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History of Our Organ

 

Speedway Christian Church
Organ Historical Information

 

The original organ for the sanctuary was a Baldwin electronic.  It was purchased and installed for the completion of the sanctuary in 1948.  By the late fifties this instrument began to have severe maintenance problems that caused the organ to be unplayable.  At this time, guided by Minister of Music, Robert Kintner, the board voted to purchase a pipe organ from the Holloway Company.  Work on the original Holloway Organ began in the summer of 1961 under the supervision of John Stuber who had replaced The Reverend Kintner as Minister of Music.  Actual installation of the organ began in the fall of 1961 after redesign to accommodate a pipe organ and construction on the chancel was completed.  The original organ consisting of great, choir and pedal divisions was completed and dedicated in the late fall of 1961.

In 1963 The Reverend Foster Hotchkiss replaced Stuber as Minister of Music.  In the summer of 1964 the board approved his proposal to finish the original plan for the organ by adding the swell division and a few additional ranks of mixtures and reeds.  Holloway completed the organ in late 1964.  During this phase of the project, the organ was completely revoiced under the direction of Ernest White, who had joined the Holloway Company.

By 1980 the original console was developing severe electrical problems causing notes to not play.  Under the direction of The Reverend Joe Ridenour, the board approved a complete renovation of the organ.  This project included replacing the old console with a solid state (and at the time state of the art) console.  The project, however, went beyond just replacement of the console.  The 1964 revoicing of the organ had never been satisfactory.  The church contracted with Goulding and Wood to not only replace the console, but to completely redesign and revoice the organ.  This included replacing all of the mixtures, rebuilding most of the reed stops, and adding an oboe and four foot reed.  This work was complete right before Easter 1981.  A rededication and recital took place that spring.  The recital featured Dr. Oswald Ragatz, Professor of Organ at the Indiana University School of Music.  The organ, with the exception of rebuilding of the stop action during the 1990s, has remained unchanged until the recent renovation project.

On April 1, 2002, under the direction of the current Director of Worship and Fine Arts, Randall J. Morris, and several members of the congregation, the organ was removed pipe-by-pipe to be transported to Miller Pipe Organ Company in Louisville, Kentucky and stored the organ in their facility during the total renovation of the church. The front gallery was removed, allowing reinstallation of the organ in front of the chancel. Upon reinstallation, beginning in late March of 2003, the great, swell, choir and pedal divisions were moved into the front of the chancel creating a stunning façade upon walking into the sanctuary. At this time a new console was added, containing a state-of-the-art multi-level digital combination action. This new multi-level memory will allow as many as 99 levels of memory. A digital playback unit accompanies the new console, as well as adding a new, “flamed copper” 16’ Principal in the pedal and an 8’ Hooded Tuba in the swell. There are prepared stops for an 8’ Trumpet en Chamade, 32’ Grand Bourdon and a 32’ Bombarde to be added in the future.

The rededication of this current installation took place on June 29, 2003, with a recital including The Reverend Joe Ridenour, Minister of Music 1973-1989; Dr. Alan Davis, Minister of Music, Westview Christian Church; Mr. Jack Fox, Minister of Music 1989-2001;Ms. Sharon Watson, Interim Organist 2001 and Mr. Randall J. Morris, Director of Worship and Fine Arts, 2002 through present.

 

Organ Photo small

“Let every instrument be tuned for praise!

Let all rejoice who have a voice to rise!

And may God give us faith to sing always!

“Alleluia” Amen!