SAINT PETER CATHOLIC CHURCH
Quincy, Illinois
OPUS XVIII, 1988
image /objects/obj_1776 image /objects/obj_1780
This instrument is the first pipe organ to be installed in this relatively "new" building, for which the cornerstone was laid in 1960. The instrument replaces an electronic substitute, which was in use from the time of the consecration of the building. The original Saint Peter Church, located in downtown Quincy, boasted a pipe organ, but it, along with the original church, was destroyed by a Tornado in 1945. The choir balcony end of the church remained intact while the rest of the building collapsed. The pipe organ was removed and sold since storage was not feasible due to some uncertain plans for parish realignment at that time. Eventually, it was decided to relocate the church and temporary facilities were used for some years.

When Father Roy Bauer, a native of Quincy was named Pastor in 1985, one of his first thoughts was to have a pipe organ constructed for the building. Since the parish operates a large parochial school, funds for such "amenities" as a pipe organ were not available from the operating budget. Father Bauer personally undertook the task of raising the necessary funds for the project independent of the normal fiscal program by sponsoring a five-hundred-dollar-a-plate dinner, which was so successful that the entire cost of the instrument was thus secured in one evening!

The concept and location of the instrument was an evolutionary process. Consideration was originally given to plans for twin "mirror-image" cases, cantilevered from the green marble walls in the front of the Sanctuary. However, after consultation with the original marble-installer for St. Peter's it was discovered that because of the nature of the lay-up of the wall, shocks resulting from core-drilling for structural supports might have damaged the wall. Hence, an alternate location was obligatory.

Considerable discussion concerning alternative locations between the pastor (who, incidentally, is a very accomplished organist!), James P. Donovan, principal Parish Organist, John Nodeen, Shop Foremen, and Richard Schneider, President, from Schneider Pipe Organs, Inc. led to the selection of the or gan's location in twin "Mirror-Image" cases located in an unused spaces between the side altars and the Apse.This has proved to be an ideal vantage-point from which to fill the unusually-designed building, despite the wide separation between the two divisions. The Nave of the church consists of a high-vaulted center-section, with two low-ceilinged wings, which fan out, creating a triangular-shaped Nave.Fortunately, sonics are aided and abetted by Terrazzo floors, brick and marble walls, and ceiling tile which is non-porous, thus allowing for 2.50 seconds of reverberation. Moreover, the Choir, which now sits in Pews facing the Sanctuary immediately in front of the instrument can be accompanied with great facility with the Metalgedackt stop (See photo on left) especially provided for them in 1992.

It has been particularly gratifying to have received compliments concerning the case design and location akin to "The organ looks as though it's always belonged there!" The builder and his staff have been grateful for the opportunity to have been able to create what is destined to become a very important instrument in the cultural life of an old historic town, rich in musical heritage, such as Quincy!

The console employs a solid-state, microprocessor-based computer combination action consisting of 16 General Pistons on 32 levels of Memory. There are four programmable Sforzando and Crescendo settings available on this system, built by I.C.M.I of Cincinnati, OH. The system controls LED-illuminated pushbuttons for the stops and couplers. The stops and couplers are arranged on the console in a double row over the top manual in families of Prinzipals, Flutes, etc. Moreover, to serve as an additional registrational aid, the pushbuttons are color-keyed according to the stop families, in similar fashion to that found in cinema instruments. Prinzipals and Mixtures are in white, Flutes in blue, mutations in Green, Strings in yellow, Quintadeen plus its derivatives in orange, accessories in gray and couplers in black. Obviously, since there are no stop action magnets or solenoids, the system is absolutely silent in operation.
image /objects/obj_1777
The keying action is also solid state, employing a Multiplex system construct ed by Peterson Electro-Musical Products of Worth, Illinois. This system allows the entire instrument of seventeen ranks to be controlled by one 50-pair, plug-in telephone cable per section! The signals are received and decoded on boards, mounted behind one of the front case panels in each of the twin cases, thus allowing practically instant access to them for service, without even having to enter the organ cases!

The stoplist was conceived and worked out by Richard Schneider, President of Schneider Pipe Organs, Inc., in collaboration with Father Bauer, with a view of attempting to incorporate as many older stops that were re-scaled and completely re-built by the Schneider shop as possible, for the purposes of keeping the costs of the instrument contained. The only two "new" stops in the instrument's specification are the 16' Fagott, by Giesecke in West Germany, and the Spitz Flöte Coelestes, which was also built by Giesecke, to match the scale of an existing Spitz Flöte that was incorporated into the design. All other pipes were either re-scaled, re-pitched or re-voiced, according to the stoplist. The basis of the thought-concept was to provide stops which would allow the satisfactory performance of a reasonably complete cross-section of organ literature, as well as effectively lead congregational singing. Additionally, to take into consideration the particular needs of the Catholic Liturgy, as well as to provide effective stops for late 19th Century Romantic music, two Celestes were provided; certainly unusual for an instrument of only 18 ranks!

Voicing practice consisted of a combination of closed toe voicing in the basses graduating to open toe voicing practice in the trebles, and is generally "singing" in character, without being overly-loud or forceful. The "mirror-image" cases were fashioned of Red Oak framing members and Rotary Oak ply for the lower casework panels, finished to match the pewing in the Church. The Prestants consist of the Great 8' Prestant/4' Prinzipal for the left case, and the Pedal 8' Prestantbass/4' Choralbass for the right, which also houses the Swell pipework. These pipes, of polished aluminum, were provided by Justin Matters of Rapid City, South Dakota.

The Pipeshades are of Birch with a natural finish, thus allowing for stunning contrasts between the brilliant pipes, intermingled with the dark and light woods surrounding them. The windchests consist of chromatic toeboards from older instruments which have been re-finished and fitted with Justin Matters Electro-mechanical magnets. The design of these older toeboards was such that it was possible to incorporate "Expansion Chambers" beneath the feet of the pipes, materially aiding in the speech of the pipework. It has been our practical experience that without these chambers, it would be difficult to voice pipes with the high languid-placement necessary for "singing" tone, without the pipes over blowing or exhibiting other undesirable speech-defects.

In 1991, to permit a very quiet accompaniment to the Liturgist, a Dulciana stop was added to the Great Division of this instrument, which is available on both the Great and Swell manual Keyboards. In 1992, a second addition was made of a unified Metalgedackt stop, complete with its own casework and wind supply immediately behind the Choir seating, further into the Chancel. This stop, situated as it is in its own "mini-division", provides another excellent 8' foundation stop, allowing for inter play with the other colorful flute stops in the Great and Swell Divisions of the instrument. Since the stop is available at 4' and 2' pitches also, the addition serves to reinforce Choir singing, since their placement is somewhat removed from the main body of the church and instrument.

HOME * OPUS LIST * OPUS XVIII
image /objects/obj_2651