Over December most of the pipe work for the Great and Swell divisions was delivered to the Church. The wind system of the organ came to life and the organ began to speak. Much work was finished regulating the actions of the Great and Swell and setting the wind pressures. The electrical work that controls the stop action was installed and the stop action came to life.
Pipes began to be installed!
On Christmas Eve at 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. the organ played her first service, accompanying the congregation by candlelight in the singing of Silent Night, very gently on the Great 8′ Spire Flute.
Now some 21 stops have been installed in the Great and Swell divisions of the main cases. 11 of these stops have begun their voicing and tuning process. In term of numbers of pipes that is around 1,600 pipes on their wind chests and roughly a third of them in the voice/tuning process. The mechanical people went home and the voicers have begun to shape the Principal Chorus of the Great, the 8 and 4 foot Flutes in the Great and Swell, the 8’strings and Violin Diapason of the Swell, and several other high pitched stops in both divisions. On 10 January pipes were being “cut” off and the first real tuning took place.
This week a specialist from Boston inspected the twelve 32′ Open Wood Pipes in the West Gallery. These are the lowest and deepest notes of the organ. Ernest Skinner installed these pipes in 1907 during the earliest period that he worked in our church. We found out that the pipes have aged very well and that the original shipping labels for their journey from Boston to New York are still in place on many of them. They are a very special treasure.
Next week the mechanical and wood specialists will return to continue installing and polishing the action, timing the swell shades and fine tuning all the mechanical operations of the instrument.
There are probably two more big deliveries to come from Staunton, including the last of the facade pipes for the cases, frame and largest pipes of our Pedal division and the Solo Expression Box, pipes and wind chests. These should take place during the middle of February. Around that time Richard Houghton and his amazing team will return to continue the electrical work on the computer system that will operate the combination action of the console.