Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sunday, December 9, 2012



While preparing dinner one evening, after playing Christmas CD roulette, while listening to, “Christmas Alleluia” by the Choirs of All Saints Episcopal Church, in Atlanta, Georgia, I made a realization. Ray and Beth Chenault Organist/Choirmasters. (

This recording features wonderful performances by the choirs, instrumentalists and the always steady, driven playing of the Chenault duo. Made in 2001, this recording also serves as a glimpse back at the 1971 Keenan Memorial Organ, by the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio. I participated in the successful relocation of this three manual organ to Christ Church (Episcopal), in Valdosta, Georgia.

The ability to listen to an instrument that preceded the Buzard organ we now curate is enlightening. How often in conversation today, do you hear an organist refer to a pipe organ from the 1970’s with positive adjectives? As stylistic and tonal desires change, I fear it is too easy to become quickly dismissive of whatever we have decided is now, passé.

When listening to this organ with a critical ear, I hear a dozen or more things that as a builder and voicer would do differently. Listing those items here would be very easy, but that would not be productive to the point being made. There are things I like about the organ as well to be honest. The 16’ Gamba in the Pedal, whose pipes are from the Roosevelt organ that preceded the Schantz at All Saints is just delightful. Warm and purry like a happy tiger. The 8’ Holz Gedeckt in the Positiv (with cherry fronts), is cheerful and bright, but also retains a very nice warmth.

Here is the point.

Our current tastes in organ nationalistic styles of tonal design that are very different from those of 1971, has no bearing on the musicians in this recording making wonderful music. Keep in mind this is an instrument they oversaw the replacement of by the very fine, but very different John-Paul Buzard pipe organ. This recording proves that in the hands of fine musicians, the pipe organ is an Instrument (a means whereby something is achieved, performed, or furthered).

Regardless of musical styles, fine musicians are able to produce fine results on organs of many varying styles and types. Cleverness and creativity allow them to work with the resources at hand to convey the musical message. When we remember the pipe organ is only an instrument for the musician, it helps grant perspective.

We should be less dismissive of pipe organs whose styles may have come and gone. That very mindset robbed us of so many fine organs by: Roosevelt, Kimball, Skinner, Hutchings, Schlicker, Pilcher, Kilgen, etc. While each musician and organization have to make the best decisions they can for the requirements of their project, I would hope as musicians. artisans, and craftsmen can retain objectivity and be more able to say, “That’s good! It’s not anything I would do today, but man that is GOOD!”

The untraceable quote of, “There are only two kinds of music; good and bad,” should also be able to apply to pipe organs.

Robert I. Coulter, Jr.
(c) 2012 / All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Code of Ethics

As we are fortunate to grow, and to have the great pleasure to work with so many fine musicians and pipe organs, it's time to release our Code of Ethics. These are the ethics and rules we hold ourselves to, and the rules we have held ourselves to for many years. Now is the time to put these in writing and release them to the pipe organ world. We are honored to work in a field that ultimately helps uplift the spirits of congregants and music lovers. I believe that such work requires an upright and honest approach, and my company will not perform in any other manner. Robert I. Coulter - President / Tonal Director

Sunday, October 21, 2012

University of Texas at Austin

Teaser photos from our restoration & relocation of Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1393.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wanted: Pipe Organ Builder/Technician

Pipe Organ Builder/Technician

Small reputable and growing company seeking an individual for a full-time position in the pipe organ industry. Seeking committed individual with a minimum of 2 years of training and experience in full time tuning and servicing of Pipe Organs. Must possess strong organizational skills, congenial personality and a desire for the best professional care. We require a good attitude and the drive to do high quality work. We have good fun while working and enjoy working with other happy people.

Wages and benefits would be based upon experience and a quality living-wage for the Atlanta, Georgia metro area. Please send your resume to:

Robert I. Coulter - Organbuilders:
2233 Faulkner Road
Atlanta, GA 30324

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Decatur Presbyterian Church - New Console

We are pleased to announce the newly completed four manual console for Decatur Presbyterian Church. This console features quartersawn white oak, American black walnut, ebony and rosewood. 160 stops controlled by the IOTI Virtuoso system and keys with bone and ebony coverings. We are happy to present 'Amelia' to Decatur Presbyterian Church and the world.