St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
14 straight-speaking stops, 17 ranks across two manuals and pedal (with preparations for 27 straight stops, 32 ranks for future addition)
When we were first contacted by the St. Andrew’s Organ Committee, and asked for a plan for an instrument, their reputation as a committed Anglo-Catholic parish with incredibly fine music preceded them. Their choir, directed by Tim and M.B. Krueger, regularly offered stunning renderings of a capella renaissance and Tudor anthems, Anglican chant settings, and service music. Their rented four rank Moller organ, and later a borrowed box organ, led congregational singing and played voluntaries. Our discussions centered around their initial desire for a mechanical action instrument, inspired by 18th century English models. The initial thought of installing a tracker due to space considerations evolved into conversations about the typical repertoire performed at St. Andrew’s, that included the vast portion of music in the Anglican tradition that requires a pair of evocative strings, rich Diapasons, liquid flutes, and romantic reeds.
8′ Open Diapason (polished tin-façade)
8′ Melodia (open wood)
8′ Gedeckt Flute
4′ Flute d’ Amour (wood and metal)
2 2/3′ Nazard
1 3/5′ Tierce
1 1/3′ Fourniture IV (preparation)
8′ Tuba (preparation)
8′ Tuba Solo melody coupler (preparation)
8′ Stopped Diapason
8′ Voix Celeste (TC)
4′ Harmonic Flute
2′ Full Mixture IV
8′ Tuba (Gt) (preparation)
8′ Tuba Solo (Gt) (preparation)
32′ Subbass (1-12 digital)
32′ Lieblich Gedeckt (1-12 digital)
16′ Bourdon (stoppered wood)
16′ Lieblich Gedeckt (Gt)
8′ Principal (polished tin façade)
8′ Bass Flute (ext. 16′ Bourdon)
8′ Gedeckt Flute (Gt)
4′ Choral Bass (ext. 8′ Principal)
8′ Tuba (Gt) (preparation)
(prepared for future addition)
8′ Flúte à Bibéron (Chimney Flute)
4′ Octave (tin façade)
We had to be creative in working within their budget. The organ project was timed to be on the cusp of a larger capital campaign for expansion of the building, and so the organ could not represent more than a fixed dollar amount. To this end, several flue stops and all the reeds were prepared for future addition. Normally reluctant to prepare so many stops, we felt that this congregation would actually finish what was begun, in light of its commitment to musical and liturgical excellence. It turns out that we were right!
The parish was planning to expand the building, but was in immediate need of an organ. Therefore the instrument needed to be installed in the permanent, completed portion of the building. It is located in the Baptistry, installed on a platform about nine feet off the main floor. Although the organ case covers a large portion of a leaded glass window, the architectural interest of the tracery is preserved and its Gothic arch is mirrored in the organ case. The windows in the building are all translucent glass, the panes and lead caming cut in diamond patterns, imitating St. Andrew’s crosses. To relate to the window behind the organ, the center pipe is embossed in the same pattern as the window glass. Two shields of St. Andrew in blue enamel and silver leaf decorate the case; the same blue enamel and a tasteful amount of gold leaf are applied to the pipe shades.
A couple of years ago, the Church approved installation of several of the prepared stops, including most of the reeds. This year the building has been completed, and we look forward to being asked to install the remaining stops, including the somewhat important Great Mixture, and our touchstone Major Tuba.
This is the first of our instruments to be installed in a high altitude and in such a dry climate. Although we considered all the issues which high altitude and dryness can present to a pipe organ, we wanted to monitor the instrument’s acclimatization for several months before it was publicly heard in recital. But, the instrument was proving so reliable, and the sounds had so captivated and excited so many of the parishioners, that Donald Pearson, Organist/Choirmaster of St. John’s Cathedral, dedicated the instrument in February of 2002. The organ was re-dedicated in concert by Eric Plutz, formerly the Assistant at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver, now University Organist at Princeton University.
– John-Paul Buzard
Tonal Function in Selecting an Organ for St. Andrew’s
by Timothy J. Krueger, choirmaster of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
When St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver, suffered a fire in November, 1999 that destroyed our venerable 1910-vintage 7-rank Kimball, an organ committee was formed to determine what was to be done. The first thing we turned to as a committee was to define what the ideal role of an organ at St. Andrew’s was.
With a reputation for Anglo-Catholic “high church” liturgy, and a deservedly renowned choir, we quickly determined that the organ’s first and foremost place was as an accompanimental instrument—to accompany and encourage congregational singing, to accompany the choir, to accompany the liturgy in all its basic forms and functions.
What makes for a good accompanimental instrument, we asked ourselves? With four organists on the committee of nine, we felt reasonably assured that our ultimate answer was a well-informed one—that accompaniment requires tonal variety and flexibility, and that an organ with a rather high percentage of fundamental stops was the way to go. The fact that St. Andrew’s is a church well-steeped in the Anglican tradition, with a definite consciousness and pride in its English roots, helped bolster the idea of an English-style organ, if such can be defined.
Yet, for all our fervor for things English, and our acknowledgement of the importance of liturgical accompaniment, we also wanted to have an organ that would serve as a fine solo instrument, capable of rendering recitals in a great variety of styles and eras (“from Byrd to Howells, via Bach” was our rallying cry!), and attracting some regional attention from organ afficianados and lovers of classical music.
With a limited budget, and even more limited space (the church is quite small, seating scarecely more than 100 people), the almost impossible task now presented itself of accommodating our partially-conflicting criteria.
We sought proposals from some 30 organ builders, and were impressed with the number of serious contenders, and the creativity of their conceptions. To boil a year-and-a-half of frequent meetings, debates, and visits from organ builders, down into a single sentence, there was only one candidate who clearly (and amazingly) satisfied all of our tonal and functional criteria; and whose physical, visual conception of the organ (aided a little by me, I must brag a little) was truly breathtaking. John-Paul Buzard had the Anglican credentials we sought, with a true passion for the Episcopal liturgy, and a well-defined tonal concept of how to achieve the accompanimental organ we wanted (he did not take our desire for such an instrument as an insult to either his work or the eventual instrument that would result); yet he allied it with classic tonal fundamentals to create an organ of 20-some ranks that could also stand on its own as a solo, recital instrument. We knew this from listening to a variety of his instruments, both live and on recordings, particularly his Op. 7 at the Episcopal Chapel of St. John-the-Divine in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
To say that I and the congregation are thrilled with the result—even before the organ is truly complete, lacking some of the prepared reeds and mutations—is a vast understatement. It has fulfilled its primary role of liturgical and choral accompaniment with superlative excellence (I still marvel during the psalms, sung to Anglican chant, when our organist, Frank Nowell, registers each verse and phrase with such a variety of different sounds—and with such gradual and seemingly effortless transition from one into the next—that all this comes from just 21 ranks!); and, we look forward to a recital series of equal magnificence in the coming months, performed by a handful of Colorado’s finest organists. And regarding the visual appeal of the organ…stunning photograph featured in this booklet speaks for itself, I feel perfectly safe in saying.