ext 8 Salicional)

223 Nasat (61 pipes)*

2 Blockflöte (61 pipes)*

135 Terz (TG, 37 pipes)*

8 Trompette (73 pipes)*

8 Oboe (61 pipes)*

4 Clarion (ext, 8 Trompette)*

Tremolo

PEDAL

16 Diapason (44 pipes)*

16 Subbass (56 pipes)

16 Lieblich Gedeckt (44 pipes)

8 Principal (ext 16 Diapason)

8 Bass Flute (ext 16 Subbass)

8 Still Gedeckt (ext 16 Lieb Ged)

8 Violoncello (44 pipes)

4 Choralbass (44 pipes)

4 Octavflote (ext 16 Subbass)*

4 Cello (ext 8 Violoncello)

2 Super Octave (ext 8 Choralbass)

16 Posaune (56 pipes)

8 Trumpet (ext 16 Posaune)

4 Clarion (ext 16 Posaune)

 

Couplers

Great to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 8

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Swell to Great 4

Swell to Swell 16

Swell Unison Off

Swell to Swell 4

 

Combination pistons

5 General pistons

5 Great pistons and Cancel

5 Swell pistons and Cancel

5 Pedal pistons and Cancel

General Cancel

 

In autumn 2000, the church formed a committee to investigate updates and improvements to the 1969 organ. John Behnke was selected as consultant. In July 2001, the church authorized the Berghaus Organ Company of nearby Bellwood to rebuild the organ into a three-manual instrument with a new console. Some pipework was added, with some existing pipework repaired or replaced, beginning in autumn. Dedication ceremonies for the completed organ occurred on February 9, 2003. The organ now consists of forty-three ranks, fifty-seven stops, 2,562 pipes. Manual chests are of sixty-one notes. Later in 2003, Berghaus replaced the Great 8 Principal and 4 Octave with new pipes of 75% tin.

 

2002–2003 Berghaus Organ Company rebuild of 1969 Wicks Opus 4862

GREAT (Manual II)

16 Gedackt (Sw)

8 Principal (61 pipes)***

8 Concert Flute (61 pipes)*

8 Gemshorn (Sw)

8 Gemshorn Celeste (Sw)

8 Dulciana (61 pipes)*

4 Octave (61 pipes)***

4 Nachthorn (61 pipes)***

223 Twelfth (61 pipes)**

2 Fifteenth (61 pipes)**

III Mixture (113, 183 pipes)**

8 Trompete (new [17] and old [56] pipework, 73 pipes)

8 Solo Trumpet (61 pipes)***

Chimes (tenor A through soprano F, 21 tubes)*

Zimbelstern

Swell to Great 16

Swell to Great 8

Swell to Great 4

Positiv to Great 8

MIDI 3

MIDI 4

SWELL (Manual III—Enclosed)

16 Gedackt (73 pipes)*

8 Geigen Principal (61 pipes)*

8 Gedackt (ext 16)

8 Salicional (61 pipes)*

8 Voix Celeste (TC, 49 pipes)*

8 Gemshorn (61 pipes)**

8 Gemshorn Celeste (TC, 44 pipes)***

4 Principal (61 pipes)**

4 Rohrflöte (61 pipes)**

223 Nazard (61 pipes)**

2 Blockflöte (61 pipes)**

135 Tierce (TG, 37 pipes)**

III Plein Jeu (2, 183 pipes)***

8 Trompette (73 pipes)**

8 Oboe (61 pipes)**

4 Clarion (ext, 8 Trompette)

Tremulant

8 Solo Trumpet (Gt)

Swell to Swell 16

Swell Unison Off

Swell to Swell 4

MIDI 1

MIDI 2

POSITIV (Manual I)

8 Gedackt (61 pipes)***

8 Gemshorn (Sw)

8 Gemshorn Celeste (Sw)

4 Principal (61 pipes)***

4 Koppelflöte (61 pipes)***

2 Hohlflöte (61 pipes)***

113 Larigot (61 pipes)***

II Sesquialtera (122 pipes)***

III Scharf (1, 183 pipes)***

8 Krummhorn (61 pipes)***

Tremulant

8 Solo Trumpet (Gt)

Swell to Positiv 16

Swell to Positiv 8

Swell to Positiv 4

MIDI 5

MIDI 6

PEDAL

32 Resultant (Subbass at 16 and 1023 pitches)

16 Diapason (68 pipes)**

16 Subbass (44 pipes)*

16 Gedackt (Sw)

8 Principal (ext 16 Diapason)

8 Bass Flute (ext 16 Subbass)

8 Violoncello (44 pipes)*

8 Gedackt (fr Sw 16)

4 Choralbass (32 pipes)*

4 Octavflöte (ext 16 Subbass)

4 Cello (ext 8 Violoncello)

2 Super Octave (ext 16 Diapason)

16 Posaune (ext Gt 8 Trompete)

8 Trompete (fr Gt 8 Trompete)

4 Trompete (fr Gt 8 Trompete)

8 Solo Trumpet (Gt)

Great to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 8

Swell to Pedal 4

Positiv to Pedal 8

MIDI 7

MIDI 8

 

* 1940 Wicks pipework

** 1967 Wicks pipework

*** 2003 Berghaus pipework

 

Accessories

8 General pistons (thumb and toe)

5 Great pistons (thumb)

5 Swell pistons (thumb)

5 Positiv pistons (thumb)

5 Pedal pistons (thumb and toe)

Great to Pedal reversible (toe)

Swell to Pedal reversible (toe)

Positiv to Pedal reversible (toe)

Swell to Great reversible (thumb)

Positiv to Great reversible (thumb)

Swell to Positiv reversible (thumb)

General Cancel (thumb)

Full Organ (thumb and toe)

Up/Down (thumb)

Restore (thumb)

Setter button (thumb)

Zimbelstern reversible (toe)

Balanced Swell expression shoe

Balanced Crescendo shoe (16-stage indicator)

Crescendo selector

Zimbelstern delay (rotating dial)

Zimbelstern speed (rotating dial)

Zimbelstern volume (rotating dial)

Chimes volume (rotating dial)

MIDI tuning (rotating dial)

99-level memory

Wind (indicator light)

 

Right selector board, above Manual III:

Registration sequencer

Manual transfer

Positiv to Great Auto Solo

Positiv to Swell Auto Solo

Great to Positiv Auto Solo

Great to Swell Auto Solo

Solo to Positiv Auto Solo

Swell to Great Auto Solo

Solo tp Solo

PC Pedal Great

PC Pedal Swell

PC Pedal Positiv

 

Left selector board, above Manual III:

Memory Select

Multi Midi

Midi Reg Off

Midi Mem Off

Midi Mem 1

Midi Mem 2

Midi Mem 3

Midi Mem4

Transposer

Reg Seq

Recall

Setup

Alt

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