Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc.

producing organs that do the job with style

First Baptist Church - Opus 60

Jackson, MS
5 Manuals, 155 Ranks; Year complete: 2004

The first half of the last century left the United States with a legacy of magnificent organs by first-rate builders such as Skinner, Casavant, Möller and Kimball, but unfortunately, many of these instruments were later spoiled under the influence of the classical revival. They were often rebuilt with neo-baroque accretions poorly fitted to the concept of the original organ. Transforming such a radically rebuild organ into one that possesses an artistic integrity is by no means a simple task. In the case of the First Baptist Church in Jackson, the issue was further complicated by the need to provide an instrument adequate to the church’s wide-ranging liturgical requirements, also taking into account the constraints of a very large building that seats over 3,000 and has acoustics that are far from lively. Quimby Pipe Organs responded to this challenge by building a five-manual-and-pedal instrument of 155 ranks in the Anglo-American “Romantic-Symphonic” style. The commission required them to redevelop high-pressure voicing techniques that were lost for three quarters of the century.

The original kernel of the First Baptist Church’s instrument was a four-manual-and-pedal 72-rank instrument, Opus 535, which E.M. Skinner & Son constructed for the church in 1939. By all accounts, this was a fine instrument, and it is unfortunate that it was subsequently rebuild out of all recognition. M.P. Möller rebuilt the Skinner organ in 1972, adding a number of stops that were considered essential in the light of the classical fashion then prevailing. The major change, however, came in 1989 at the time when the worship space was quadrupled in size. The Canadian firm of Keates-Geissler radically enlarged the organ, resulting in an instrument of five manuals with no fewer than 231 ranks. In their rebuild, Keates-Geissler utilized much of the pipework from the 1929 five-manual-and-pedal Casavant Frères organ, Opus 1312, build for the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. For a long time many people considered this organ to be Casavant’s finest instrument. Keates-Geissler revoiced much of the Skinner and Casavant pipework, lowering the pressure and adding a great deal of additional upperwork, so that the instrument ended up with more than a hundred ranks of mixtures. The organ proved, with the passage of time, to be unsatisfactory in serving the musical requirements of worship.
Realizing that radical change was called for, Larry Black, the church’s minister of music, and Any Swanner, associate minister of music and senior organist, contacted John Obetz to serve as consultant. At the end of the process, Quimby Pipe Organs Inc. of Warrensburg, Missouri, was selected to carry out the task of creating a new instrument that would have artistic integrity, that would be adequate to the diverse musical requirements of the church, and that would make use of the best pipework from the old organs. In order to accomplish these goals, Michael Quimby, tonal director and president, and Eric Johnson, head voicer, made a careful study of techniques of pipe construction, voicing, and winding that had been abandoned during the classical revival that began in the 1930s. In particular, they visited the Skinner organ, Opus 722, in Woolsey Hall at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and examined the Kimball organ, Opus 7119, in the War Memorial Auditorium in Worcester, Massachusetts. They also drew on their extensive experience of rebuilding and restoring older instruments, especially the rebuild four-manual-and-pedal Casavant organ, Opus 553 of 1912, which Quimby Pipe Organs had installed in the Jacoby Symphony Hall, Jacksonville, Florida, in 2001. Using the knowledge garnered in this way, the Quimby firm took the best of the pipework from the church’s previous organs, revoiced and rescaled it to fit with Michael Quimby’s concept of the instrument, and added an additional 64 ranks to create the new organ. Nineteen ranks that remained from the Skinner organ, nine ranks from Möller’s rebuild, and 63 ranks from the Royal York Hotel Casavant were incorporated.

The new organ, which is Quimby Pipe Organs’ Opus 60, has eleven divisions spread over five manuals and pedals, with 155 ranks and over 9,000 pipes. Most of the instrument is located in chambers on either side of the baptistery, which is behind the choir at the front of the church, behind flamed copper pipe facades from the Keates-Geissler installation. The Antiphonal and Echo division are separated from the rest of the instrument at the back of the church. The entire organ in estimated to weigh approximately 35 tons. The key action is electro-pneumatic throughout, and each windchest is designed to produce the optimum speech for the particular pipes placed on it. Thus, there are new electro-pneumatic pallet slider windchests in the Blackinton style for the lower pressure fluework (5” wp), new pitman windchests for most of the higher-pressure fluework and a majority of reeds (7 ½ “, 10”, 15” and 20” wp), and unit windchests for various reeds and extended ranks. A few Pedal and offset windchests retained from the Skinner and Casavant instrument were restored and incorporated into the new organ. The organ is winded by 35 cone-valve reservoirs, which are supplied by three Spencer blowers and one Laukhuff blower, amounting to 57 horsepower in all. The six enclosed divisions have swell boxes with two-inch thick swell shades. The woodwork from the previous drawstop console was restored and fitted with new components. The console is equipped with a solid-state combination action with 256 memory levels and all the usual modern aids to registration.

This is obviously and organ constructed very much in the “Heroic Style”, and unusual for recent decades in being a high-pressure instrument, with the Great, Choir and Swell fluework at 7 ½“ wind, and wind pressures elsewhere in the instrument of up to 30”. The instrument is definitely heroic, particularly the exceptionally weighty Pedal division, as it needs to be in this building, but great care was exercised throughout to ensure that the voicing does not sound forced. Eric Johnson, Quimby Pipe Organs’ head voicer, deserves particular credit for voicing the reeds, the crowning glory of the organ, in a style reminiscent of the work of William Cyples Jones (1874-1967), who voiced the reeds for many of the finest organs in early 20th century England. There are no new digital stops anywhere in the organ, and three of the four 32’ Pedal stops are full length all the way to low C. The existing electronic Schulmerich carillon bells were retained. Despite being designed as a “Romantic-Symphonic” organ, the instrument possesses a chameleon-like versatility in its ability to handle all styles of organ music, including compositions from the Baroque and Classic period. For example, played with the Second Diapason, the Great chorus has a classical feel to it, displaying a marked kinship in its timbre with North German organs, and as such it is ideal for playing Bach. On the other hand, with the big (scale 38) First Diapason drawn, the effect shows kinship to large Romantic instruments such as the Arthur Harrison organ at St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. Even theatre organ effects are possible- there is an extended Tibia on the Orchestral division (with a tremolo that really makes it “sob”!), and a 16’ Diaphone on the Pedal. The later forms the bass to the Fanfare 8’ Tuba Mirabilis, making it available as a 16’ stop on the Pedal. Some stops are of unique construction. An instance if this is the Great 8’ Harmonic Flute, which is of large scale and enormous power, and has extraordinarily low cut-ups in the treble. In the voicing room the sound was piercing and painful to hear, but in the church it is by no means too loud. Rather, it has an unusual haunting quality, and its sound seems almost to float around the room.

The installation of the organ in the church began in June 2003. Joyce Jones played the dedication recital on August 20, 2004, and the Jackson AGO chapter in conjunction with the church sponsored a recital by Ken Cowan on February 18, 2005. Since that time, many visitors have examined and played the organ, and the instrument has proved itself to bean ideal vehicle for handling the varied requirements of the Baptist worship service, as well as displaying enormous versatility in the performance of the solo organ repertoire from all periods and schools. Michael Quimby has achieved a remarkable unity and integrity in the tonal design of this instrument in spite of its disparate origins. The overall concept is probably closer to the original Skinner organ of 1939 than to anything else, and although only 19 ranks of the E.M. Skinner & Son instrument have survived to be incorporated into the new organ, one can but hope that were he still alive, Mr. Skinner might approve of what has now been done. In its revival and development of the “Heroic Style” of instrument from the late 1920s through the early 1930s, the First Baptist Church organ is a milestone in the evolution of the American pipe organ, and as such it has already begun to make its mark on the musical life of Jackson and beyond.

Associates of Quimby Pipe Organs Inc. involved were Joshua Bach, Andrew Burkhart, Bart Colliver, Mark Cline, Chris Emerson, Charles Ford, Ian Hagan, Paul Jeffries, Eric Johnson, Larry Kinder, Matt Mahon, Wes Martin, Brad McGuffey, Joseph Nielsen, Gary Olden, Erik Otter, Michael Quimby, Janille Rehkop, Mike Shields, John Speller, and Elizabeth Viscusi.

Organ Specification

 

GREAT ORGAN (flues 7 1/2" wp, reeds 15" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Double Open Diapason 16'  
First Diapason 8'  
Second Diapason 8'  
Harmonic Flute 8'  
Bourdon 8'  
Gamba 8'  
Quint 5 1/3'  
Octave 4'  
Principal 4'  
Harmonic Flute 4'  
Stopped Flute 4'  
Twelfth 2 2/3'  
Fifteenth 2'  
Chorus Mixture IV 1 1/3'  
Sharp Mixture III 2/3'  
Trombone 16'  
Trumpet 8'  
Clarion 4'  
Cor de Gabriel 8' from Antiphonal
Great to Great 16'  
Great Unison Off    
Great to Great 4'  
Fanfare on Great    
Fanfare on Great 4'  
MIDI on II    

 

SWELL ORGAN (flues 7 1/2" wp, reeds 15" wp)
NamePitchCompositionDescription
Violone 16'    
Bourdon 16'    
Diapason 8'    
Geigen Diapason 8'    
Stopped Flute 8'    
Viole de Gamba 8'    
Voix Celeste 8'    
Flauto Dolce 8'    
Flute Celeste 8'    
Octave 4'    
Flauto Traverso 4'    
Chimney Flute 4'    
Fugara 4'    
Nazard 2 2/3'    
Fifteenth 2'    
Flautino 2'    
Tierce 1 3/5'    
Plein jeu IV 2 2/3'    
Mixture III 1'    
Contra Trumpet 16'    
Trumpet 8'    
Oboe 8'    
Vox Humana 8' metal Austin
Clarion 4'    
Oboe Clarion 4'    
Tremolo      
Cor de Gabriel 8'   from Antiphonal
Swell to Swell 16'    
Swell Unison Off      
Swell to Swell 4'    
Fanfare on Swell      
MIDI on III      

 

CHOIR ORGAN (flues and reeds 7 1/2" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Diapason 8'  
Melodia 8'  
Gedeckt 8'  
Gemshorn 8'  
Gemshorn Celeste 8'  
Erzähler 8'  
Erzähler Celeste 8'  
Octave 4'  
Wald Flute 4'  
Rohrflute 4'  
Twelfth 2 2/3'  
Fifteenth 2'  
Flageolet 2'  
Seventeenth 1 3/5'  
Nineteenth 1 1/3'  
Mixture IV 1 1/3'  
Fagotto 16'  
Trumpet 8'  
Cromorne 8'  
Clarion 4'  
Tremolo    
Zimbelstern    
Cor de Gabriel 8' from Antiphonal
Choir to Choir 16'  
Choir Unison Off    
Choir to Choir 4'  
Fanfare on Choir    
MIDI on I    

 

ORCHESTRAL ORGAN (flues 10" wp, reeds 15" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Tibia 16'  
Contra Gamba 16'  
Tibia 8' ext
Gross Flute 8'  
Viola Pomposa 8'  
Viola Pomposa Celeste 8'  
Gross Gamba 8'  
Gross Gamba Celeste 8'  
Dulcet II 8'  
Tibia 4' ext
Octave Geigen 4'  
Orchestral Flute 4'  
Tibia 2 2/3' ext
Piccolo Quint 2 2/3'  
Tibia 2' ext
Piccolo 2'  
Tibia 1 3/5' ext
Tibia 1 3/5' ext
Tibia 1' ext
Orchestral Basson 16'  
French Horn 8'  
English Horn 8'  
Corno di Basseto 8'  
Orchestral Oboe 8'  
Vox Humana 8'  
Tremolo    
Harp    
Celeste    
Chimes    
Orch. to Orch. 16'  
Orch. Unison Off    
Orch. to Orch. 4'  
Cor de Gabriel 8' from Antiphonal
Fanfare on Orchestral    
MIDI on IV    

 

CONTINUO ORGAN (flues and reeds 5" wp)
NamePitch
Rohrflöte 8'
Quintaton 8'
Spitz Principal 4'
Koppel Flöte 4'
Octave 2'
Larigot 1 1/3'
Sifflöte 1'
Scharf III 2/3'
Terz Zimbel III 1'
Krummhorn 8'
Rohr Schalmei 4'
Tremolo  
Chimes  
Continuo Unison Off  

 

FANFARE ORGAN (flues 15" wp, chorus reeds 20" wp, Tuba Mirabilis 30" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Stentorphone 8'  
Flauto Mirabilis 8'  
Stentor Octave 4'  
Tierce Mixture VI 2 2/3'  
Bombarde 16'  
Tuba Mirabilis 8'  
Harmonic Tuba 8'  
Quint Tromba 5 1/3'  
Tuba Clarion 4'  
Cor de Gabriel 8' from Antiphonal
Fanfare Unison Off    

 

ANTIPHONAL ORGAN (flues and reeds 5" wp, Cor de Gabriel 20" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Diapason 8'  
Gedeckt 8'  
Octave 4'  
Twelfth 2 2/3'  
Fifteenth 2'  
Contra Trumpet 16' ext
Trumpet 8'  
Clarion 4' ext
Cor de Gabriel 8'  
Tuba Mirabilis 8' from Fanfare
Fanfare on Antiph.    
MIDI on V    

 

ECHO ORGAN (flues and reeds 6" wp)
NamePitch
Gedeckt 8'
Klein Erzähler II 8'
Harmonic Flute 4'
Corno D'Amour 8'
Chimes  
Tremolo  
Echo to Echo 4'

 

ANTIPHONAL PEDAL ORGAN (flues 5" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Bourdon 16'  
Diapason 8'  
Bourdon 8' ext
Octave 4' ext
Contra Trumpet 16' from Antiphonal
Trumpet 8' from Antiphonal
Clarion 4' from Antiphonal

 

PEDAL ORGAN (flues 6" & 7 1/2" wp, reeds 15" & 25" wp)
NamePitchDescription
Open Wood Diapason 32'  
Contra Bourdon 32'  
Open Wood Diapason 16'  
First Diapason 16'  
Second Diapason 16' from Great
Subbass 16' ext
Violone 16'  
Contra Gamba 16' from Orchestral
Gemshorn 16'  
Bourdon 16' from Swell
Gross Quint 10 2/3'  
Octave 8'  
Principal 8'  
Open Flute 8' ext
Stopped Flute 8' ext
Violone 8' ext
Gamba 8' from Orchestral
Gemshorn 8' ext
Bourdon 8' from Swell
Gross Tierce 6 2/5'  
Quint 5 1/3' ext
Choral Bass 4'  
Flute 4'  
Mixture IV 2 2/3'  
Contra Trombone 32'  
Contra Trumpet 32'  
Tuba Mirabilis 16' ext
Ophicleide 16' ext
Trumpet 16' ext
Trombone 16' from Great
Trumpet 16' from Swell
Basson 16' from Orchestral
Fagotto 16' from Choir
Tromba 8' ext
Trumpet 8'  
Trumpet 8' from Great
Basson 8' from Orchestral
Fagotto 8' from Choir
Tromba Clarion 4' ext
Clarion 4' ext
Basson 4' from Orchestral
Cor de Gabriel 8' from Antiphonal
Pedal Unison Off    
Fanfare on Pedal    

 

BELL ORGAN
Name
Flemish Bells (Sch)
Celesta (Sch)
Harp (Sch)

 

COUPLERS
NamePitch
Great to Pedal 8'
Swell to Pedal 8'-4'
Choir to Pedal 8'-4'
Orch to Pedal 8'
Cont to Pedal 8'
Ant-Echo to Pedal 8'
Swell to Great 16'-8'-4'
Choir to Great 16'-8'-4'
Orch to Great 16'-8'-4'
Cont to Great 8'
Ant-Echo to Great 16'-8'-4'
Orch to Swell 8'
Great to Choir 8'
Swell to Choir 16'-8'-4'
Orch to Choir 16'-8'-4'
Ant-Echo to Choir 8'
Pedal to Choir 8'
All Swells to Swell  
Manual Transfer  

 

COMBINATION ACTION
Name
Generals 1-16
Great Divisionals 1-8
Swell Divisionals 1-8
Choir Divisionals 1-8
Orchestral Divisionals 1-8
Orchestral Divisionals 1-8
Continuo Divisionals 1-5
Antiphonal Echo Divisionals 1-5
Pedal Divisionals 1-5
Antiphonal Pedal Divisionals 1-3
Antiphonal Pedal Divisionals 1-3
Set Piston

 

REVERSIBLES
Name
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Orch to Pedal
Fanfare to Pedal
Continuo to Pedal
Swell to Great
Choir to Great
Orch to Great
Continuo to Great
Ant-Echo to Great
Swell to Choir
Orch to Swell
Fanfare to Orch
Manual Transfer
All Swells (with indicator light)
Zimbelstern
Contra Trombone 32
Open Wood Diapason 32
Contra Bourdon 32
Sforzando (with indicator light)

 

ACTION
Name
Electro-pneumatic

Quimby Pipe Organs Inc.
P O Box 434
Warrensburg, Missouri 64093

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