Holy Comforter’s 2 Manual Pipe Organ

The two manual pipe organ that sits in the sanctuary has served Holy Comforter church since 1989, replacing a large Baldwin electronic organ, which had been in use for over twenty five years, and had definitely served its time.  The acquisition of the organ was the culmination of a collaborative effort between Jeff Johnson, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, who was hired in 1988 as organist/choir director and FSU organ professor Michael Corzine with whom Johnson was studying.  Together they started shopping around in the trade magazines and came across the model we have. The congregation under the leadership and guidance of then Rector George Kontos gave the venture its full support.

The instrument was bought from the premier British organ company J.W. Walker & Sons, established in 1828.   Built much the same way as in Bach’s day – the pipe organ maintains a centuries old tradition.  Our instrument has about 500 pipes – the smallest about 1/2 an inch long, and the longest about 7 feet and 9 speaking stops.  Described as a wardrobe size organ, the keys are made of rosewood and rock maple rather than ivory in keeping with helping the environment. The playing action stop and combination actions are all mechanical, the only electrical component being the fan.

The organ was built in England, partially disassembled, shipped to the US in seven crates, and re- assembled over a period of 6 days.  Company representatives traveled to Tallahassee from England to install the instrument during the second week of November 1989, and it was first used in service on November 19, 1989.  Organist Jeff Johnson gave a free public concert on Wednesday November 29, 1989.  The instrument was again disassembled in February 2003, when the church moved from its old location on Miccosukee Road to its present site on Fleischmann Road.  It remained in storage until September of 2005, when it was once more re-assembled and used for the dedication service of the new building.  It was thrilling for the congregation to hear the sound of the organ again after an absence of two and a half years.  On November 8, 2009 a concert featuring a joint choir, guest instrumentalists and former organists marked the instrument’s twentieth anniversary of service.

Although quite small as compared with a 30-40 stop organ with thousands of pipes, it speaks with a loud voice, and is adequate for the size of the sanctuary it serves, and the musical traditions of the church upheld by its Chancel choir. Regular maintenance will ensure that the instrument can serve the congregation for many more years to come, probably outlasting the building which houses it.