St. Mark's Episcopal Church

A warm and welcoming Episcopal church for all seeking community on their spiritual journey.

Renovations to the Organ

Our organ

Our organ

Renovations and Enhancements to our Organ – Fall 2010

The Andover Organ Company of Massachusetts undertook changes to the pipe organ organ of St. Mark’s Church in the spring of 2010.
The instrument was returned to the church late in the fall and was played for the Christmas season of 2010.

Below is a letter from Don Olson of the Andover Organ Company describing the changes underway as of the summer of 2010.
St. Mark’s parish is delighted to have the organ at home again, making music to the glory of God.

Notes From the Andover Organ Company to St. Mark’s, Summer 2010

As most of you are aware, we have removed your fine Votteler-Hettcher Stuart organ to our shop in Lawrence, MA. Aside from correcting some mechanical problems, our main goal is to expand the tonal pallet of the instrument. To accomplish this, we will add three new stops plus a preparation for a fourth stop. These stops were chosen carefully with invaluable input from four respected organists: Alan Wingard, Kevin Birch of St. John’s R.C., Bangor, Tom Mueller of the First Congregational Church in Camden and Jonathan Pelletier of St. Bart’s in Yarmouth.

Organs consist of four distinct types of sound. The primary sound of an organ is the Diapason, which serves as the basis for hymn singing and St. Mark’s has a fine assortment of these stops. Then there are the Flutes, which by their construction and voicing offer a variety of different flute sounds. St. Mark’s organ already has four flute stops and we are adding a fifth, a Silver Flute, which will have an entirely different color from the others. The third type of organ sound is the reed family such as a Trumpet, Oboe or Clarinet, imitating the or-chestral instruments. St. Mark’s has only one reed, an Oboe, but there will be a preparation for a second on in the Pedal, a 16’ Fagott (Bassoon) that will support a strong bass line. The fourth type of sound was entirely missing from your instrument and that is the string tone. We will be adding two string stops to the Swell division, a Salicional and its partner, a Celeste. The Salicional tone is quieter and softer than the Diapason tone and thinner than a flute. The Celeste, that is tuned slightly sharp, will compliment the Salicional, giving a warm, undulating sound.

In accomplishing these additions we did not want to change the organ visually because it fits into the room so well. To make space for the manual addi-tions, the organ was moved forward seven inches, which may not even be noticed by most people. The new Pedal stops will be located behind the two pillars on either side of the organ with a simple screen in-stalled between the pillars and the organ case to mask them. When the organ returns, you will recognize it as an old friend, but one with an enhanced vocabulary.

We at Andover are proud and happy to be able to work with the people of St, Mark’s on this project and we look forward to its completion in the fall.
Don Olson, President

St. Mark's Episcopal Church | A member of The Episcopal Diocese of Maine, The Episcopal Church, and the Worldwide Anglican Communion