Monday, October 10, 2011

We Have a New Organ

by Michael Denton
The Wurlitzer 3 manual ‘church’ organ is a magnificent instrument.  All sounding stops have been digitally reproduced and very closely resemble a pipe organ.
Each manual, Swell, Great and Choir (from top to bottom) has 12 speaking stops, and the Pedal section also has 12 stops.  In addition to the 48 ‘speaking stops’ the organ has Chimes on the Swell manual.
The organ sounds are described as “Principal” (Diapasons), “Flutes,” “Strings,” and “Reeds.”  The Chimes form the Percussion sounds (equivalent to ‘ranks of pipes’ on a pipe organ.)
Each manual can be coupled to one of the other two by way of “Couplers.”  These “Couplers” are operated either by thumb tabs below the manuals, or by toe pistons above the pedal board.  The organ also has 6 sets of ‘pre-sets’ for each manual, and 6 ‘general pre-sets’ which will operate the entire organ.  There are six sets of memory bank for the ‘general pre-sets’ allowing different organists to select and retain their own preferred registration (the use of different stops in combination.)
And last but by no means least, the organ is equipped with three expression pedals – one for each manual – which can be operated individually or in a combined fashion.  There’s also one “Crescendo” pedal which will “pull out the stops” as it’s pressed down and a “Tutti” button and toe-piston which will immediately bring on the “Full Organ.)
The organ is capable of providing excellent ‘colour tones’ with very quiet stops being used for those quiet reflective moments, building up to a much fuller and richer (and louder) sound overall.  All this technology is supported by 8 speakers; 6 general ‘rank’ speakers and two sub-woofers.  It has a lot of power!
As a matter of interest, the organ at its current volume level is probably no more than 20% of its maximum capacity.  If I were to “open up” the speakers to full volume, we just might interfere with landing aircraft!  Certainly we’d have to replace the roof of the church as we would literally “raise the roof.”   
As your Director of Music and organist, I am still experimenting with various combinations of sound.  I trust you will bear with me during the ‘learning curve’ of operating this magnificent instrument. 
I’m extremely grateful to Session for their foresight in purchasing this instrument.  It will hopefully last us many years and provide an enhanced sound to our worship services.  I wish to particularly thank Rev. Irwin Cunningham, Mrs. Jean Strong and Mr. Mark Johansson for their part in coming to scout out the instrument.  I would also like to thank all those generous people who have contributed to the Organ Fund over the past years which has made this acquisition possible.
If I’m playing it too loudly (even at its 20% capacity) I’m sure I’ll hear about it.  But when commenting, please also reflect on those quieter moments when the organ is played very quietly and gently!
In his dedication of the new organ, Rev. Irwin also thanked the Milne family, who gave the gift of music to SPPC  with their donation of our first organ.  It has served the congregation faithfully for twenty years.  We hope to pass on that gift to another congregation.

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