The Pipe Organ
Matthews Presbyterian Church
Garland Pipe Organs, Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, Opus 51
Three manuals, Thirty-eight ranks, 2,344 pipes, Electro-pneumatic
The Renfrow Organ Task Force: (Left to Right) Peter Schild, Fey Grayson, Pat Boike, Cara Lee Spence, Sarah Allred, and Eddie Barefoot, hair (Task Force Member Jeff Sherman not pictured)
Formed in 2011, the original five members of the Renfrow Task Force were given the commission to discern the aspects of the $1 million gift left by Frank Renfrow. In May of 2013, Session approved the building of a pipe organ, and the five original members were joined by Sarah Allred, Director of Music, and Fey Grayson, Chair of Property, to begin the process that resulted in the creation, design, and building of this pipe organ by Garland Pipe Organs, Inc.
The generous gift of this pipe organ was made possible through the bequest in 2011 by a life-long member of this church and resident of Matthews, Frank Renfrow, in memory of his mother, Annie Lou McMillan Renfrow.
The new pipe organ was dedicated in worship to the glory of God on August 20, 2017, a day of great joy for our congregation. Through our use of the pipe organ in worship, in recital, and sharing it with the community, we honor the intention of Mr. Renfrow’s bequest: to hear in this sanctuary the beautiful sounds of a pipe organ we share our pipe organ with all to worship our Lord through the inspiration of music. Our hope is that this new pipe organ will allow those who hear it now, and those who hear it for generations to come, to be lifted in the long tradition of sacred music which inspires us to scale the heights and explore the depths of our faith.
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary,
praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
Praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:1 - 6
The new instrument for Matthews Presbyterian was completed in August 2017 and incorporates 38 ranks of pipework and 5 digital voices. The specification of the instrument was designed by Dan Garland. The free-standing casework was designed by Frank Friemel. The entire instrument is in the case constructed of rift sawn oak. Its design mirrors architectural elements found within the Sanctuary. The case is 42 feet wide and 12 feet high. The many curved components and the massive size of the case proved to be challenging to build. The façade pipes found within the case are made of polished zinc and pure tin. This pipework includes portions of the Great 16’ Violone, Great 8’ Principal, and Pedal 8’ Octave. The Great and Pedal divisions are in the left portion of the case with the Swell on the right and the Choir in the middle. The enclosures for the Swell and Choir are constructed of 1” MDF with 2” thick expression shutters with 16 stage engines. This allows for remarkable expression. A majority of the instrument is electric action, including all the main windchests. The large pedal pipes incorporated electro-pneumatic action. Electric action was chosen because it allows the windchests to have a compact design in order to fit within the case. It also allows for unification within the stop list. This discrete unification allows more flexibility in the use of the instrument both for worship and performance. The digital voices include the Chimes, 16’ Principal 1-12, 16’ Open Wood 1-32, 32’ Contra Bourdon 1-32 and the 32’ Contra Bombarde. We avoid the use of digital voices with the exception of percussion whenever possible. With space limitations within the case there was no possibility of installing pipe work in place of the digital voices. These voices greatly enhance the tonal ensemble adding to the excitement and flexibility of the instrument.
The instrument is American eclectic in design leaning toward English. Each division contains a complete Principal chorus with an abundance of foundation stops. Mixture scaling and composition was completed with great care to ensure proper relation to the principal choruses and to add brilliance to the ensemble. The instrument contains many different flutes of varying timbre and pitch. The Harmonic Flute in the Great division is of large scale and becomes harmonic at middle F. Its color is close to that of an orchestral flute. Flutes of 4’ pitch in each division were designed to work in the flute ensemble but of equal importance to serve as solo voices. The Viole de Gama and Celeste in the Swell are scaled and voiced to be true strings with influence from the extraordinary organ firm Aeolian-Skinner. The same is true for the Flauto Dolce and Celeste in the Choir. The 8’ Trumpet in the Great is more of an ensemble stop than a solo voice. The instrument is prepared for the future addition of a high pressure Hooded Trumpet with a powerful, dark English timbre. This stop will have the ability to soar over full organ. The Trumpet chorus in the Swell incorporates English shallots and is of generous scale. Our goal was to have a Swell division that when played full would sound as you would hear in an English Cathedral. Full Swell with the expression shutters closed produces a powerful yet contained ensemble, when the shutters are open it blossoms into a powerful chorus.
The Oboe and Clarinet are designed to be similar to instruments found within an orchestra. The flutes in the Choir including the 2 2/3’ and 1 3/5’ were scaled and voiced to produce a smooth yet encompassing Cornet that can be played against the flutes in other divisions. The digital Contra Bourdon 32’ is expressive with the Choir shoe and is useful under the softest sounds in the instrument but when opened up has a significant presence in the full organ. The digital 32’ Contra Bombarde is English in design and produces the same effect as that of a full length 32’ reed.
The console is constructed of quarter sawn oak finished to match the organ case. It is moveable within the Chancel platform. It is American Classic in design. The control system for the instrument was manufactured by Peterson Electro-Musical Products, their ICS 4000 system. It contains many features including a transposer, multi-level combination action, sequencer, and record/playback.
Final voicing of the instrument was completed by Dan Garland and Jordan Yerkes. Jordan also served as installation foreman. Other installation crew members include Shop Forman John Wolf, Wood Shop Foreman Ray Russell, General Manager Steve McNeill, and installation assistant Dave Anenson. While in Fort Worth, console assembly and wiring were completed by Dan Garland. Justin Wolf was responsible for windchest and control system wiring.
It is the strong desire of the organ builder that this instrument will be an important addition and asset to Matthews Presbyterian Church and to the surrounding musical community. During the entire process of creating this instrument we reminded ourselves that its primary purpose is to aid in the Worship of Almighty God. This is our call; this is our purpose. We feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to build such an instrument.