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Casavant Pipe Organ

The First Lutheran Church organ is a 25 stop, 36 rank instrument with two manuals and pedal, designed by Lawrence I. Phelps and built by the Casavant Frères Pipe Organ Company of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. The organ was completed in July of 1973.

All of the sound-producing parts of the organ are in full view as you look at the organ from a distance, for the organ is self-contained and free-standing. Its pipes are grouped compactly within the case yet in a manner which allows them to speak out with freedom and clarity. The encasement of the organ in oak, allows the pipe tones to blend together, to resonate them as in a piano case, as well as to project them into the Sanctuary.

When you look at the organ, you are really seeing three distinct organs, each one called a “division” of the total instrument. Each division is played with its own keyboard, two of them by the hands (the manuals) and one by the feet (the pedalboard)

The division in the upper center of the instrument, the Hauptwerk (literally “head section”) is played from the lower manual. This most important division of the organ contains some of the boldest and fullest sounding pipes of the organ. The drawknobs are to the player’s left.

The Schwellwerk is played on the top manual, and its drawknobs are to the player’s right. Its pipes are behind swell-shades or shutters which may be closed by a pedal to reduce the volume of sound. The Schwellwerk therefore is said to be enclosed, or “under expression”. Some of the lightest and most delicate pipes are found in this division. Because of the variable volume, this division is oftentimes used to accompany instrumentalists, choirs and soloists. The third division, the Pedal contains the longest and lowest pitched pipes of the organ. Its pipes are housed in the twin cases towering on the left and right sides of the organ. The tall polished tin pipes in the opening or facade of these two towers are the Principal, or Prestant pipes of the Pedal Division. The tin pipes in front of the Hauptwerk division in the top center of the organ are also Principal pipes. This age-old placement of Principals in the facade of the organ case is based on the idea that Principals are the most important and characteristic voice in the organ. They are truly the heart of pipe organ tone.

By means of couplers, which may be pulled by hand-drawknob, or engaged by foot lever, the Schwellwerk may also be played on the Hauptwerk manual, and both of the manual divisions may be played on the pedalboard. Thus, the three different organs, played separately, in alternation, or together, form a whole instrument of great diversity.

There are two main types of sound sources in the organ: flue pipes, of which flutes and principals are two kinds, and reeds, such as the Trompete, Fagott, Schalmei and Krummhorn. The flue pipes are either metal and round in shape (such as the facade principals, or square in shape, and made out of wood, such as the large Subbass pipes which are outside the case in the rear of the organ on either side. All flue pipes employ a principle not much different than that employed in a child’s toy whistle. The reed pipes are also made out of metal. A flat double metal reed at the base of the pipe is caused to vibrate by the passage of air, a sound emerges and passes into the resonator (the only part of reed pipes visible to the eye). The pipes of the organ divisions are all arranged by graduated sizes in rows called ranks, each rank having a distinctive sound quality. The pipes in a rank, each played by a key of its manual, form a continuous scale of notes — 58 in the manual divisions, and 32 in the Pedal.

The operation by which the playing of a key opens a smal1 valve or pallet, to admit air under pressure to the individual pipe, is called the “key action.” Our organ employs a purely mechanical linkage between the key and the pallet, instead of the electro-pneumatic and direct electric systems which came into use in the mid-nineteenth century and have dominated organ-building ever since. The mechanical system is the earliest type of organ action. Since the 1920’s, when the writings and pleas of Albert Schweitzer and other organ savants took focus in what has become the “organ reform movement”, mechanical-action has been used nearly exclusively in European organ building, and more recently among enlightened North American builders as well. If one looked in the back of the organ case, you would be able to see some of the levers, roller bars and wooden tracker rods of this mechanical key action, which has come to be known as “tracker-action”. Because of this direct linkage, the speaking of the pipe is simultaneous with the playing of the key, and is even responsive to the manner in which the key is depressed and released. The only use of electricity in this organ is in driving the blower motor. Because of the sensitivity which the player experiences with this type of action, because of the simplicity and great reliability of the system, the modern “tracker-action” organ has enjoyed a tremendous renaissance during the past two decades in America.

The drawknobs are generally referred to as “stops”. This word also is applied to the set of pipes that a drawknob brings into play, that set usually being one rank (or row) of pipes. But sometimes, a drawknob will make more than one rank of pipes play — up to five on this organ. These multiple ranks are usually found in mixture stops, which add color, brilliance, and reinforcement to the tone of the ensemble. This explains why our organ has 25 stops, but 36 ranks. The Roman numeral following a stop name denotes how many sets of pipes play when one key of the stop pu1led is depressed. In all, the organ contains 1802 pipes.

The organbuilder must not only match the architecture of the organ case to the style and proportions of a room, but he must also match its speaking characteristics with the acoustical environment, for an organ and its room are literally one acoustical entity. It is easy to understand why a truly artistic pipe organ cannot be mass-produced, but must be custom made by great artisans and designers over a period of years. The delicate and exacting work of tonal finishing, or voicing the pipes after the installation of the instrument in the church, was done by Fernand Letourneau and Gerald Archambault under the supervision the Gerhard Brunzema, the tonal director of the Casavant firm.

The German terms used in all aspects of this organ are appropriate, since the tonal design, the origin of the pipe shapes, the principles of encasement and action, as well as the voicing of the organ depend in large measure on the traditions laid down by the master organ builders of seventeenth century Germany. Outstanding examples of their instruments, like the famous violins of their time, stil1 stand in the churches and cathedrals of Europe as monuments to the age-old art of organbuilding. These organs are thought by many to be unsurpassed in physical design and tone. Yet, creative advances of later master builders as well as modern engineering and materials, have allowed organs such as this one to emerge, instruments firmly grounded in the best organbuilding traditions, yet modern in every sense.

Although this organ is small to medium sized by some standards, it is distinguished by great versatility: gorgeous solo voices, a lively chorus tone, careful balance, and ensemble effects to which every voice contributes. It is an organ responsive to the demands of a wide range of the organ literature, liturgy and hymnody associated with worship at First Lutheran Church.

Stoplist

Haupwerk
Quintaden
Prinzipal
Rohrflöte
Oktav
Spitzflöte
Flachflöte
Sesquialtera II
Mixtur V
Trompete

16′
8′
8′
4′
4′
2′
2 2/3′
1 1/3′
8′
Schwellwerk
Salizional
Gedackt
Prinzipal
Koppelflöte
Oktav
Quinte
Scharf IV
Krummhorn
Tremulant

8′
8′
4′
4′
2′
1 1/3′
1/2′
8′
Pedal
Subbass
Oktav
Gedacktflöte
Choralbass
Mixtur IV
Fagott
Trompete
Schalmei

16′
8′
8′
4′
2′
16′
8′
4′
Couplers
Schwellwerk/Hauptwerk
Schwellwerk/Pedal
Hauptwerk/Pedal

 

Mechanical key and stop action. Solid Oak Case. Burnished tin facade pipes.

Manual key compass, 58 notes. Pedal compass, 32 notes.

Organ built by Casavant Frères, Limitée, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, 1973. Opus No.
3190.

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856