"For the glory of god! Stay tuned..."
"For the glory of god! Stay tuned..."
Our magnum Opus, this project consisted of the complete reconstruction of the 1907 Massey Memorial Organ housed in Chautauqua Institution's famed open-air amphitheater. This pipe organ contains 5,640 pipes and is the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world.
The organ was originally built by the Warren Church Organ Company of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. Charles Warren was responsible for designing and building the pipe organ for Chautauqua that would be of the symphonic school of tonal design. Mr. Warren designed an organ that would meet the musical demands of the institution and stay within the $25,000 budget. The organ was not completed for the beginning of the 1907 season. It was dedicated in August of that year, just slightly behind schedule. In 1926 the organ had some major work done to it. The M. P. Möller Organ Comapny of Hagerstown, MD was hired to replace the organ's individual note valves. Additionally a new console was installed. This console was removable so that it could be removed and safely stored to protect it from the elements in the off-season. As part of this project there were tonal changes made to the organ. For details, please see the specification below. The organ remained in this state tonally until 1972 when the Möller company was again hired to make changes to the organ. A new movable console was installed and tonal changes made once again.
In 1990, Chautauqua became aware that only about 50% of the organ was functional. Excessive damage to the organ's winding system and windchests coupled with the fact the the original integrity of the organ had been compromised made reconstruction and re-designing of the organ the only feasible option. Fischer Organ Company was hired to remove the entire organ from the chamber and execute the reconstruction project. All pipes were transported to Erie, Pa where they were restored. The physical layout of the organ was redesigned to allow all pipes to speak at the level of tonal egress, directing the sound of the organ unimpeded into the Amphitheater while also creating tuning stability as all pipes are now on one level. All new windchests, reservoirs and structure as well as a new digital multiplex system were installed in a period of eight months. In 2002, the organ's specification was completed with the addition of the 32' Rueckert Bombard extension, named after the donor.
In the 2016-2017 off-season the 1872 Amphitheater was torn down around the organ chamber due to structural instabilities and antiquated systems and a new Amphitheater constructed. In January of 2018, a water leak was discovered immediately above the console. All four 1972 keyboards were damaged beyond repair. They were replaced with new keyboards. The organ was made playable for the 2018 season.
At the end of the 2018 season, an electrical short circuit in another part of the Amphitheater sent high voltage through the organ's control system, causing it to be damaged. These repairs have been made and the organ continues to serve.
Fischer Pipe Organ Tuning and Service is now in its 28th consecutive year of custodial care of this magnificent instrument.
The following links will take you out of our web site and to the indicated source site.
Click HERE to view or download the specification of the Massey Memorial Organ.
We have been licensed to include the following high-tech 360 degree panoramas of The Massey Memorial Organ. NOTE - there are 13 different panoramas in this tour. To advance to the next panorama, please click on our logo within the photograph. You may need to move around the photo to locate our logo.
Click the link below to be taken to Chautauqua Institution's web site. Here you can learn more about the Institution, see the schedule of events for the season and buy tickets.
Click HERE to take you to an article written by Gordon Paulson in The American Organist back in 1995. Please take note of the quotation in the middle by Dr. Daniel Bratton, then President of Chautauqua.
This video is of staff organist Jared Jacobsen playing Hendel's Largo on the Massey Memorial Organ for the very first time in the reconstructed Amphitheater. Pardon the amature quality as this was taken with a cell phone.
Here is another video of Jared Jacobsen playing the Massey Memorial Organ, again as a test run. This recording is of Widor's Toccatta from the 5th Organ Symphony.
Please watch world-renowned organist Diane Bish perform Bach's Toccata and Fuge in D Minor on the Massey Memorial Organ. This video dates back to around 2002, prior to the reconstruction of the Amphitheater.
This video was created by Fredrick Rueckert and contains several historical photographs of the Massey Memorial Organ as well as a few of the reconstructed instrument.
Please take a look at this video of staff organist Jared Jacobsen describing his experience with the Massey Memorial Organ.
This video documents some of the work done by Mark and Dale Fischer, with some assistance from Paul, only two days before the opening of the 2018 season. You can observe the emotion poured into this and every project we do.
Lastly, Take a look at this video of yours truly giving the chamber portion of my tour of the Massey Memorial Organ. This video dates back to 2008 but remains accurate today.