Christ the King Lutheran Church, Walnut, California
Knight Organ Company, builder, San Diego, California
Manuel Rosales Organ Builders, voicer, Los Angeles, California
The congregation received the gift of its first and only organ from First Lutheran Church in Monrovia, California at the end of 1968. This three-rank Möller Artiste was purchased by First in 1950 and used in their small chapel. When the large sanctuary was built in 1968, First Lutheran gave Christ the King their 28-year-old pipe organ for their new building. The Möller opus 4300-13 comprised three ranks of pipes—8′ Diapason (76 pipes), 8′ Viole (72 pipes), 8′ Gedeckt (97 pipes), 16′ Bourdon (12 pipes)—and Schulmerich electronic chimes.
When the small Möller arrived at Christ the King, the console, pipes, and pipe case were placed in an open room west of the chancel. In 1981 when Paul Schuricht became organist, it was decided to move both the choir and organ to the rear of the nave. The wood chamber that contained the pipes was modified and placed above the Mother’s Room. A 4′9″ by 4′3″ opening was cut in the wall over the Mother’s Room for the sound of the organ to egress, with 15 new Principal pipes installed in the façade.
Because the 8′ Viole and 8′ Diapason were not conducive to leading the choir and the congregation, Paul Schuricht purchased an 8′ Principal (73 pipes) and a 4′ Gemshorn (73 pipes) along with a new set of 24 Gedeckt treble pipes to replace damaged ones; the new pipework was built by A. R. Schopp’s and Sons, Inc., of Alliance, Ohio. The renovation of the organ—including galvanized pipe for the wind duct, organ cable, chime relay, and the metal enclosure for the blower that would sit outside on the east side of the church—was to cost $3,500. On Sunday morning, June 13, 1982, the dedication service of the rebuilt pipe organ installed by Paul Schuricht, the organist, took place.
By December 2007 when the present organist, Michael Doyle, arrived, the organ had many problems: the wooden Gedeckt pipes’ stoppers needed to be releathered as they wouldn’t stay in tune; because the blower sat outside the church drawing in either hot or cold air, it was difficult to keep the organ in tune; the leather on the reservoir and chests needed to be replaced because it was 57 years old; the stop tabs were breaking off; and the organ had so few stops that it lacked tonal color. In April 2008, the blower was moved into the Mother’s Room, encasing it in a new cabinet that helped to keep the organ in tune.
Bids were submitted at the end of 2008 to enlarge and rebuild the Möller organ for $36,000; Manuel Rosales’s bid to rebuild the organ and add nine ranks of pipe was accepted. Mr. Rosales suggested that Robert Knight of Knight Organ Company in San Diego do the work, and Rosales would do the final voicing and tonal regulation. The specification was designed by the church organist, Michael Doyle, in consultation with Robert Knight and Manuel Rosales.
The rebuilding of the console and chests, and the new chests, woodwork around the façade, new pipe tower, and the new electronics were done by Mr. Knight, with the tonal voicing and tonal finishing by Mr. Rosales. The preparations started on January 19, 2009, when Bob Knight and his crew came to dismantle the Möller organ. The pipes were packed in crates, the chests were removed, the wood chamber walls were dismantled, and the organ was taken to San Diego to be rebuilt and enlarged in the Knight Organ Company shop. On Saturday, January 31, a crew of men from the congregation began work building the new organ chamber walls. Over the next six weeks, men and women of the congregation worked during the week and on Saturdays to complete the chamber walls, install insulation, double wallboard the interior walls, paint the walls with high-gloss enamel, enlarge the front opening of the chamber, and install lighting and a door to the chamber. The organ console platform was rebuilt with hardwood flooring.
The organ has 12 ranks of pipes and 38 stops. The oldest pipework in the organ is the three-rank Mixture that was produced by W. D. B. Simmons in 1863 and voiced during Abraham Lincoln’s first presidential term. The 8′ Salicional and 8′ Voix Celeste came from the 1913 Estey organ at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in San Diego, along with the 8′ Principal, a set of gold façade pipes that never spoke. The 8′ Trumpet came from the 1960 rebuild of the organ at First Baptist Church in San Diego, and was built by Durst Organ Supply of Erie, Pennsylvania. The 13⁄5′ Terz was made by Estey–Aeoline. The large swell shutters were from a 1920 Kimball organ, and the swell motor is from First Baptist Church in San Diego. A newer 1-hp blower was used to replace the old, inadequate Möller blower. The 16′ Subbass was built for a large college organ in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by M. P. Möller in 1950. The 16′ Trumpet 12-pipe extension is new and was made by Organ Supply of Erie, Pennsylvania. The original 8′ Principal was rescaled to become the 4′ Octave, and the 4′ Gemshorn was rescaled to become the 4′ Spitzflöte. On the back wall of the nave are the 8′ Principal pipes in the original case, along with a three-pipe Principal tower that is new. There are a total of 787 pipes in the organ.
The rebuilt Möller organ console has been rewired with a new Opus-Two relay system, new keyboard and pedal contacts, and has a new tilting tablet assembly. There are now 41 tilting stop tablets, 5 pistons on Manual I, 5 pistons on Manual II, 10 general combination pistons, 10 general toe studs, setter piston, general cancel piston, and one toe stud for the 11-bell Zimbelstern. The organ also has a set of Maas-Rowe chimes that were given by Trinity Lutheran Church, Montclair, California. A family in the congregation gave funds for the Zimbelstern, Voix Celeste, and 16′ Trumpet extension. With the gift of the aforementioned items, the total cost of the organ was $45,050.
The organ was dedicated on Sunday, August 23, 2009, at the 9:00 a.m. service. Michael Doyle, the church organist, played music of Armsdorf, Bach, Buxtehude, Burkhardt, Cherwien, Manz, and Walther at the dedication hymn festival at 4:00 p.m.
Christ the King Lutheran Church,
16′ Lieblich Gedeckt
Positive to Great
8′ Voix Celeste
16′ Lieblich Gedeckt
Great to Pedal
Positive to Pedal
Summary of Pipes
16′ Subbass 44 pipes
16′ Lieblich Gedeckt 12 pipes
8′ Principal 61 pipes
8′ Gedecktflöte 73 pipes
8′ Salicional 61 pipes
8′ Voix Celeste 49 pipes
4′ Principal 61 pipes
4′ Spitzflöte 73 pipes
13⁄5′ Terz 49 pipes
III Mixture 183 pipes
16′ Trumpet 12 pipes
8′ Trumpet 73 pipes
Lewis & Hitchcock, Beltsville, Maryland
Christus Victor Lutheran Church, Baltimore, Maryland
Christus Victor Lutheran Church has a Wicks organ. The pipe cabinet is on the left side of the chancel, and the console is on the right side. The console had no combination action, and the only accessory was the crescendo shoe. The desire was to add a combination action, and to reunify the five ranks to make a more flexible specification. Working with director of music Dr. Joseph Birdwell, we planned and installed a multiplex relay in the organ cabinet and a combination action with multiple layers of memory in the console, controlled by a full set of pistons and toe studs. The result is a much more flexible instrument, easily able to provide the right sound for the music.
8′ Rohr Gedeckt
8′ Gemshorn Celeste TC
Swell to Great
8′ Rohr Flute
8′ Gemshorn Celeste TC
2′ Block Flute
16′ Lieblich Bourdon
8′ Rohr Gedeckt
4′ Choral Bass
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
2 manuals, 5 registers, 5 ranks