TELLING THE TALE OF THE TELLERS
In the early 1960’s, when Stan Niebrugge was the pastor at First Presbyterian Church, he was aware that the 1927 E.M. Skinner pipe organ needed to be replaced. He appointed a committee of church members to address the situation. Dr. Herb Wormhoudt was appointed as chair of the committee, while other members were John Van Der Ploeg, Mrs. H.L. Pollard, Virginia Schmucker, Florence Kleepsies, and John Sharp. Shortly after the committee was formed, Barbara Workman Riedel was named Director of Music for the church.
The committee visited many churches with various organ installations. They also contacted several organ companies to present installation possibilities using the flute ranks and chimes from the E.M. Skinner organ. The Tellers Organ Company in Pennsylvania was awarded the contract with installation of the organ to be in the fall of 1970. A dedicatory recital was held November 7, 1970.
Each keyboard on the organ has 61 keys and our organ has 3 keyboards, a pedal board, and a division called Positiv which couples into either the swell, the great, or the choir keyboard. This organ has 53 ranks and each rank has 61 pipes. This means that there are 3,233 pipes in the organ chambers. One of the new things about this installation was that the cantilevers were built so some of the pipes could be exposed. All pipes on the great, positive, and pedal keyboards are on the cantilevers. The swell and choir pipes are in rooms on both sides of the Chancel on the third floor.
A memory system has been installed in our organ which allows the organist to set 80 different combinations of stops. Another interesting item is that the console is moveable so that it can be placed in the middle of the Chancel for recitals or other organ performances. This organ installation is a wonderful part of our beautiful sanctuary and adds much to the music of First Presbyterian Church.
In July of 2014, a new console was built by the Reuters Organ Company. The 1980’s memory system had ceased to be reliable, so a new, programmable, multi-memory system was added, along with MIDI capabilities. The console is moveable so that it can be placed in the middle of the Chancel for recitals or other organ performances. This organ installation is a wonderful part of our beautiful sanctuary and adds much to the music of First Presbyterian Church.