This text of Fred Pratt Green set to the music of Charles Villiars Stanford (#420, Hymnal 1982) is a very familiar hymn sung in may congregations. It also has the distinction of being the (perhaps unofficial) “National Anthem” of the American Guild of Organists.
The meaning of this text was realized at All Saints’ Episcopal, here in Las Vegas in when Mrs. Janet Ty donated a 18-stop/17-rank tracker action pipe organ as a memorial to her husband and other family members.
It was crafted by Steven Cook (his Opus 7) at his shop in Seattle, Washington, and lovingly assembled and voiced by him on site at All Saints’ in the Spring of 1999. It has been in regular use for most Sunday Services, special Holy Days and the occasional recital.
Over time, the instrument, being in a desert environment would suffer some detrimental effects which would require Mr. Cook to come from time to time to correct. In the Autumn of 2015, Dr. Matthew Estes, Music Director and Dean of the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Guild of Organists spoke to the Vestry about the current state of the organ addressing in particular the lack of air pressure to support the keyboard divisions and the taller bass pipes of the pedal division.
Dr. Estes, The Rev. Michael Link and Mark S.Towne (Chair, All Saints’ Organ Task Force) formed the Task Force. For the remainder of that year, the time was spent with exploring how to approach various builders to consult with on this issue. With a chance meeting between Mark Towne and organ builder Manuel Rosales at another church’s recital, the investigation into the necessary maintenance proceeded. The Task Force met with Janet Ty, and after considerable prayer and discussion, with Janet’s full support, and the approval of the Vestry, the work was awarded to Manuel Rosales.
The All Saints’ organ is a tracker (mechanical action) organ of two manuals and pedal, of a design that was common in organs built in northern Germany in similarly in the Netherlands. It was originally voiced in a historic temperament known as Kellner. In recent years, this temperament was modified to make the instrument more “friendly” to later styles of organ music and to the hymns played on Sunday mornings.
One of the current problems with the organ is the blower. As it was supplying wind to the pedal division as well as the manuals, playing complex chords became problematic, creating a sagging effect. And when the pedals were added, the instrument would tend to lose a fair amount of wind. To remedy this, a separate blower and air reservoir will be added exclusively for the pedal pipes.
Another issue is the original placement of the 16’ Subbass in the Pedal. It was mounted on an offset chest placed directly on the rear of the case, not allowing for the proper dissemination of tone. To correct this, those pipes will be placed on an independent wind chest against the wall behind the case. In addition, two additional 16 foot stops will be added: a new 16’ wood Subbass (which will also be available as a 32’ Resultant) and a 16’ Contra Bassoon. Both of these stops will be extended with 12 additional pipes making them available at 8’ pitch as well. These ranks will be fabricated by Organ Supply Industries. The existing 16’ Subbass will be re-voiced into a Lieblich Gedeckt yielding a softer 16’option on the Pedal. This chest will be electric action. The 8’ Clarinet on the Great will be removed, and be replaced with a Moller Artiste style 8’ Trompette.
There is a target date of Easter of 2017 for completion of this work. Manuel Rosales has already begun the procuring of materials. The organ will be unavailable for about a three week period at a yet undetermined time in the early part of next year. Once the additions and necessary work has been performed, the organ will undergo a full re-voicing.
All of the task force and the Vestry are very excited about this project to enhance an organ that has possessed great potential for the past 17 years. But most of all, we are thankful to Ms. Janet Ty for her vision for a pipe organ at All Saints’. We are proud for her support of our building on that vision, and the anticipation of more opportunities to glorify God in our music!
Organ Upgrade Installation Progress as of March 18, 2018
Progress on the installation of the additions to our pipe organ continues. The photo to the bottom left, taken by a drone earlier this past Thursday afternoon, shows pipes being fitted onto the windchest. This windchest has now been securely mounted on the wall behind the organ case, which will now define and project their tone better than when they were mounted on the back of the actual case. The tall wooden pipes are the bottom notes of the existing 16′ Subbass. The work continues so stay tuned.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Chair, All Saints’ Organ Task Force