A Description of THE ORGAN
(from the November 10, 1991 Organ Dedication Recital Program)
The organ is a 3-manual, 29-stop, 39-rank tracker instrument made by Visser-Rowland Associates of Houston, Texas (Opus 89). The console, or keydesk, is detached from the organ case allowing greater flexibility and ease of choral conducting. Notes are played by tracker key action, so named because of the long, narrow wooden trackers which provide direct mechanical linkages from the keys to the pallets in the windchests. The stop action, by way of which the organist selects the sets of pipes to be sounded, is electric and activated by solid-state relays. An electric combination system permits the organist to change groups of stops simultaneously.
The design was conceived by Pieter Visser. After being built in Houston under the supervision of Patrick Quigley, the organ was dismantled, packed, and shipped to Mesa. Once here, the organ was reconstructed under the direction of James Sanborn. Finally, scalings were set and voicing executed by Mark Hotsenpiller and Brian Davis, assisted by Susan Bennett.
The tonal scheme of the organ is adapted from Dutch organs of the mid-eighteenth century. Such a design calls for firm, bright principal tone, flutes which sound clear and deep, harmonious reed stops, and an abundance of incisive high-pitched stops which reinforce, rather than obscure, the foundation tone. An organ of this type is versitile in the types of literature it can perform, it blends well with voices and other instruments, and, most importantly, it excels in leading congregational singing.
Many different woods were used in constructing the organ. Most obvious is the cherry case, console, and matching, inlaid paneling. The three manual keyboards have rosewood naturals and maple sharps, woods selected for their durability as well as appearance. The stop-cheeks and bench are made of white oak. The facade pipes, the largest of which is twenty feet tall, are flamed copper and polished tin.
Manual I - Hauptwerk
II Sesquialtera 22/3'
IV Mixtur 11/3'
Manual II - Brustwerk
IV Scharff 1'
Manual III - Spanischwerk
8' Trompete (en chamade)
IV Mixtur 22/3'