New Organs

January 18, 2003

Cover

Trinity United Methodist Church

Racine, Wisconsin

T. R. Rench & Company

Racine, Wisconsin

 

In 1853 at Racine, Wisconsin, a group of Scandinavian
immigrants organized a church they named the Norsk-Dansk Trefoldicheds M.E. Church.
Their first church building housed an ornate reed organ with "fifteen
pushknobs." The second building from circa 1888 had a pipe organ of
unknown description, and the congregation acquired a Bennett organ of
tubular-pneumatic construction in 1917. This instrument was ultimately
converted to electropneumatic action and in 1963 moved into the newly completed
third church building.

After 80 years of service, the Bennett had become
unrepairable and in need of replacement. Because of our firm's
maintenance agreement with the Bennett, we were aware that there were some nice
sounds in that organ which could be used to advantage in an otherwise-new
installation. The typical 19th-century flutes and strings were well-voiced and
the Great Open Diapason had that majestic, large-scale tone characteristic of
the 19th-century American/English tonal style. Hence the new organ contains
most of the Bennett pipework to which we have added new reeds, a new Swell
Diapason, and new pipework to complete the Great Diapason chorus.

The tonal layout reflects the 19th-century American and
German Romantic tonal styles that we have observed give good results in the
acoustical environments of typical American churches. In general the tonal
characteristics are as follows. The Great is great; the Great Open Diapason is
king. All other stops defer to the Great Open. It is bold and majestic. The
Great Diapason chorus and reed stop provide most of the ensemble power.
However, for accompaniment purposes the Great flutes are regulated to the same
level as the Swell flutes, and the indispensable soft stop, the Dulciana, is
located on the Great for greatest usefulness. The Great Trumpet is of English
voicing, and while it provides the final push in the ensemble buildup it does
not obliterate the Diapason quality of the ensemble. In this organ the
foundation stop of the Swell division is the 8' Diapason. It is the most
useful stop in the organ. With its mezzo-level neutral tone, it is the perfect
stop for accompaniment of the choir. The Swell Oboe is constructed and voiced
so that while it produces the expected color-reed tone, it also has noticeable
chorus quality, functioning as a small Cornopean. It is extended to
16'  to provide a manual double
reed, creating a basic reed chorus. For the Pedal reed, a 16' style="mso-spacerun: yes">  Bassoon rather than a heavier voice
works well in this room because the distance to the farthest listener is less
than with a typical rectangular room of like capacity.

The layout of the instrument places the manual divisions
side-by-side and cantilevered about 3 feet ahead of the former organ chamber
front plane. Parishoners have commented on the improved power,
"presence," and inspiring tone of their new organ. Although the
instrument is basically a "straight" organ, the windchests are of
the unit type for greatest flexibility in layout and stoplist development.
Electropneumatic action is used for basses, and the trebles are served with
electromagnetic valve actions. Control of the organ functions is through a
multiplex relay system that accommodates the MIDI components and also provides
for simplification of the electrical cable from the console. The console can be
turned or moved a few feet if necessary.

Regarding the casework, the parishoners have commented on
how "the organ looks as if it grew out of the casework." The simple
design in walnut was predicated upon the existing room decor. The display pipes
are from the Great Open Diapason, Pedal Open Bass, and Great Contrabass stops.
These pipes are finished in brilliant gold with polished pewter-like pipemetal
mouths. There are some non-sounding pipes for creating a balanced presentation.

The leadership for the organ project was provided by the
pastor, The Rev. Jack Stubbs. Major financing for the instrument was provided
through the generosity of members Alex and Arlene Simpson. The dedication hymn
service and recital was played by organist Michael Becker with cello soloist
Laura Deming.

--Thomas R. Rench

 

(Photography by Bolton Studio, Racine, Wisconsin)

GREAT

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>          Contrabass
(ext, borrowed bass)

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Open
Diapason

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Melodia

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Dulciana

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

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Wald
Flute (ext)

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

                                    Mixture
III

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

                                    Chimes

                                    MIDI
on Great

SWELL

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>          Lieblich
Gedeckt (ext)

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Diapason

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

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Salicional

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Celeste
(full compass)

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

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Harmonic
Flute

                  22/3 style='mso-tab-count:1'>       Nazard
(ext)

                  2' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Principal
(ext)

                  2' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Piccolo
(ext)

                  13/5' style='mso-tab-count:1'>     Tierce (ext)

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>          Bassoon
(ext)

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Oboe

                                    Tremulant

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

                                    MIDI
on Swell

PEDAL

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>          Sub
Bass

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>          Lieblich
Gedeckt (Sw)

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Open
Bass

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Bourdon
(ext)

                  8' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Stopped
Flute (Sw)

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Choral
Bass (ext)

                  16' style='mso-tab-count:1'>          Bassoon
(Sw)

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

                  4' style='mso-tab-count:1'>             Oboe
(Sw)

                                    MIDI
on Pedal

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