The Casavant/Storey organ at St. Bartholomew's
t. Bartholomew's is a congregation that recognizes music as a treasured and integral part of its worship and life. The organ now housed in the church, an instrument completed in 2007, is a manisfestation of that commitment. The former church organ was built by the Möller company in 1931. By the late 1990's, it was becoming more and more apparent that the organ had reached a place of undeniable inadequacy and decay. An exhaustive and prayerful process over many years led the parish to take the bold step of choosing this organ project as its first major capital venture in twenty years.
This is the old organ's pipe facade as it appeared behind the lectern-side choirstalls. Behind these were the actual sounding pipes, the nearest of which were about 6 feet deep in the chamber.
Inside the chamber, sagging pipes were among the many signs of age and decay.
The arch behind the pulpit-side choirstalls used to be a plain plastered facade that mirrored the pipe facade on the opposite wall of the chancel.
Demolition of the old Möller organ commenced shortly after Easter 2006, followed by renovations and modifications to the organ chambers.
The "new" organ is a recycled one. Its bulk is formed by the organ formerly housed at Eglise des Saints-Martyrs Canadiens in Victoriaville, Quebec, built in 1955 by Casavant Frères of Quebec. Additional components were newly built by Casavant. Baltimore organbuilder David M. Storey restored and integrated some of the pipes from the former Möller and completed the final installation. The result is a fine and glorious instrument of 2830 pipes.
In September 2005, the components of the 1955 Casavant organ arrived at the workshop of David Storey. Significant portions of the Casavant began arriving at the church in the summer of 2006, with on-site work continuing through the Fall.
In early 2007, as the major components inside the pipe chambers were nearly all in place, the assembly of the facade cases began. These had been custom designed and built (from scratch!) by David Storey.
Our Casavant/Storey organ was first played in a liturgy at the Easter Vigil in April 2007 (with a response of spontaneous applause!). The organ's voices were used sparingly and selectively until the tonal finishing was completed at the end of May. Unlike its predecessor, this organ has twin facades, one on each side of the chancel, both containing all speaking pipes (as opposed to the older organ's "dummy" pipes), and the additional pipes in the chambers are placed immediately behind the facades, resulting in a sound of much greater presence and clarity.
The organ was unveiled to the music community at the American Guild of Organists regional convention in July; and finally to the area community with a dedication series in September and October, with concerts played by Peter Sykes, Ted Davis, and Marvin Mills.
Since the installation of our new organ, St. Bartholomew's has experienced vibrant music in our worship, and we are glad to host a variety of exciting musical events, including concerts and choral liturgies, for the community.
Addendum, May 2017: The hopes of adding one more pedal stop came to fruition. The 16’ reed pipes came from another Casavant organ (built in 1927) from a now-closed parish just a few miles from St. Bartholomew’s, and, after refurbishment, were installed just in time for the organ’s tenth anniversary.
Especially for organists! View the new organ's stoplist.