A small business reply
card arrived April Fool's Day from the St. Paul's Episcopal
Church, Atlanta, Georgia. This business reply card was part of
the "fruit" of a bulk mailing to all of the churches
in Atlanta, Georgia, in January of 1985.
This little blue
business reply card was part of the seed that grew into a new
1.2 million dollar sanctuary and a quarter of a million dollar
pipe organ for St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Early in the
discussions of the new building it was decided to press for a
complete facility including the new pipe organ. St. Paul's has
always been interested in fine quality inspirational music and
it was felt that the organ was an integral part of what was to
be desired in the new building. Very careful and deliberate
discussions with the architects, Stanley Love-Stanley, resulted
in a proper space and excellent acoustics for good music in this
beautiful new church.
The road to success
was not straight or uneventful. Construction delays and a gap in
the funding were all dealt with in good faith and with lots of
hope. Construction of the organ was started in 1991. Parts that
were completed had to be stored for nearly two years while
financial details were resolved. In January of 1994 construction
was resumed with over optimistic hope of completing the organ in
June or July.
"setting of the C's" occurred during the 2nd week of
July when the acoustical environment of the new sanctuary had
been completed. It was at this time that the organ builder
recognized the success of the negotiations regarding the
acoustics in the sanctuary. The acoustics in the new sanctuary
were so appropriate for good music that the unusual
opportunities were recognized. Because of these wonderful
acoustics, some liberties were taken with the tonal design of
the instrument. Several deviations from the standard voicing
procedures were utilized and the sound and character of some of
the stops are a bit unusual. They were so successful, however,
that no one wishes to institute any changes. The organ has been
played in dedication by David Crawford Stills, the staff
organist at Morehouse College, and Dr. Joyce Johnson, the head
of the organ department at Spelman College. Dr. Calvin Grimes,
head of the music department at Morehouse College, is the music
director and regular organist for St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
The organ is built in
three divisions, with a Great Organ directed toward
congregational singing and tonal possibilities for the many
varied hymns used in the Episcopal Church. The Swell is directed
toward accompanying the choir, solo voices, and very colorful
solo combinations within the organ. The Pedal division has the
versatile job of furnishing both undersetting and melody
counterpoint. The basic tonal concept is the American classic
tonal design, which allows the organist a degree of freedom in
all periods of composition.
The organist controls
the organ through a micro-processor relay and state-of-the-art
fiber optic data transmission. The micro-processor control
system allows for many new features presently available and new
music innovation yet to occur in the next century. This
state-of-the-art micro-processor system, coupled with tried and
true electric action yields an instrument of great flexibility
and longevity with a minimum of maintenance.
The completion of this
incredible organ would not have been possible without the
prayerful foresightedness of Father Edward Warner and the
insistence of fine quality music by Dr. Calvin Grimes. Dr.
Grimes' untiring efforts are witnessed in the magnificent music
played and sung by the choir and congregation at St. Paul's
Church. It has been a great honor for Levsen Organ Company to be
the provider of this beautiful new organ and it is our prayer
that it will lead this congregation in the great hymn singing
for centuries to come.