The addition of a pipe organ to a church sanctuary offers a wonderful opportunity to enhance and complement the visual aesthetics of the room. With only one exception, our firm has never built an organ that did not have at least a few visible pipes.
In order to successfully integrate the organ visually, it must blend with other architectural elements of the room. Since most churches do not want the organ to dominate, we strive for a design that is handsome, but unobtrusive.
First United Methodist Church, in Bristol, Tennessee, is an excellent example. Designed in the early 1970's, without consideration for the installation of a real organ, the room presented some unusual challenges. Though not particularly good acoustically, the room has some interesting visual elements. The interior surfaces are sculptured block, and massive roof support trusses are visible. A handsome chunk-glass window is neatly tucked away behind a false accent wall at the front. Interior furniture appointments continue the massive, blocky design, and are constructed of pecan.
The Organ Committee selected a stoplist consisting of two-manuals and 25 ranks. For flexibility, both manual divisions are expressive, with 8' Principal stops of the Great and Pedal forming facades.
The Great is situated on a platform to the right, constructed over a stairwell, and is only a little more that 3' deep. Tuning access is gained through the bottom of the case, and the tuner stands on a walkboard between the treble ends of the chests.
The Swell, on the left, is suspended on a beam supported at its right end by the false wall, and on its left end by a 1" diameter rod, connected to the roof truss.
Since there was no possibility for a central blower location, both sections have separate blowers, the Great in the base, and the Swell in the uppermost section of casework. Wind regulators throughout the organ are mounted vertically.
The distinctive visual design of the organ continues the blocky feel of the interior furnishings, without obscuring the window. Vertical posts in the organ facade continue past the tops and bottoms of the case to give a massive structural appearance that ties in with the roof truss design. Pipe shades are of red oak, with natural finish to complement the wood in the face of the altar.
The 16' Subbass rank is outfitted with 2 valves per pipe to allow the bottom octave to serve as the softer, lower end of the Great 16' Pommer.
|GREAT - (expressive)|
|8'||Erzahler Celeste TC||49||Pipes|
|SWELL - (expressive)|
|8'||Viola Celeste TC||49||Pipes|
|16'||(Gt.)Pommer (soft wind)|