Cover Feature

New Organs

Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri

First United Methodist Church, Jackson, Michigan

From the organ builder:

In 1996, I was contacted by the First United Methodist Church in Jackson,
Michigan about their desire to hear and examine one of our instruments. We
arranged to meet with representatives of their organ study committee and
consultant Dr. Albert Bolitho at St. John's Lutheran Church in Decatur,
Illinois, where we had just finished the installation of a three-manual organ.
A few weeks later, I was invited to come to Jackson and inspect their 1922
Austin organ. It became apparent that multiple repairs in recent years had not
prevented the ongoing decay of this instrument and that it was doomed to fail
within a short time. The organ study committee engaged in many lengthy
discussions and much soul searching before determining that their organ must be
replaced. Subsequently, I was asked to prepare a proposal for a new instrument.
Further study by the committee brought about a recommendation to the
congregation for a renovation of the church sanctuary and chancel in order to
enhance their worship space and provide an optimum setting for the proposed new
organ. On November 22, 1998, my firm received the commission to build a new
organ for the First United Methodist Church.

1. Casework

The free-standing organ case is based on classic European design and
complements the existing Gothic Revival architecture of the 1870 sanctuary.
This attractive neo-Gothic styled organ case, made out of stained oak,
complements the furnishings of the sanctuary. The case blends and focuses the
organ sound into the room. The Violon 16' and Principal 8' pipes, made from
polished tin, are located in the fa?ßade. The height of the tallest pipe in the
fa?ßade is approximately 20 feet. The Great and Pedal divisions are unenclosed
while the Swell and Choir divisions are under expression. The Great and Pedal
divisions are at the same elevation as the fa?ßade pipes. The Choir division is
located below the fa?ßade pipes of the Great division and behind the ornamental
grillework. The Swell is at the same elevation as the Great and sits behind in
its own case, flanked by the larger tin pipes of the Pedal.

2. Wind Chests

Slider chests were used for the entire organ, except for the offset chests.
Slider chests provide a cohesive sound because all pipes of the same pitch
stand above the same wind channel. Since these pipes are from different stops,
but are receiving the same wind, they are able to blend and enhance the ensemble
of the instrument. Because a choir has many voices that blend into tone sound,
church music (i.e., hymn singing, choral anthems) requires an instrument that
enhances a blending of the human voice. The slider wind chests complement
choral and congregational singing.

3. Action

The organ primarily uses electric pull-down action. Some of the larger pipe
ranks are located on offset wind chests and use electro-pneumatic action.

4. Console

The console features French-style curved terraced stop jambs in cherry wood;
it is detached from the main organ case and is movable, providing flexibility
in various arrangements of the choir and instrumentalists. The solid state,
multi-level combination action allows different organists to save their stop
combinations in separate "file folders." The console has a MIDI
interface connection. This interface can record a player's performance and give
an authentic playback as well as preserve important performances. This, too, is
also an aid for the organist in deciding the registration.

5. Tonal Design

The organ is designed to lead congregational singing, accompany the choirs,
and play the various styles of organ literature. All four pipe families
(principal, flute, string and reed) are well represented. The Great division,
with its grand principal chorus, is the foundation of the entire instrument.
The Swell division, in French style, gives a romantic attribute to the
instrument, while the Choir division provides softer accompanying stops and
solo voices. A stop of special note is the Choir's 11/7' Septime, which adds an
interesting color not available on most organs. The Dolce Celeste 8' from the
previous Austin organ was retained in the Choir.

The reed family is well represented. The Festival Trumpet 8' is mounted
horizontally to project the sound to the congregation and is the strongest reed
in the organ. The Trumpet 16' and 8' on the Great are designed to blend with
the Great principal chorus. The Swell reeds are built in the French Romantic
style. They provide color but do not stand out as much as the festival Trumpet.
The bold Krummhorn 8' and lush English Horn 8' of the Choir division are solo
stops and can be used to highlight a melody. The harmonic flutes in the Swell,
one made of cherry wood and the other in tin, provide an interesting tonal
color. Harmonic pipes are purposely overblown so that the pitch sounds an
octave higher than normal. This produces a clear, transparent sound, similar to
a transverse flute.

The Pedal and Swell divisions were installed early in 2002. The main case,
containing the Great and Choir divisions, was shipped and installed in August
of 2002. Voicing of the instrument was completed in November 2002.

The following people participated in the building of this organ:

Alexander I. Bronitsky

William Dunaway

Hans-Ulrich Erbsl??h

Eileen Gay

Donna Hodges

Alex D. Leshchenko

Richard Murphy

Earl C. Naylor

Martin Ott

Sascha Ott

Jeff Spitler.

We wish to express our gratitude to Timothy Meunier, director of music
ministries, organists Brian Buehler and Laurie Meunier, the members of the
organ building/sanctuary renovation committee and its chairman Earl Poleski,
Rev. Ed Ross and the members of the First United Methodist Church for awarding
us this commission and creating a fine environment for this instrument. We
especially thank Dr. Albert Bolitho for facilitating the organ building
process. His consultation, suggestions and support were most helpful. Having
worked with him previously on the organ for First Congregational Church in
Battle Creek, we were happy to work with him again.

Extensive electrical wiring in the organ was completed by our colleague Dick
Houghten. We are thankful that he could be a part of this project. Acoustician
Scott Riedel and architect Lincoln Poley contributed to the success of this

--Martin Ott

From the organ consultant:

It has been a pleasure to work with the organ committee and building
committee throughout the planning and decision process that has led to the selection
of this wonderful new pipe organ. The people on the committee were very
conscientious and they dedicated countless hours in study and discussion, not
to mention trips to visit organs in other churches.

Preliminary discussions centered upon evaluating the old 1922 Austin,
acoustics of the church, placement of choirs and liturgical appearance of the
chancel, and future musical needs of the church. From these discussions a
"vision" for the future was developed that concentrated upon the organ
but also included acoustics and liturgical architecture. The committee began
serious study of organ construction and design. After several visits to other
churches and listening to many pipe organs, the committee requested selected
builders to bid on a carefully designed three-manual specification. After much
serious thought, the committee unanimously recommended that Martin Ott be
selected to build the new organ.

The new organ was designed principally to be a liturgical instrument. As
such, it has a full complement of tonal resources to lead congregational
singing, accompany voices or instruments and to play solo organ literature. Two
very quiet stops noted for their ethereal sound were retained from the old
organ to provide for meditative moments. There are beautiful flutes throughout
all divisions of the organ; some are bass flutes and used in the Pedal, some
are on the manuals to be used as solo voices or for accompaniments, and some
are pitched very high near the limits of human hearing. The organ has an abundance
of reed voices; some are colorful stops for solo effects, such as the Krummhorn
and English Horn on the Choir division or the Hautbois on the Swell division.
Some are ensemble voices used to provide rich timbre, such as the 16' or 8'
Trumpet on the Great division or the Bombarde, Trompette and Clairon on the
Swell division. The 16' Trombone in the Pedal division provides a sturdy bass
for the whole organ. For the discriminating organist, there is a complete
Principal chorus on each manual and a complete Principal chorus for the Pedal

The organ boasts some unique features such as a high-pitched 11/7' Septime
on the Choir division, Cornet combinations located on the Choir and Swell
divisions and a 32' Bourdon. Crowning the entire ensemble and located at the
top of the organ behind the center tower are the horizontal pipes of the
Festival Trumpet, a stop that will find much use for congregational singing and
wedding processions.

The fa?ßade of the organ was designed to architecturally complement the
hammer beam ceiling and other woodwork in the sanctuary. Its artistic design
and impressive appearance accentuate the height and grandeur of the room and
also demonstrate the craftsmanship of the Martin Ott organ firm. The console,
with its elegant keyboards and wood finish, incorporates solid state switching
that enables the organist to change registrations quickly. Stops are placed on
either side of the keyboards, thus making it possible for the console to have a
low profile.

The instrument is a distinguished addition to other significant organs in
Michigan and surrounding states and will undoubtedly attract considerable
attention among churches, organ aficionados and organists. Truly the church has
been blessed with a beautiful instrument that will enhance worship both now and
far into the future.

--Dr. Albert Bolitho

History of the Pipe Organs at First United Methodist Church

In 1869, prior to the completion of the present sanctuary, the congregation
of the Jackson Methodist Episcopal Church contracted with the J.H. & C.S.
Odell organbuilders of New York to build an organ for the new church. The new
organ, Opus No. 86, was shipped to Jackson in early February 1870 and installed
in time for the church dedication on Sunday, February 13, 1870. On the following
Saturday, February 19, the congregation hosted a dedicatory recital played by
Elihu Cooley, Esquire. The organ was a mechanical action one-manual instrument
consisting of 12 stops and was housed in a handsome Gothic Revival case with
stenciled pipes. The cost of the organ was assumed by the church's Ladies'
Society. This organ faithfully served the growing congregation for the next 51

In 1921, the congregation embarked on a major renovation and expansion of
the church facilities. Along with a remodeled chancel and choir loft, the
sanctuary was expanded to the north with the addition of a larger balcony. The
Odell organ was replaced with a new electro-pneumatic action instrument built
by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The Austin organ, Opus
No. 1043, consisted of 3 manuals and 29 ranks of pipes. The organ was dedicated
on October 12, 1922 with a recital by Francis Mackay, organist of St. Paul's
Cathedral, Detroit. In later years, chimes were added to the organ and in 1973
the Austin firm revoiced the instrument with the addition of 7 new ranks of
pipes and replacement of most 1922 pipework. This organ was sold to the Temple
Organ Company in January 2001.

Unless indicated otherwise, photos are by John Woodring (copyright © John
Woodring Photography), member, National Press Photographers Association and
Professional Photographers of Michigan.

Martin Ott Opus 97

First United Methodist Church,

Jackson, Michigan

61 ranks, 56 stops


16'           Violon* style='mso-tab-count:1'> 61            75%

8'              Principal
               61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Violon
(ext)*       12 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Chimney
Flute   61            40%

4'              Octave
                  61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

4'              Spire
Flute           61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            40%

22/3'       Twelfth
61            75%

2'              Fifteenth
               61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

11/3'       Mixture
IV‚ÄìVI   330         75% tin

16'           Trumpet* style='mso-tab-count:1'>               61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Festival
Trumpet*             61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Trumpet style='mso-tab-count:1'>                 61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%



SWELL (Enclosed)

16'           Bourdon*
(ext)  12            oak

8'              Bourdon* style='mso-tab-count:1'>              61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            40%

8'              Fl?ªte
Harmonic                   61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            cherry

8'              Viol
di Gamba   61            75%

8'              Voix
Celeste (TC)             49 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

4'              Principal
               61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            60%

4'              Fl?ªte
Harmonic                   61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            40%

22/3'       Nazard
61            75%

2'              Nachthorn style='mso-tab-count:1'>            61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            40%

13/5'       Tierce
  61            75%

2'              Mixture
IV‚ÄìV     268 style='mso-tab-count:1'>         75%

16'           Bombarde*
(1‚Äì12 L/2)   61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Trompette
           61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Hautbois style='mso-tab-count:1'>                61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

4'              Clairon
61            75%


CHOIR (Enclosed)

8'              Violin
Diapason                  61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Stopped
Flute    61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            cherry

8'              Dolce
Celeste II                110 style='mso-tab-count:1'>         Austin

4'              Principal
               61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

4'              Chimney
Flute   61            40%

2'              Octave
                  61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

22/3'       Sesquialtera
II 112         40%

11/3'       Larigot
61            40%

11/7'       Septime
                61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            40%

1'              Scharff
IV             224 style='mso-tab-count:1'>         75%

8'              Festival
Trumpet               (Gt) style='mso-tab-count:1'>        

8'              Krummhorn
        61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              English
Horn      61 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%



32'           Bourdon* style='mso-tab-count:1'>              12 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Austin

16'           Principal* style='mso-tab-count:1'>              32 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

16'           Violon

16'           Subbass* style='mso-tab-count:1'>             32 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            Austin

16'           Bourdon

8'              Octave
                  32 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

8'              Violon

8'              Gedeckt style='mso-tab-count:1'>                 32 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            40%

8'              Bourdon

4'              Octave
                  32 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            75%

4'              Bourdon

22/3'       Mixture
IV           128 style='mso-tab-count:1'>         75%

16'           Trombone* style='mso-tab-count:1'>          32 style='mso-tab-count:1'>            pine

16'           Bombarde

8'              Trumpet

4'              Clairon


Swell to Great 16' & 8'

Choir to Great 8'

Swell to Choir 8'

Choir to Choir 16'

Choir Unison Off

Choir to Choir 4'

Great to Pedal 8' with reversible thumb & toe pistons

Swell to Pedal 8' with reversible thumb & toe pistons

Choir to Pedal 8' with reversible thumb & toe pistons

Choir to Pedal 4' with reversible thumb & toe pistons

*An asterisk indicates electro-pneumatic action.

Combination action with 100 levels of memory:

Gt            1-2-3-4-5-6

Sw           1-2-3-4-5-6

Pos         1-2-3-4-5-6

Ped         1-2-3-4-5-6
& toe

General                  1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
& toe

Cancel thumb

Set          style="mso-spacerun: yes"> thumb

Tutti        thumb
& toe


Crescendo pedal

Adjustable bench (by crank) and back rest


Power indicator light

MIDI interface

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