FROM THE ORGAN BUILDER

FROM THE ORGAN BUILDER 2016-10-26T17:02:02+00:00

The organ at Andrew’s represents the culmi­nation of several years of dreaming, planning and consultation. During the summer of 1998, while still an employee at the Noack Organ Company, I answered an inquiry from the church regarding a replacement value for the former organ, lovingly assembled over many years by Arthur Carkeek and unfortunately completely destroyed by fire.

Several months later the church contacted the firm again about a proposal for a new instrument. One of the options suggested by then Organist, Cleveland Johnson, was the possibility utilizing vintage ranks from the Organ Clearing house. Fritz Noack and I had already discussed my leaving the firm to strike out on my own, and with his blessing,  I started discussions with St. Andrew’s.

The organ that eventually emerged is designed to make the use of pipes from two 19th Century instruments, augmented by new pipework. Some of the old pipes – most the Hook chorus on the Great – required generous reworking to remove over 125 years worth of use (and misuse). Others generally required nothing more than a general cleaning; the 8′ and 4′ flutes of the Swell, in particular, struck me by their beauty of tone when I examined them in a warehouse, even under a century and a half of grime.

The new pipes were built by several firms including our own, and were designed and scaled to form one cohesive ensemble with the old pipework. The case­work, inspired Gothic Revival designs of the 19th Century, blends the various sounds before projecting them into the body church. Designing a case that would be attractive and serviceable, yet still fit under the ceiling, was more of a challenge than I originally anticipated.

The organ represents a milestone in the life of St. Andrew’s as a church and in my life as an organbuilder, since it is the first instrument to bear my name. It also honors Arthur Carkeek for his years of service to the church in particular and the organ world in general. Organs are not, of course, solo endeavors, and my co­worker, Dave Young, deserves a share of any credit for this instrument. My wife Lisa’s support was invalu­able, and her knack for glueing tracker ends was helpful as well! In addition, Bruce Shull became a trusted col­laborator on the scaling and voicing of the organ, with­out whose assistance the project would not have been as successful.

– Joseph Zamberlan