Cover feature

Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders, Inc., Denver, North Carolina
Media Presbyterian Church, Media, Pennsylvania

From the senior pastor
If one were to remove all that was sacred from the library of the great music of the Western world, one would be left with a very empty room. And while beautiful music certainly has merit in and of itself, that which is written sola gloria Dei has accompanied the faithful saying their prayers for nearly two millennia. The pipe organ has been at the center of this sacred enterprise for nearly half that time and is undergoing a kind of renaissance in our time. The Elizabeth Strine Memorial Organ is a wonderful instrument that represents the merging of the ancient mechanical art of organ construction with the new cutting edge of digital technology. This is an analogy of what Chesterton called the “romance of orthodoxy,” which is the timeless truth of the gospel heard anew in the language and thought world of every age. This beautiful instrument and renovated steeple are a renewed affirmation of a commitment to proclaim the good news of God’s reconciling work to this community and the world. It also says that we plan to continue saying our prayers at Media Presbyterian indefinitely.
This organ would not exist without the generous contribution of Walter Strine and his family in loving memory of their wife and mother, Elizabeth Strine. Elizabeth Margaret Sterling Strine faithfully served Media Presbyterian Church as organist for over 35 years. A Media High School and Philadelphia Conservatory of Music graduate, “Betty” was both an accomplished accompanist and a renowned piano and organ teacher who taught thousands of Delaware County students. A professional leader who helped to expand our area’s performing arts scene, she served as the first female president of the Media Community Concert Association and was later instrumental in developing the Media Theatre for the Performing Arts. Mrs. Strine died September 7, 2002 at the age of 94. The first question of the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Confession of Faith asks “What is the chief end of man'” to which is answered: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” May this organ be a tool by which this present and future congregations enjoy and glorify God as we move towards eternity.
The Reverend William L. Borror

From the organ task team chair
Our former pipe organ was an instrument put together from several sources. It started life as a turn of the twentieth century orchestral transcription player for the Bock family mansion in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, built by the former Aeolian Company of Boston, Massachusetts. At that time, pipe organs were home entertainment systems for the wealthy. Although it had two manuals and pedals, it was never intended to be a church instrument. In the mid 1930s this instrument was acquired by Media Presbyterian Church and installed in the sanctuary’s front upper right hand chamber. The organ console was attached to the front wall beneath the chamber. To its side was seating for the choir. It served until about 1961, when the organ and choir were relocated to a larger space in the back gallery.
The relocated gallery organ was enlarged to three manuals by a local organ builder. A new console was fabricated by Austin Organs, Inc. of Hartford, Connecticut. Additional pipes and components from various unknown sources were incorporated into the instrument. Concurrently, a small Echo division consisting of five pipe ranks remained in the upper front chamber. Although this instrument served the church until February 2006, it was tonally deficient and incapable of creating a proper sound for worship and meditation. Three years ago, senior pastor Rev. William Borror requested that an organ task team be formed as part of the church capital campaign. The seven-person team assessed the former instrument’s condition and studied remediation alternatives. A busy two years followed, whereby the team considered the church’s musical requirements, studied proper organ design and tone, solicited proposals, and listened to and evaluated typical instruments by each builder. In an April 2006 presentation to the Session, the organ task team recommended that a new instrument be designed and built by Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders of Denver, North Carolina.
The new Zimmer organ, Opus 94, is a three-manual and pedal instrument comprising 96 stops, derived from 23 pipe ranks and 63 digital ranks. The solid walnut console controls five divisions: Great, Swell, Choir, Chancel and Pedal, and has 107 drawknobs, 21 tilting coupler tabs, tracker touch keyboards, an abundant multi-level combination capability to assist with stop registration, and full MIDI capability. The two-tone casework with walnut trim and gold accented pipes harmonizes with the sanctuary’s architectural themes. All new pipes were fabricated in the Zimmer shop or by Luc Ladurantaye of Canada. In addition, selected Aeolian pipe ranks from our former organ were refurbished, rescaled where applicable, and revoiced. The recycled pipes blend perfectly with the other new pipe ranks. All voicing and tonal finishing was done by the Zimmer staff.
The organ’s digital equipment was engineered by Walker Technical Company of Zionsville, Pennsylvania. Thanks to digital technology, we were able to acquire a more versatile organ than if we had adhered to an all-pipe instrument. Due to lack of space, an all-pipe instrument of this same specification would be impossible to install in the gallery.
The tonal orientation of our new organ is based on the American Classic design. Fundamentally, this instrument will allow the organist to perform music of all periods and play it in style. Due to the broad range of music performed in our church, the American Classic tonal design best fulfills our purposes. Upon examination of the stop specification, one can discover fully developed principal and flute choruses, an abundance of solo and chorus reed stops, and multiple celeste ranks. Also included are chimes, a harp and a zimbelstern. The twelve-stop chancel division is a self-contained organ designed to supplement the main gallery organ and provide accompaniment for small vocal ensembles. Hence, after 155 years of existence, Media Presbyterian Church now has an organ specifically designed for its sanctuary.
This new organ would not have happened had it not been for the very generous gift by Walter M. Strine, Sr. Given in memory of his wife, Elizabeth, longtime organist at Media Presbyterian Church and teacher of many piano students, this new instrument enables Media Presbyterian Church to enhance its worship and better serve the cultural community. We thank Cornel Zimmer and his highly talented staff for designing and building this fine organ. Their expertise and work ethic enabled the project to proceed very smoothly. We are grateful for this new relationship with the Zimmer organization.
Special thanks to the organ task team members who gave their time and skills to work with me and address the many questions and concerns that come with such a project: Martha Harriz, Harry Tully, Richard Zensen, Scott MacDonald, and Beth Kalemkarian. During the project, we mourned the loss of Don Harriz, team member and longtime choir member, who would have thoroughly rejoiced at the completion of this project. Additional thanks to the senior craftsmen who did a masterful job in preparing the back gallery to accommodate the new instrument. Special thanks to Michael Trinder, friend and organist colleague, who reviewed the specifications and contributed helpful suggestions. Thanks also to Art Kalemkarian, Jr. (BSEE) for his consultation on electrical and audio issues.
Finally, from my viewpoint as an organist, the installation of a new organ for our church was a very exciting and perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is an event in which I will always delight. I personally thank Rev. William Borror, the Media Presbyterian Church, and the Strine family for entrusting me to chair this project. May the end result bring glory to God both now and in the future.
Arthur P. Kalemkarian, Sr.
Organ task team chairman
and curator of the Elizabeth M. Strine Memorial Organ

From the organbuilder
It is indeed a thrilling opportunity for an organ builder to work in a warm and inviting space, especially one with the historical significance of Media Presbyterian Church. From the beginning of the project, honoring the architecture of the church was of great importance. The organ was to be primarily an instrument to support the many musical needs of a vibrant congregation, but would also be required to serve as a solo instrument. All of this needed to be accomplished while not overwhelming the choir, which shares the gallery space with the organ. With these requirements in mind, we set out to design an organ with a broad dynamic range, capable of appropriately interpreting a wide variety of musical styles.
Considering the organ’s location, it was important to achieve an audible balance to lead the congregation and to fill the sanctuary without overwhelming the choir. Fortunately, the sanctuary’s acoustics work in the organ’s favor, and the sound projects well from the balcony with normal relaxed voicing. The new casework and pipe façades, designed and built by our company, spread the Great, Swell, Choir and Pedal divisions over three locations in the choir gallery. This spreading of sound sources creates a broader spatial projection of the organ’s resources, and yet the blend heard in the sanctuary is quite pleasing.
The organ has a broad tonal palette of contrasting yet compatible choruses and solo voices. Moderate pipe scales in the Great and Pedal principal choruses react well with the room’s acoustics to provide a solid foundation for congregational singing. Along with the new Great and Pedal principal choruses, the Swell contains six ranks of Aeolian pipework from the previous organ. These diapasons, flutes and strings work well in the accompaniment role of the Swell. The Choir division is of great importance as it is centered directly behind the choir. It has a wealth of accompaniment stops, including several sets of soft celestial stops and a complete principal chorus. Also found in the Choir division is the Tuba, a powerful reed voice that lends itself to solo lines as a crowning reed over full organ.
The Chancel organ provides another visual and spatial aspect to the organ’s presence. It can support choirs that may perform in the chancel area, reinforce the quieter registrations of the main organ for congregational singing with sound sources at two locations in the sanctuary, and lend itself to music that employs echo or antiphonal effects. The Festival Trumpet found in the Chancel division is an appropriate foil to the Tuba found in the Choir, and is extremely flexible as it is under expression with the other stops of the Chancel organ.
We chose to retain several stops from the previous organ that were quite beautiful and would blend well with the new organ. Tonal director Jim Twyne and his assistant, Sheldon Kargis, voiced these pipes, as well as the new pipes built by our own pipe maker, Tommy Linder, and Luc Ladurantaye of Canada. The stunning casework and console were designed by Cornel Zimmer and built by master cabinetmaker George Zong with assistance from David Caldwell. Eric Molenaar completed the wiring of the console and windchests with assistance from Nathan Bryson.
Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders is deeply grateful to Media Presbyterian Church and the Strine family for the opportunity to build a new instrument for this wonderful setting. It is our sincere hope that it will serve this congregation for many generations and will stand as a testament to the glory of God.
Nathan Bryson, project manager, and Jim Twyne, tonal director
Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders, Inc., Denver, North Carolina

GREAT (Unenclosed, Manual II)
16' Gemshorn*
8' Principal 61 pipes
8' English Diapason (Choir)
8' Harmonic Flute*
8' Bourdon 61 pipes
8' Gamba*
8' Gemshorn*
8' Gemshorn Celeste*
4' Octave 61 pipes
4' Prestant (Choir)
4' Flute Ouverte 61 pipes
2  2/3' Twelfth*
2' Fifteenth 61 pipes
1 1/3' Mixture IV 244 pipes
16' Posaune*
8' Festival Trumpet* (non-coupling)
8' Tuba (Choir) (non-coupling)
8' Trumpet*
8' Cromorne* (enclosed with Choir)

SWELL (Expressive, Manual III)
16' Lieblich Gedeckt*
8' Geigen Diapason 61 pipes+
8' Rohrflute 61 pipes
8' Viola 61 pipes+
8' Viola Celeste 61 pipes+
8' Still Gedeckt 61 pipes+
8' Flute Celeste 61 pipes+
4' Principal 61 pipes+
4' Flute Triangulaire*
22'3' Quint*
2' Octavin 61 pipes
13'5' Terz*
2' Plein Jeu IV 244 pipes
16' Basson*
8' Festival Trumpet (Great) (non-coupling)
8' Tuba (Choir)
8' Trompette*
8' Hautbois*
4' Clairon*
Swell to Swell 16'
Swell Unison Off
Swell to Swell 4'

CHOIR (Expressive, Manual I)
16' Dulciana*
8' English Diapason*
8' Gedeckt*
8' Concert Flute*
8' Dulciana*
8' Unda Maris*
8' Erzahler*
8' Erzahler Celeste*
4' Prestant*
4' Koppelflute*
2 2/3' Nazard*
2' Blockflute*
1 3/5' Tierce*
1 1/3' Larigot*
1' Sifflute*
1' Scharff III*
16' Corno di Bassetto*
8' Festival Trumpet (Gt) (non-coupling)
8' Tuba* (non-coupling)
8' Petite Trompette*
8' English Horn*
4' Musette*
Choir to Choir 16'
Choir Unison Off
Choir to Choir 4'

CHANCEL (Expressive, floating)
8' Cor de Nuit*
8' Dolcan*
8' Dolcan Celeste*
4' Spitz Principal*
4' Flauto d’Amore*
4' Unda Maris II*
2' Flautino*
8' Flugelhorn*
8' Vox Humana*

16' Bourdon*
8' Bourdon*

32' Contra Bourdon*
32' Contra Violone*
16' Principal*
16' Violone 32 pipes
16' Bourdon*
16' Gemshorn (Great)
16' Lieblich Gedeckt (Swell)
16' Dulciana (Choir)
8' Octave Principal 32 pipes
8' Lieblich Flute (Swell)
8' Gemshorn (Great)
8' Rohr Bourdon*
4' Choral Bass 12 pipes
4' Doppel Flute*
2 2/3' Rauschpfeife II*
32' Contra Basson*
16' Posaune*
16' Basson (Swell)
8' Trumpet (Great)
8' Festival Trumpet (Great)
8' Tuba (Choir)
4' Rohr Schalmei*
4' Clairon*
Chimes (Great)

*Stops by Walker Technical Co.
+Aeolian pipework


Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt><dd><i>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Email Subscriptions