Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Saint Mark's Episcopal Church - LaGrange, Georgia

In 2009, we were contracted by the vestry of Saint Mark's Episcopal Church to revoice and generate a new tonal design for the pipe organ.

Originally, the organ was built in 1976 by the Schantz organ company. The instrument was of electro-pneumatic action with two manuals and 14 ranks of pipes. As was the style at the time, the scales and wind pressures in this organ were light, granting the lean sound that was in fashion at the time. Additionally, there were peculiarities in the stop list that are a definite reflection of the times.

With the hiring of Bill Elliot, as organist, a new desire came from the bench to address the inadequacies of the instrument. Through close collaboration with Mr. Elliot, we were able to devise certain changes to the organ that would allow him to better serve the congregation in a manner he felt best suited the services.

In this work, certain ranks will be relocated, with others removed altogether in favor of more colorful stops. Additionally, and perhaps of greatest importance, the Great 8' Principal will be completely rescaled and revoiced to fit our tonal philosophies.

We believe the Great 8' Principal should be strong enough of tone to gracefully fill the empty church with sound. But of equal importance is the color and breadth of tone. Simply put, a loud stop is not musicial, a full voiced stop with a rich, even tone is the very definition of a musical sound. We are not beholden to any preconceived notions about scaling or the mechanics of pipe voicing, but rather allow the pipe, the room and the church musician to give our actions. For it is only when pipe, room, musician and builder come together that musical sounds are created.

Saint Mark's Episcopal Church - LaGrange, Georgia
Schantz Organ, 1976
Tonal Revisions by Robert I. Coulter - Organbuilder, 2009

Great Organ
8' Principal (revoiced)
8' Bordun (wood)
4' Octave
2' Super Octave (from Swell)
III Mixture
8' Basson (Swell)

Swell Organ
8' Quintadena (new)
8' Gemshorn (tenor C)
4' Nachthorn
2 2/3' Nazard (1 1/3' rescaled & repitched)
2' Blockflute (from Great)
8' Trompette (new)
8' Basson

Pedal Organ
16' Gedeckt
8' Octave (Great)
8' Gedeckt (ext)
8' Gedeckt - Swell
4' Choralbass (ext)
16' Contre Trompette (Swell)
8' Basson (Swell)