Holtkamp Pipe Organ

The organ was designed by the Holtkamp Organ Company of Cleveland, Ohio. It was built and installed in 1980, during renovations to the sanctuary. It replaced the church's original, 1930 Kilgen pipe organ. The original organ was located in two large chambers located behind the screens at the west end of the balconies, and in a small chamber above the ceiling at the rear of the sanctuary. The console sat against the wall at the south end of the choir loft.  The Holtkamp organ sits in a free-standing case directly behind the communion table.

The organ has 38 "ranks" or sets of pipes, consisting of more than 2,000 individual pipes made of metal or wood. Most of the organ’s pipes are hidden behind the facade. These "ranks" or sets are divided into four separate divisions; one for each of the three keyboards and one for the pedals. Within the divisions the ranks of pipes are also divided into four different sound groups: "principals," which is the basic “organ” sound, and strings, flutes, and reeds. These last three are imitative of the sounds made by orchestral instruments. Unlike some instruments, all of the pipes in the facade are speaking pipes.

This is a "mechanical action" instrument, which means that there is a direct link from the keyboard to the pipes. The action of pressing down a note is directly linked to pulling down a small flap under the pipe, allowing air to enter the pipe and make it sound. Because of this direct, physical connection, the console is stationary, and cannot be moved.  In 2013, the original combination action was replaced by a solid state multi-level capture system.  This increased the flexibility of the instrument, by allowing for the storage of 30 levels of “pre-set” sound combinations.  At the same time, it alleviated issues relating to the reliability of the original, 33-year-old combination action.

 

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