Episcopal Church

A Fundraiser for our Pipe Organ

Can't attend, but wish to contribute?  Thank you!  Kindly click below to donate securely online.

An Organ Recital Featuring Mr. Charlie Carpenter

Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 6:26PM

All are warmly invited to this important fundraiser.  We are grateful to Mr. Charlie Carpenter for sharing his talent so generously for such a worthy cause. 

The organ we hear today began as two different contracts with the Casavant Frères Limitée Pipe Organ Manufacturers, located in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec in 1922.  The first contract, for the main organ, Opus 940 is dated 31 January, 1922.  The agreement encompassing the back instrument is dated 21 March, 1922 but also carries the opus number 940.  The original cost of the instrument was $35,000.00 - a significant cost in 1922 dollars.  Today, the organ would cost approximately $2,220,000.00.

This organ is not one instrument but rather, nine different organs playable from one console with four keyboards and a pedalboard.  The organist here plays with both hands and feet; the pedalboard is simply a keyboard for the bass pipes for the feet.  Each group of pipes has a special name and a specific function.  The main division or group of pipes is the Great organ; its sounds are firm and designed to lead congregational song.  A flexible division is the Swell division which can be roaring loud or softened to gently accompany a choir or soloists.  There are, as we said, nine divisions to this instrument: Great, Swell, Choir, Solo, Pedal, Echo Solo, Echo Choir, Echo Pedal and Corridor Diapason. 

Six of the divisions are in cases with louvered openings that can be controlled by the organist.  As they open and close, they increase or decrease the volume of each division.  These divisions are called expressive.

There are four main families of tone in the instrument, namely, Flute, String, Reed and Diapason.  Flute tone is as it sounds with a real Flute-like color to add to the ensemble.  String sounds can also, as they sound, add an incisive string-like color to the organ’s overall sound.  Reed sound can come in many forms; Trumpet-like, Clarinet-like, Oboe-like and other colors that do not remind one of an orchestral sound.  One of these, the Vox Humana, does not sound like the human voice as the name implies, but more like the bleating of a Billy Goat!  There are reed sounds that are soft, medium and loud.  The Diapason tone is the archetypical sound of a church organ with a combination of String and Flute tone.

This is one of the 10 largest organs in Metropolitan Chicago and is arguably the largest instrument in a room with the smallest proportional seating capacity.  There are 76 ranks of pipes, 61 individual stops and a total of 4,732 pipes.  A rank is a set of usually 61 or 73 pipes that are voiced to be identical in volume, sound quality and attack.

This parish has been actively engaged in continuing to maintain this organ.  The main replaceable component of a pipe organ is leather.  This is an electro-pneumatic instrument, meaning, that when a note is depressed on the keyboard an electric signal is sent to a magnet under the pipe.  The magnet exhausts a little pillow of leather below the pipe causing air to enter the pipe and sound.  The action is very, very fast indeed!  These leather pillows, or pneumatics after 95 years have begun to disintegrate and need to be replaced or, as it is said, the organ needs to be re-leathered.  Recently the Swell, Great, Choir and Choir Echo leathers have been replaced, and more needs to be done.  Most recently, the Solo Division has been restored for another 95 years of service.  We now turn our attention to two small divisions in the rear of the Sanctuary.  On the rear left as you gaze from the center of the room is the Echo-Solo division and the Echo Pedal division.  To restore the pneumatics and re-leather the stoppers in this area, we need to raise $30,500.00.  This is the reason for our appeal at this point; we are currently focusing on these two divisions.  Thank you for reading this and for your generosity!

Suggested donation for fundraiser admission (pay at the door) is $20 for adults and $8 for students. Donations to the organ fund in addition to the entrance fee are most welcome! 

Directions at this link.