Nykerk Hall of Music

Hope College

Holland, Michigan

 

 

The Teaching Studio Organ

Built by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd. of Brandon, Suffolk, England

 

 
The studio organ was made possible by a generous gift from Mr. Gerritt Hospers ('49). Dr. Huw Lewis and the late Andrew Pennells who was also responsible for all the technical details of the pipes, chests, action, and winding systems drew up the specification. (This instrument is the last to be designed by Andrew Pennells, who died before the organ was completed.) Construction of the instrument began in 1999 in England, and the organ was installed in the summer of 2000. J. W. Walker's Tonal Director, David Wilson, carried out the voicing of all pipes on location. David Graber designed the organ's case. The organ was formally dedicated on October 6, 2000.

 

The organ was conceived as a teaching instrument for an undergraduate curriculum. So it was designed to be a versatile organ expected to accommodate a broad cross-section of organ literature rather than the music of one particular historical tradition. But while the organ is flexible, it is not an eclectic instrument. Rather it is an instrument that very much continues the tradition of post-Restoration English organ builders, who, upon returning from an extended period of Continental exile, consistently grafted French, German, and Dutch ideas onto a well-defined English tradition that evolved without ever being abruptly abandoned.

 

The organ consists of four divisions: Great, Swell, Choir, and Pedal. Of the thirty-four speaking stops, seven are either partially or wholly derived, yielding a total of 1,971 pipes. The manual compass is 61 notes (C c4), while that of the pedal is 32 notes (C g1). The curving terraced arrangement of the stops reflects the influence of Cavaill-Coll. The key, pedal, coupling, and expression actions are mechanical; the drawstop and combination actions are electric. There are eight combination pistons for each of the four divisions: the Great and Pedal combinations may be coupled. Eight general combination pistons are available on either manual or toe pistons. All couplers may be operated by reversible toe and manual pistons. A Solid State Logic system provides 96 levels of memory and a combination sequencer, which may be archived onto a standard floppy disc. The organ is tuned in an unequal (though unrestricted) temperament developed in the 1980s by H. A. Kellner. There are two inter-changeable pedal boards, a standard 'Anglo-American' pedal board, and one designed to BDO specifications.

 

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