SCHNEIDER PIPE ORGANS, Inc., Kenney, Illinois has recently completed the installation of its OPUS 21, a 14-rank residence pipe organ for Mr. William Hardy of Auburn, California.
This electro-mechanical action makes extensive use of second-hand materials that were thoroughly re-worked in the Schneider shop; some of which were provided from our inventory, and several ranks of pipes which were procured by Mr. Hardy.
The plan consists of two side-by-side sections, with the enclosed Swell on the left-hand side as one faces the instrument, and the unenclosed Great Division on the right. Facades pipes consist of the bottom octaves of the 16' Quintadeen on the left and the 8' Prestant on the right; both Great stops.
To the far right-hand side of the main body of the instrument is another smaller section comprised of the bottom octave of the 16' Pedal Untersatz of Oak and divided diatonically. In the center of that section are the two bottom octaves of the Geigen Prinzipal, which is shared as both a Swell and a Pedal stop.
The woodwork of the instrument was designed and finished to compliment the specially-prepared Music Room in the Hardy home. The casework is of Red Oak with Rotary Oak veneer panels where appropriate. All are finished to match the coffered panels on the wall behind the Great and Pedal sections.
The space above the Great and Pedal sections was raised in Cathedral Ceiling fashion, leaving exposed trusses. The entire area is illuminated with recessed, hidden fluorescent cove lighting mounted between the trusses, making a spectacular visual display.
The stoplist was chosen in deference to Mr. Hardy's desire for the performance of Bach works on the instrument. The metal content of the pipework ranges from Hoyt Metal for the Geigen Prinzipal in the Swell, to Common Metal for the Prinzipal Chorus and Great Flute, to Spotted Metal for the conical stops, mutations, upperwork, Mixture and Swell reed stop. Copper was used for the Great Krummhorn, while lacquered zincs were utilized for all of the larger pipework.
Virtually all of the pipework except the Gemshorn Celeste and the Swell reed stop treble pipes were second-hand. In the case of flue pipes, all were sawn apart and re-soldered to lower cut-ups, nicking removed and re-voiced. Some cylindrical pipes for Flute trebles were re-built into conical pipes in the Schneider shop. The reed treble pipes for the Swell Fagotto, which was origi nally 32 notes, were also built new in the Schneider shop. The Gemshorn Celeste pipes were made to our specifications by Stephen J. Russell.
This is the first instrument built in the Schneider shop utilizing Alan Ontko's ORGANCADD organbuilder's design software based on the Generic CADD 6.1 platform. This was essential for the physical success of this design due to the necessity of designing pipe placement around numerous obstacles, such as the ceiling trusses. This also afforded the ability to lay out the Swell Division as compactly as possible, due to the number of pipes in that division.
The Great main Chest was re-constituted from an old Wicks 6-stop windchest. The Mixture is mounted in "cornet" style above the treble end of the Great main chest. The Swell Main chests were built new in the Schneider shop, and feature Peterson Electro-Mechanical action magnets mounted over generous Expansion Chambers. All Offsets bass chests, both inside the organ for the reed and Gemshorn basses, and the custom-designed/built Oak windchests for all of the facade and Pedal pipes are fitted with Electro-Pneumatic action..
The wind system consists of a Static reservoir, fed by a Meidinger blower. This, in turn, feeds a wooden wind trunk which distributes wind to the Great and Swell main reservoirs in turn. Wind is then distributed to each of the windchests in these divisions via wood wind trunking or P-A-P-Flex wind trunking. The Pedal chest is fed by a flexible wind trunk which runs underneath the floor from the Static Reservoir to the bottom of that windchest section.
This instrument is the first for the Schneider shop to utilize the new Matters, Inc. Fiberoptic relay system. This system, which is fully MIDI compatible, provides for 8 MIDI stops. It also allows for recording and playback of the instrument by means of its own built-in memory, or transfer a permanent recording from memory into a PC. Moreover, the 9-levels of Combination Action memories can be either read into or downloaded from a PC via an RS-232 cable, making memory levels virtually unlimited in this system.
All functions in the system are fully programmable, including the ability to "program around" wiring mistakes or other maladies. All stops, couplers, Crescendo, etc., are fully programmable without the use of a computer by using Piston buttons to select and scroll through the various programming functions, which are read-out on the built-in LCD display screen.
Connection between the console box and the rest of the instrument is by means of a 1/8" diameter Fiberoptic cable, which can be connected to as many as 15 pipe driver boxes containing up to 320 outputs apiece. In the case of this instrument, only three such boxes were required.
The console which was utilized for this instrument was re-worked from an old 1950's Baldwin model 30 electronic organ. Since the casework was white oak with brass detail, which the customer was especially attracted to, this was the logical choice. The keys were re-worked with magnetic Tracker Touch and custom-built Key contacts, thus allowing the weight-biased keys to remain intact as originally built. The original key cheeks were replaced with new ones, and a new Nameboard with electrically-controlled Stop Action Magnets was fabricated. The console is portable, being connected by only a small cable assembly, thus allowing placement anywhere within the Music Room desired.
Accessories include, besides the MIDI capability, 21-note Maas-Rowe chimes, which were resuscitated from another organbuilder's dumpster by Mr. Hardy. They were stripped, polished and re-lacquered by him and he also made a new Oak canopy for them. There is also a 7 bell Zimbelstern utilizing brass cast bowl bells and fitted with a walnut and maple rotating wooden star; all completely built in the Schneider shop.
Understandably, voicing treatment is very gentle. Windpressures, again in deference to Mr. Hardy's desire for "an authentic Bach organ" were kept at 65 MM for both the Swell and the Great pipework. Cut-ups were kept low and the pipes allowed to enunciate freely and without any forcefulness.
As expected, this instrument has been a 'work in process'. In 1998, Mr. Hardy elected to have the original zinc facade pipes replaced with polished aluminum facade pipes by Justin Matters of Rapid City, SD. This had been the original intention, but was "shelved" as a cost-saving measure."
The customer also decided at this time to make the the 24 basses of the Swell Geigen Principal independent of the Pedal Principalbass/ Choralbass,which was planted in the Pedal section. Accordingly, a 24 note Offset chest was built in the Schneider shop to accommodate the redundant zinc pipes which had been originally the facade pipes for the combination PedalPrincipalbass/Choralbass + Swell Geigen Principal bass. This windchest,plus two others, were installed in an "alcove" space created for them in the Swell Box by pushing out the wall where the electronic had been located into the Carport by 6 feet. The electronics, in turn, were-located to the back wall of the Swell Chamber.