The free standing organ case is based on classic European design and complements the existing Gothic Revival architecture of the 1870 sanctuary. This attractive Neo-Gothic styled organ case, made out of stained oak, compliments the furnishings of the sanctuary. The case blends and focuses the organ sound into the room. The Violone 16' and principal 8' pipes, made from polished tin, are located in the facade. The height of the tallest pipe in the facade is approximately 20 feet. The Great and Pedal divisions are unenclosed while the Swell and Choir divisions are under expression. The Great and the Pedal pipes are at the same elevation as the facade pipes. The Choir division is located below the facade pipes of the Great division and behind the ornamental grillwork. The Swell is at the same elevation as the Great and sets behind in its own case, flanked by the larger tin pipes of the Pedal.
Slider chests were used for the entire organ, except for the offset chests. Slider chests provide a cohesive sound because all pipes of the same pitch stand above the same wind channel. Since these pipes are from different stops, but are receiving the same wind, they are able to blend and enhance the ensemble of the instrument. Because a choir has many voices that blend into tone sound, church music
(i.e. hymn singing, choral anthems) requires an instrument that enhances a blending of the human voice. The slider wind chests will complement choral and congregational singing.
3. Key action
The organ primarily uses electric pull- down action. When a key in the organ console is depressed, an electric signal is sent to a magnet, which opens the valve. Some of the larger pipe ranks are located on offset wind chests and use electro-pneumatic action.
The attractive console features French-style curved terraced stop jambs in cherry wood. The console is detached from the main organ case and is movable. This gives flexibility in various arrangements of the choir and instrumentalists. The solid state, multi level combination action allows different organists to save their stop combinations in separate "file folders." The console has a MIDI interface connection. This interface can record a player's performance and give an authentic playback as well as preserve important performances. This, too, is also n aid for the organist in deciding the registration (choice of sounds).
4. Tonal desgin
The organ is well designed to lead congregational singing, accompany the choirs, and play the various styles of organ literature. All four pipe families, (principal, flute, string and reed) are well represented. The Great division, with its grand principal chorus, is the foundation of the entire instrument. The Swell division, in French style, gives a romantic attribute to the instrument, while the Choir division provides softer accompanying stops and solo voices. A stop of special note is the Choir's 1 1/7' Septime, which adds an interesting color not avail- able on most organs. The Dolce Celeste 8' from the previous Austin organ was retained in the Choir.
The reed family is well represented. A Festival Trumpet 8' is mounted horizontally to project the sound to the congregation and is the strongest reed in the organ. The Trumpet l6' and 8' on the Great are designed to blend with the Great principal chorus. The Swell reeds are built in the French Romantic style. They provide color but do not stand out as much as the festival Trumpet. The bold Krummhorn 8' and lush English Horn 8' of the Choir division are solo stops and can be used to highlight a melody. The harmonic flutes in the Swell, one made of cherry wood and the other in tin, provide an interesting tonal color. Harmonic pipes are purposely overblown so that the pitch sounds an octave higher than normal. This produces a clear, transparent sound, similar to a traverse flute.
In 1996, Martin Ott was contacted by the First United Methodist Church in Jackson, Michigan about their desire to hear and examine one of our instruments. We arranged to meet with representatives of the Organ Study Committee and Consultant Dr. Albert Bolitho, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Decatur, Illinois. There, the Martin Ott company had just finished the installation of a three manual organ. A few weeks later, I was invited to come to Jackson and inspect their 1922 Austin Organ. It became apparent that multiple repairs in recent years had not prevented the ongoing decay of this instrument and that it was doomed to fail within a sort time. The Organ Study Committee engaged in
lengthy discussions and much soul searching before determining that their organ must be replaced.
Subsequently, Martin Ott was asked to prepare a proposal for a new instrument. Further study by the committee brought about a recommendation to the congregation for a renovation of the church sanctuary and chancel in order to enhance their worship space and provide an optimum setting for the proposed new organ. On November 22, 1998, the Martin Ott company received the commission to build a new organ for the First United Methodist Church.
The Pedal and Swell divisions were installed early in 2002. The main case, containing the Great and Choir divisions, was shipped and installed in August of 2002. Voicing of the instrument was complete in November 2002.
The following people participated in the building of this organ:
Alexander I. Bronitsky, William Dunaway, Eileen Gay, Donna Hodges, Aleksandr D. Leshchenko, Richard Murphy, Earl Naylor, Martin Ott, Sascha Ott, Jeff Spitler.
"We wish to express our gratitude to Timothy Meunier, Director of Music Ministries, Organists, Brian Buehler and Laurie Meunier, the members of the Organ Building/Sanctuary Renovation Committee and its Chairman EarI Poleski, Rev. Ed Ross and the members of the First United Methodist Church for awarding us this commission and creating a fine environment for this instrument. We especially thank Dr. Albert Bolitho for facilitating the organ building process. His consultation, suggestions and support were most helpful. Having worked with Al previously on the organ for First Congregational Church in Battle Creek, we were happy to work with him again".
"The electrical wiring in the organ was completed by our colleague Richard Houghten. We are thankful that he could be a part of this project. Acoustician, Scott Riedel and Architect Lincoln Poley contributed to the success of this organ".
"Above all, we are honored to have had the privilege of building an instrument that is used to praise God. We delighted in knowing that future generations of First United Methodist will be spiritually uplifted when they sing praise to God with the organ".
(Source: Martin Ott, Saint Louis, November 2002.)
56 stops | 61 ranks
Electric Slider Chest action |
Some electro-pneumatic windchest (*)