A little history: the first Dyer organ was assembled while I was in high school. My father and grandfather surprised me late one afternoon, with a truck load of old Moller organ that was being removed from a church in middle Tennesse. Unfortunately, the pipes were at the bottom of the stack! But I eventually made an organ out of it, and practiced organ lessons on it for several years.
What would be our first project where money was exchanged, was built while I was a college junior, for the local Carson-Newman College, using parts willed to the school by the estate of a deceased organ repair man in Knoxville.
From the time I was a student in the Music Department at the University Tennessee, and for many years afterward, in addition to being in the organ business, I was also a church organist/choirmaster. At one point, I was even the President of the congregation, and wound up overseeing the hiring of a new minister.
But in the early 2000’s, while our firm was engaged in making additions to the already nice, but undersized Aeolian-Skinner organ at Church Street United Methodist Church, in Knoxville, I gave up my seat on the bench and moved my membership there, due in no small part to the fine music program. The organ, which had started life as an instrument of 3 manuals and 46 ranks, has 4 manuals and 84 ranks today, with preparations for 90, and includes both a large Solo division, with a wide pallet of colorful sounds, and a stand-alone Antiphonal in the back balcony that can also be played from that location. It is an outstanding instrument in every way, that fills the room with a full, rich sound, which, even at FFF, is not overbearing. It has a “wraps its arms around you” kind of sound that supports and makes the congregation WANT to sing. And sing, they do!
On All Saint’s Day 2019, I attended what may well have been the most moving church experience of my life. The nave was full, the choir and instrumentalists were spilling out into the center of the chancel, the congregational singing was good, and the main event, the Rutter “Requiem” was nothing short of outstanding. I am man enough to admit that my eyes were moist throughout much of the service, and I went away thinking, “THIS IS WHY WE DO IT!”
I am talking, of course, about building pipe organs. We have done it 104 times now. And while each experience draws on the history of our previous work, each organ has always been a creation of its own; something special for the church involved; something to help its congregation sing well.
We stand ready to build an outstanding organ for your church; one that will wrap its musical arms around YOUR congregation and entice them to sing, too.
Be in touch. We would love to hear from you.
Though not huge, the new organ at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Jackson, Mississippi is an eclectic instrument, designed first to accompany Sunday morning church services, but also to authentically play a wide variety of compositional styles from centuries of organ literature.
The basis of the organ is the previous instrument, originally located in downtown Jackson, and moved to St. Philip’s after the former church bought a new instrument. Built by the M. P. Moller Co., in Hagerstown, MD, that organ was rather tightly installed in the loft above the altar at St. Philip’s, many pipes difficult to reach for tuning, with some mechanical parts of the organ inaccessible for repair without major dismantling of other parts of the organ.
Only pipes from the previous instrument were reused in the new organ. All of the mechanical parts, the wind system (now located on a shelf behind the organ space), wind chests on which the pipes sit and play, and enclosures that allow the organist to control the volume level of certain sections by opening and closing what may be compared to vertical venetian blinds, are all new, operated and played by a new console and electrical control system, connected from the nave floor to the organ loft by a very small fiber-optic “wire”. Signals are sent from the keys to the organ one tiny burst of light at a time.
Generally speaking, if of good manufacture, and well treated, organ pipes can last for centuries. Recently, pipes of the organ at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, have been deemed salvageable for reuse in a mechanically new organ following the devastating fire and subsequent bath of water that destroyed the wooden structure of the organ. So carrying pipes forward from one instrument to another is not only possible; it is good stewardship.
Of St. Philip’s organ’s 35 ranks, or rows of pipes, 16 are totally new. Each rank is made up of enough pipes of the same shape to play from the bottom to the top of each of the three manual keyboards and the pedalboard, a total of 2098 pipes. The pipes are made of various metals including alloys of tin and lead, plus zinc, aluminum and wood.
The 32’ Fagott stop in the Pedal, plays a note that vibrates at 16 cycles per second, while pipes of the highest pitch are about the size of a pencil and play about 8,000 cycles. The longest pipes in the facade front are about 19’ .
The three manual oak console is on a movable platform and can be repositioned for additional seating in the choir, or to allow the audience to more closely watch the organist play in a concert situation.
Wind to blow the organ is generated by a 2 HP rotary fan blower, in a specially fitted sound-proof room behind the robing room.
We await a good picture of the completed installation.
This three-manual, 20 rank organ would be a fine fit for a church of up to 400 seats, and is in mechanically excellent condition. It is available at a reasonable cost, and can be revamped in our shop to fit a variety of situations. The facades, which are totally separate from the main chests of the organ, can be easily rearranged to visually fit a new installation.
Please write or call for additional details.