The Organs and Pianos of Suffolk Christian Church

The Organs and Pianos of Suffolk Christian Church

The church has several keyboard instruments. The chancel organ and grand piano are the principal instruments and are side-by-side in front of the choir in the sanctuary.

The Chancel Organ

The existing organ was first built in 1893 by Jardine & Son of New York at a cost of $3,500. The company was founded by the English–born organ builder George Jardine (1800-1882). The firm had a national reputation and was known for several mechanical innovations in the development of the pipe organ in America. The dedicatory program from 1894 has this description “The design of the front is in the open style, displaying the pipes symmetrically grouped and tastefully decorated.”

The Jardine & Son organ was powered by a pump through which city water flowed to operate the windchest. This was a common way to save the expense and trouble of hiring someone to physically pump the bellows whenever the organ played in services or for practice. In 1913 the water pump was replaced with an electric motor pump.

In 1946 the organ was renovated, enlarged, and electrified. The pipes were divided with the Great Division on the left and the Swell Division on the right sides of the sanctuary. Violoa W.Darden donated the chimes in memory of her husband, John Morcan Darden (1866-1937). The organ’s harp stop was donated by Doris Jones, Phoebe Wither, and Em Phillips in memory of their mother, Sallie V. Jones (1868-1947). The original brass memorial plaques indicate where the organ first stood in the back of the present choir loft.

In 1955 the interior mechanism was rebuilt. The church installed a new console and added 10 ranks of pipes in 1976.

Despite maintenance and repairs, by 2001 the instrument’s wiring, windchest, and mechanical parts had deteriorated to the point that that at least 105 pipes no longer played. A roof leak and temperature fluctuations in the uninsulated organ chambers contributed to the problems. In 2002 the A. E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company of Lithonia, Georgia removed the organ, including the original Jardine components, for a complete rebuild and expansion from 23 to 26 ranks. The organ returned with a newly added expressive Choir division of custom voiced digital stops from the Walker Technical Company of Zionsville, Pennsylvania. Organs that are a hybrid of pipes and electronic voices are not unusual in churches and concert halls of all sizes. High-quality digital stops add deep bass notes. Pipes that are expensive to build and maintain are possible while keeping the instrument small enough to fit within the existing organ chambers.

The newly-rebuilt organ was carefully designed to be eclectic in its voicing. Thus, instead of following a different historical style, such as the Baroque Era, it pays homage to the 1893 original that emphasized individual solo voices combined with a warm, rich sound typical of the best of Victorian Era organs. It also provides versatility for recitalists and for its primary purpose – to accompany the choir and lead congregational singing. It was tonally finished under the direction of Daniel L. Angerstein of Angerstein Organ Works, Ltd. of Hendersonville, North Carolina with the assistance of the instrument’s curator, Norfolk organ builder Lee Hendricks.

The current façade pipes from the 2002 rebuild were refinished to match what was there most recently, a later period when simplicity was in style. One highly decorated Victorian Era façade pipe was restored as a sample, but was thought to be too elaborate for all of the pipes. It is preserved and on display in the sanctuary.

Dee Hill led the organ renovation committee that included Director of Music E. Talmadge Darden and Organist Mary N. Huber. Marjorie Setnicky, organist and director of music at neighboring St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and Lee Hendricks, organist and choral accompanist at Park Place Baptist Church in Norfolk, gave the inaugural concert Sunday afternoon, October 19, 2003.

The organ is played weekly in ensemble with the piano. Into the early part of the 20th century at SCC, other instruments were also frequently played Sundays, particularly trumpet or violin.

The Chancel Organ Stop List

This is a list of the organ’s stops for its 2,468 pipes. When the draw knob stop is pulled out, the sound is no longer “stopped” and a different instrument sound or effect is heard as the keys of the keyboard (manual or pedal board) are pressed. This instrument has three keyboards or manuals – Great, Swell, and Choir divisions—plus a forth keyboard played by the feet, the Pedal Division.

Great Division –708 pipes

 

16’ Sub Principal 37 Pipes

8’ Open Diapason 61 Pipes

8’ Melodia 61 Pipes

8’ Gamba 61 Pipes

8’ Dulciana 61 Pipes

4’ Octave 61 Pipes

4’ Flute Harmonic 61 Flutes

2 2/3’ Twelfth 61 Pipes

2’ Fifteenth 61 Pipes

III Mixture 183 Pipes

8’ Tromba 61 Pipes

8’ Tuba Sonora Choir

Tremolo

Swell Division – 830 pipes

 

16’ Lieblich Gedeckt 61 Pipes

8’ Violin Diapason 49 Pipes

8’ Chimney Flute 61 Pipes

8’ Salicional 61 Pipes

8’ Voix Céleste 49 Pipes

8’ Flauto Dolce 61 Notes

8’ Flute Celeste 61 Notes

4’ Principal 61 Pipes

4’ Spire Flute 61 Pipes

2 2/3’ Nazard 61 Pipes

2’ Flageolet 61 Pipes

1 3/5’ Tierce 61 Pipes

III Plein Jeu 183 Pipes

16’ Basson 61 Notes

8’ Trumpet 61 Pipes

8’ Oboe 61 Notes

8’ Vox Humana 61 Notes

4’ Clarion 61 Notes

 

Swell Unison Off

Swell 16’

Swell 4’

 

Choir Division -842 pipes

16’ Dulciana 61 Notes

8’ English Diapason 61 Notes

8’ Viola Pomposa 61 Notes

8’ Viola Celeste 61 Notes

8’ Stopped Diapason 61 Notes

8’ II Erzahler Celeste 61 Notes

4’ Fugara 61 Notes

4’ Lieblichflöte 61 Notes

2’ Gemshorn 61 Notes

16’ English Horn 61 Notes

8’ Clarinet 61 Notes

8’ Rohr Schalmei 61 Notes

8’ Tuba Sonora 61 Notes

Zimblelstern 9 bells

Harp 49 Notes

Tremolo

16’ Choir

Choir Unison Off

4’ Choir

Pedal Division – 88 pipes

32’ Violone 32 Notes

32’ Bourdon 32 Notes

16’ Diapason 32 Notes

16’ Bourdon 16 Pipes

16’ Sub Principal Great

16’ Lieblich Gedeckt Swell

16’ Dulciana Choir

8’ Octave 32 Pipes

8’ Flute 12 pipes
8’ Chimney Flute Swell

8’ Salicional Swell

4’ Choir Bass 12 pipes

4’ Cantus Flute 32 Notes

32’ Cantus Fagotto 32 Notes

16’ Trombone 32 Notes

16’ Basson Swell

8’ Tromba 32 Notes

8’ Oboe Swell

4’ Clarion 32 Notes

Tremolo (Walker stops only)

General

 

Three manual mahogany console

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)

Transposer

Crescendo Volume Pedal

Swell Volume Pedal

Choir Volume Pedal

Sfarzando Full Organ Tab and Toe Piston

10 General Pistons on each level of memory

5 Swell Pistons on each level of memory

5 Great Pistons on each level of memory

5 Choir Pistons on each level of memory

5 General Toe Pistons on each level of memory

5 Special Pistons: General Cancel, Combination Set, Great to Pedal, Swell to Pedal, Choir to Pedal

 

Great to Pedal 8’,4’

Swell to Pedal 8’, 4’

Choir to Pedal 8’, 4’

Swell to Great 16’, 8’, 4’

Choir to Great 16’, 8’, 4’

Swell to Choir 16’, 8’, 4’

 

 

The Mason & Rish Vocalion Organ

Nothing is known about the organ in the first church building, if any. A careful search of the records may reveal some information. However, the family of the late David Brown Harrell, former director of music, donated his antique Mason & Risch (c. 1890) Vocalion single-manual reed organ. It is similar to what may have been found in small 19th century church. A Mason & Risch organ operates using positive pressure, unlike the suction windchests of other reed organs. The large-scale reeds of the 16-stop organ speak into chambers called qualifying tubes. This instrument is on the third floor elevator lobby. Because the windchest is in poor condition, it is not played.

The Mason & Risch Vocalion Organ Stop List

Stops are listed as arrayed left to right.

 

Bass Coupler

16’ Sub Bass

8’ Open Diapason

4’ Dolce

16’ Bourdon Bass

8’ Trumpet

8’ Open Diapason

4’ Principal

8’ Stop’d Diapason

8’ Melodia

4’ Harmonic Flute

8’ Open Diapason

8’ Cornopean

16’ Bourdon Treble

Dolce Forte

Vox Humana

Treble Coupler

Left folding knee lever to open all stops.

Right folding knee lever to open sound shutters.

 

The Grand Piano

The Yamaha grand piano, located in the sanctuary, was donated in memory of Japeth Edward and Emma Holland Rawls. It is remarkable for its rich and warm-toned bass notes.

The Digital Piano

The church also uses a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano. It is mobile and is occasionally played in the sanctuary, fellowship hall, or classrooms.

Other Pianos

The church uses several other upright pianos in the choir room, classrooms, and the fellowship hall.