Holy Trinity Lutheran Church culminates our firm’s Opus 10, a 3-manual and 42-rank organ using resources of the church’s early Holtkamp instrument. The new organ was part of an extensive renovation of the church sanctuary. The organ retains a new 3-manual console built by our firm several years ago. By January 2008, the continuing decline of the Holtkamp electro-pneumatic windchest finally forced the Church Council to fully understand the recommendations of the Music and Worship Committee. The organ was a long-term project, and many improvements were carried out between 2000 and 2004.
Opus 10 was completed in early 2009. The organ fulfills the tonal specification as designed in 2000 when our firm built the new console for the existing organ. Working with Organist Tim Young, we designed a specification that included new principal choruses while combining some of the resources from the 1920s Votteler-Holtkamp-Sparling organ. The main task was to trim down the scale of sound and provide a better balance of sound for the space at Holy Trinity. The old organ was originally installed in much larger space than its new home.
A new case and façade were designed to provide an attractive focal point to the space behind the cross in the front of the sanctuary. The case and façade replaced a sheer pleated curtain in front of the previous organ. The wood is red oak with a clear finish and the red accents were inspired by red covers used on the Lutheran hymnal. This was one of the visual parts of the sanctuary renovation completed during the time the organ was being constructed.
The organ features three independent principal choruses, an array of independent flutes, two sets of strings and celestes all residing on slider windchests. The Great Division features a chorus of decidedly American Heritage, warm and robust with an ability promote the leading line of a hymn. The Choir Division features a principal Chorus of an English influence, complemented with both an 8′ stopped and 8′ open flutes. The Swell Division principal chorus focuses on the 4′ Principal pitch with foundation from a lush 8′ Violin Diapason. Each Division offers a full complement of flutes. The Swell offers a fiery Trompete and beautiful romantic Oboe. The Great Division offers a grand 8′ Trumpet of English proportion. The Choir features the Clarinet retained from the original organ.
One notable stop retained in the Choir Division was the 8′ Ludwigtone. This stop was developed under Mr. Holtkamp and Mr. Sparling. In simple organ terms, it is a Flute and Flute Celeste. This particular stop builds the unison and celeste rank together as one pipe. The construction is open wooden flutes that share a common back or divider that separates one pipe into two pipe bodies. Since celestes are normally built as two separate ranks and divided by space on the chest, the Ludwigtone imparts a peculiar undulation due to both pipes residing side by side as one pipe. It is definitely a sound unique to this stop.
The needs set forth for the new organ were tonal color, congregational singing, literature and choral accompaniment. The organ is large in size for the space, so considerable time and care were devoted to the scaling and voicing of the stops. As was pointed out by one of our mentors years ago, “any organ can play loud, the true question is whether it can play softly with the same musical integrity”. Opus 10 proves that it can handle the task from PPP to FFF with integrity.