"For the glory of god! Stay tuned..."
"For the glory of god! Stay tuned..."
In February of 1975, a frozen sprinkler line above the pipe organ at St. Peter Cathedral burst pouring thousands of gallons of water through the organ. The damage was far too extensive to consider repairs so the organ was replaced with a new Casavant in1977. This instrument has been under the care of Fischer Organ Company since its installation. In 1999 the instrument was updated with a digital control system. All new drawknobs and rockers were installed. Four digital voices were added to the organ: 32' Sub-Bourdon, 32; Montre, 32' Contra Trumpet and 8' Flute Celeste (playable on both the Recit and Positiv) Below are some photos of the organ and the installation of the control system.
We remain the curators of this instrument today.
When the newly formed Church of the Covenant was being built in 1929, the congregation commissioned a four manual pipe organ by the E. M. Skinner Company of Boston, Massachusetts. Installed that same year, this organ had many distinctive stops imitative of orchestral sounds, including a French Horn, English Horn, and Clarinet. In addition, the builder had developed a number of shimmering softer voices that were included in this organ. The pipes resided in chambers above and west of the chancel, as well as in enclosed rooms above and behind the balcony.
The Tellers Organ Company, a local firm, rebuilt the organ and replaced some ranks (sets of pipes) in 1959.
In 1982, through a generous gift of Mrs. Margharita Vicary, the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio, built a new organ that retained many of the rare and exquisite ranks of the original Skinner instrument. In all, the Schantz instrument retained 49 ranks, including 24 stops of the Skinner organ, and included an additional 54 ranks. The Schantz instrument now boasted five manuals, 103 ranks, and a total of 6,037 individual pipes. The pipes ranged in size from a grand 32 foot bass pipe to a pipe smaller than a pencil. The original pipe locations were retained, with the addition of chests cantilevered from the rear wall of the balcony.
The crowning stop of the organ, the “Trompette en Chamade” is positioned horizontally from these cantilevered chests, allowing the sound to soar about the rest of the organ for regal and festive occasions.
The Vicary Foundation provided a challenge grant in 2002 to spur a technological update to the console and switching systems of the Organ, as well as to complete some repairs on the largest 32 foot pedal pipes. Fischer Organ Company was hired to execute this project. This grant and the support of music lovers of First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant has brought us to the exciting fruition of this project, allowing the Sanctuary organ and the McBrier Chapel organ to be played from the main 5 manual console.
The playing controls of the rebuilt console are greatly enhanced. The console system is now solid-state and multiplexed, and the entire organ of 103 ranks, 6,000+ pipes on 30 chests, 4 swell boxes, chimes, and harp are now controlled through only 12 wires between the console and the pipe chambers.
The Vicary Organ is the largest pipe organ in northwestern Pennsylvania.
The Austin organ built for First United Methodist Church is their opus #1450 and was originally three manuals and 50 stops. Austin was contracted during the mid-1960's to add four stops to the organ and replace others. By 1998 the leather had reached an extended state of deterioration and needed to be replaced. Fischer Organ Company was hired to replace the original Austin actions, update the organ's control system with a new multiplex system, add a ten rank Antiphonal, including a Trumpet en Chamade and add some discrete digital voices. The organ is now 64 pipe voices plus eight digital voices. Fischer Pipe Organ Tuning and Service continues to service this instrument today.
This magnificent Felgemaker organ was originally built around the turn of the century. Details are unclear with respect to whether the original instrument was mechanical action or tubular pneumatic because of the lack of original documentation. In the 1950's the Tellers Organ Company updated the original slider chests to electro-pneumatic note actions and stop actions. Fischer Organ Company was hired to rebuild the entire organ in 1999. The control system was replaced with a multiplex system. The electro-pneumatic slider motors were replaced with electric solenoids. All reservoirs were releathered as were all organ actions. Discrete digital voices were added. New keyboards and rocker tablets were installed.
This instrument remains under our care today.
Below is a partial list of our current customers:
First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX (pictured)
Second Baptist Church, San Antonio, TX
Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York
Saint John's Lutheran Church, San Antonio, TX
Central Christian Church, San Antonio, TX
Saint Peter's Cathedral, Erie, PA
Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, TX
Oak Hills Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX
Church of the Resurrection, Episcopal, San Antonio, TX
First United Methodist Church, Erie, PA (pictured on our home page)
First Baptist Church, Richardson, TX
Immaculate Conception Church, Willoughby, OH
First United Methodist Church, Warren, PA
First Baptist Church, Garland, TX
First Presbyterian Church, Beeville, TX
Grace Lutheran Church, State College, PA
Saint Mary's Church, Victoria, TX
Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory, Victoria, TX
First English Lutheran, Victoria, TX
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton RC, Keller, TX
Grace Episcopal Church, Weslaco, TX
Grace Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX
Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, San Marcos, TX
Saint George's Episcopal Church, Austin, TX