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Music at UPC

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Last Week's Sermon

Remember and Observe

The Reverend John Leedy
Exodus 12:1-14

A Reading from Exodus The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole …

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Organ History

UPC’s Pipe Organ

Opus 38, the 47-rank instrument for University Presbyterian Church, was built in 2000 by Garland Pipe Organs, Inc., of Fort Worth, Texas. It contains 32 ranks of pipes from the 1954 Wicks instrument, 13 new ranks of pipes, and 2 digital electronic ranks. In order to add more flexibility in the future, the organ was prepared to receive up to 12 additional ranks.

All of the pipework from the Wicks organ was removed shortly after Easter 1999, and initially was restored to service just prior to February 20, 2000. The organ was completely revoiced and, in many cases, rescaled to ensure proper blend with the new pipework and the improved acoustics of the remodeled sanctuary. The new pipework included all reeds, several flutes, Great Principal chorus, and the façade pipes. Most of the flue pipework in the instrument is constructed of spotted metal. The façade pipes are made of polished zinc. The chorus reeds are a combination of zinc and spotted metal, and the Krummhorn resonators are copper.

With the exception of two small reservoirs, mechanically the instrument is completely new. The manual wind chests incorporate all electric action; the pedal is electric and electro-pneumatic. All relay and switching equipment is solid state manufactured by Solid State Logic. A new five horsepower blower is located in the basement.

The console is completely new and positioned on a moveable platform. The combination action originally contained 32 levels of memory with a programmable Crescendo and Full Organ. The exterior console case is red oak; the interior components are black walnut. The Pedal Principal 16’ and portions of the Great Principal 8’ are located in the façade. The façade casework was designed by Frank Friemel of Fort Worth, and constructed of mahogany to match the other sanctuary woodworking. The Swell and Choir divisions are located in the left chamber; the Great and Pedal are located in the right chamber. The Swell and Choir are expressive, the Great and Pedal are unenclosed. The wind pressure for the manual divisions is 4”; the Pedal pressure is 5”. The Festival Trumpet is an English Hooded Trumpet playing on 10” of pressure.

Dr. Faythe Freese, former UPC organist and Assistant Professor of Organ at Concordia University, Austin, played the dedication recital on June 12, 2000. The concert included the John Cook Fanfare, Louis-Nicolas Clerambault Suite de Deuxieme Ton, Cesar Franck Chorale in A Major, variations on Ein’ feste Burg is unser Gott by Johann Sebastian Bach, Helmut Walcha, Max Reger, and Flor Peeters, and the Leo Sowerby Carillon and Pageant. Participants included the Rev. San Williams, Pastor, Dr. Carroll Gonzo, Director of Music, and Ms. Janis Reinken, on behalf of the Sanctuary Renewal Committee. Present in spirit was Esma Beth Clark, UPC organist for nearly forty-five years.

A generous gift from Drs. Gerre and Judith Hancock in 2007 enabled the addition of a zymbelstern and 128 level memory system.  In 2004, Dan Garland met with then Worship and Music Committee chairperson Gene Alice Sherman, organist Scott McNulty, and director of music Ara Carapetyan to draft plans for a completed instrument. The result was a stoplist that included more solo sounds; a Vox Humana and additional Trumpet in the Swell, Cornet, Gemshorn and Celeste in the Great, English Horn, 1’ Sifflote, and 8’ Principal in the Choir, among other additions. A MIDI system was added to recprd amd play back music from the console, permitting the performer to listen from the congregation. Ten years later, thanks to the generosity of Max and Gene Sherman, all these dreams were completed. On January 28, 2014, a team removed 9 ranks from the Choir division to make room for the new pipes, then re-installed old and the new pipes over the course of the next several months, carefully dodging weddings, funerals, concerts, Holy Week and Easter.

The completed instrument, affectionately named Angus, now has 62 ranks (sets of stops). With the addition of about 800 pipes, the organ now has nearly 4000 pipes, ranging in size from a couple of inches to over 16’ tall (the 32’ stops are electronic to save space and money). The organ has been praised and played by the highest level of performers from the Hancocks to Dr. Joyce Jones, and Dr. Damin Spritzer.

The renovation of the sanctuary and pipe organ has greatly enhanced the music program of the church, which remains a crown jewel in the Austin music scene. Performances have included the Duruflé Requiem by Conspirare, Saint-Saens Organ Symphony with the Texas State orchestra, a national hymn festival with the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, Chancel Choir performances and Austin premieres of the Bob Chilcott Requiem and Mack Wilberg Requiem, and countless weekly worship services and lessons. For the bountiful goodness of God and the generosity of this congregation and the Shermans, we give thanks.

Dan Garland 2014 Pipe Organ