Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sam Jones United Methodist Church

Finally, after challenges from all fronts, our organ at Sam Jones United Methodist Church is finished. I am personally thrilled with the way this organ has turned out. The organ at Morningside is big, grand, noble, English and thrilling! This organ in Cartersville, Georgia is much more subtle, and is a better reflection of how I want my organs to be.

The Great principals are rich and noble, and yet gentle and unforced. Even the mixture, which is bold, is not strident and simply adds a brilliance without shrieking in the church. The Great 4' Spire Flute has a wonderful 'pop' (as a dear colleague said) to the tone, much like a large 2' blockflute but an octave lower. When paired with the 8' Bourdon, they bind together to almost grant a 8' Harmonic Flute color to the division.

The four 8' stops in the Swell, (Geigen, Salicional, Voix Celeste, Gedeckt), are all fiercely independent with the tone of the slotted Salicional having the most presence. And yet, these stops are of equal volume and color each other in a manner that means 1+1+1=5!
The Great Tromba/Pedal Trombone speaks with plenty of power to function as a solo stop, but still blends into the Principal chorus of the Great and the trombone is dark enough to be usable under smaller combinations.

What brings a smile to my face the quickest though, is the cumulative effect of playing the 7 manual 8' stops together. There is a richness in that sound that is to be expected, but what is surprising is the ability to hear each of those 7 stops clearly within the ensemble. I've often asked Don to simply play a hymn on those stops and I sit there in the beautiful church stunned by the richness and brightness found in those stops.

So, the organ is done and the name plate is on. There were times during the past year when I felt the mountain was too steep, and the challenges too numerous. It is through the dogged resilience and support of Reggie, Don, Mat, David, JP, Mr Ross, Thomas, Randy, and Josh that this organ, an instrument I feel exceptionally proud of is now complete. For as proud as I am of this organ, I know it would not have turned out so wonderfully without these great men, and they have my thanks.

Robert Coulter

Sunday, August 24, 2008


This is the my first post to the new Coulter-Organbuilder blog. My immediate plans are to use this blog to keep my friends, family and supporters informed of my work while working in Uppsala, Sweden.

For the long term, I would love to have this blog show insight into the challenges and rewards involved in:
Pipe organ building
Pipe organ service & maintenance
Small business ownership
Starting and growing a business

This will probably end up being more cathartic for me than anything else, but if others enjoy it, even better. If it helps organists or other interested individuals understand all that goes into the construction and maintenance of fine pipe organs, then all the better.

Robert Coulter