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Catalyst 2.0 Prayer Guide : Praise the Lord With the Organ by Ann Posey


Praise the Lord with the Organ   

by Ann Posey  

Psalm 150:4b:  “Praise God with stringed instruments and organs.”   

The pipe organ at Second Baptist was originally built and installed by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois, in 1928 at a cost of $12,000. The previous sanctuary also contained a small pipe organ which was destroyed in the fire that took the sanctuary as well.  Once installed, the organ had 5 divisions: Swell, Great, Choir, Pedal and Echo playable on a horseshoe shaped console with 3 keyboards and pedal.  

The church has used good stewardship in maintaining this initial investment throughout the last 86 years. The original specifications followed the English tradition. In 1969, four ranks were added – a 2’flute and a three rank mixture – giving more brilliance to the sound.   

In 1980 a generous bequest allowed the addition of 11 ranks which offered more opportunity for different colors and provided a new “state of the art” console. In 1993, the George Hoech family provided for the addition of the trumpet en chamade, mounted on the Echo organ, along with a later major renovation with additional ranks. The organ is now equipped with MIDI, transposer, master stop processor, piston sequencer, and additional pistons.   

With the recent Catalyst initiative, we have been able to correct the issues related to the 1980 work.  For about five years, we were unable to use five or six ranks (a rank is a set of pipes, one per key, of the same tone color) of the most colorful sounds. In recent weeks, my husband has commented on how much he is enjoying the additional colors of the instrument.   

Lately, I had the opportunity to play the organ in another local church. Although the instrument is in good condition, it is much smaller and is not as flexible and easy to use as the one at Second Baptist.  Having played the other pipe organs in Liberty, we are blessed to have an instrument that has a range of sounds useful in worship.  

 As with anything, human or mechanical that is 86 years old, some things wear out and need replacing.  At the time of construction, the Wicks Company was in a good period of work. Our instrument is tuned twice a year at a cost of $800 each tuning. Over the next four years, in addition to tuning, we should spend about $2000 a year for replacing parts that are wearing out.   

The pipe organ is not the only instrument appropriate for worship and we are blessed to have many pianists and other instrumentalists who generously offer their talents in worship.  The pipe organ, with its many colorful sounds does provide good  support for congregational singing as well as choral accompaniments and a variety of service music – some based on hymns, and some from the classic organ repertoire.  

As you worship through Preludes, Offertories, and Postludes, and singing hymns accompanied by the organ, thank God that through the first Catalyst we were able to do significant repair work to the organ.    


Posted by Terri Soper at 12:00 AM
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