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Geneva's Memorial Pipe Organ
rededicated on June 4, 2006

Geneva Presbyterian Church¡¯s Memorial Organ was installed in 1977 by the Wicks Organ Company. It consisted of 45 ranks of pipes, a 3-manual console, and 4 divisions. Through the years, more pipes were added until it reached 52 stops and 53 ranks of pipes.

This beautiful organ has brought inspiration, comfort and joy to the congregation for more than twenty-five years. However, in 2003, it was apparent that the organ was declining in its function and dependability. The console, particularly, was experiencing disintegration of connectors and circuit cards and other imminent failures. Replacement parts were unavailable. Something had to be done!

In February of 2004, Geneva¡¯s Session approved a fundraising campaign to purchase a new custom-built console and additional Walker digital voices.

It was important that the instrument be versatile in order to meet the diverse needs of the music ministry, to provide strong musical leadership in worship, and to have integrity and character as a solo organ.

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An Organ Committee was appointed and fundraising began in early 2004. There were announcements during worship services and donation envelopes in the pews. Information was available on the patio and in the Geneva Press. Two ¡°goods and services¡± auctions were held and included items donated by members and businesses in the community. Keys and pedals were ¡°sold.¡± Some members donated several thousand of dollars each. The generosity of our congregation surpassed the goal of $185,000 and enabled the installation of a new carillon to enhance our worship and to reach out to the surrounding community.

In April 2005, William Zeiler of EuroTech Pipe Organ Services was engaged to build and install the new console and digital voices. He was assisted throughout the process by Philip Riddick, who also served as the tonal consultant for the organ. The new console has 18 banks of memory with 8 levels of memory per bank. There are 20 general pistons, 6 manual pistons for each of main divisions. There are 4 pistons for the Antiphonal and 4 pistons for the Antiphonal pedal. The Positiv and Antiphonal divisions are floating divisions, playing from any of the four keyboards or pedals. The number of digital ranks added was 65, bringing the total number of ranks to 118. The expanded organ now has 106 voices. The new 4-manual console is beautifully constructed of white oak, rosewood, and burled walnut. The organ was stained to match the other woods of our sanctuary.

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Other changes to the Memorial Organ include reversing the former Great and Positiv pipe divisions. In the new organ design, the Great division is located behind the choir loft, and the Positiv is above the pulpit. The tonal quality of the Principal Chorus was the primary reason for the reversing of these divisions. New digital voices sounding through speakers placed in the lighting trough above the Great division pipes more than doubled the size of Great division. All of the Great digital stops can be put under expression.

The added three new divisions to the organ includes an antiphonal division; a solo division, featuring orchestral voices such as an English Horn and Tuba Mirabilis; and a choir division containing beautiful strings, a clarinet, harp, and celesta. An antiphonal division is virtually a second organ, but controlled at the console, and is located at the rear of the sanctuary. This organ has its roots in the tradition of European cathedrals, where it was used to call the people to worship, to assist in the processional down long center aisles, and to fill the church with glorious sound.

Positiv Organ

Great Organ behind the Choir loft

The pedal division of the organ has more than doubled in size and sonority, giving the organ a rich foundation that was absent from the original instrument. All this is controlled by a four-manual console with multiple levels of memory, giving the organ over one thousand general pistons. The organ is much more Romantic in its overall sound. The original Wicks organ was considered a Neo-Classic organ, containing light wind pressure and a thin texture to the sound. The digital samples that have been added to our organ are taken from Aeolian-Skinner organs, which are characterized by warm and thick diapasons and dark reeds.

This beautiful instrument is dedicated with gratitude for the generous response of the congregation of Geneva Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community.

Organ Committee:
Joanna Capelle, Judy & Tom Jenkins, Julia Meyer, Jan Charlton, Bob Kylander, Jan & Randy Mote, Bill Entwistle, Lynnette McGee, Linda Widdowson.

The pipe organ specifications are viewed by clicking here: Organ Spec 2006-6-4

Many organ music recordings are played in Geneva music links.




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Last updated on April 17, 2010