Magazine article The American Organist

The Church of the Redeemer: Sarasota, Florida: Nichols & Simpson Inc., Organbuilders

Magazine article The American Organist

The Church of the Redeemer: Sarasota, Florida: Nichols & Simpson Inc., Organbuilders

Article excerpt

From the Consultant

When the need for a new instrument at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, Florida, was fully realized in the late 1990s, an extensive study was made of the various roles that the instrument was expected to play. It was then, and only then, that the initial search for an organbuilder was conceived.

Identifying the right artists and craftsmen to build the right pipe organ for the rich liturgical and musical life of this great parish church became a relatively simple matter, for the rector, Father Fredrick A. Robinson, and the musician, Ann Stephenson-Moe, were of one mind from the beginning of the project. There must be an instrument that should, first, be an assertive and warm leader of congregational singing; second, accompany choral and instrumental ensembles with sensitivity and flair; and third, play the startling array of organ repertoire, with all its variety and color, with brilliance and compelling beauty.

The builders, Nichols & Simpson of Little Rock, Arkansas, have produced just that instrument. Not only does the sound suit the beautiful acoustic of the recently renovated nave and choir, but the striking and elegant organ case suits the building wonderfully well.

The instrument, consisting of four divisions over three keyboards, is superbly voiced for the space and for the literature. Here, ear and eye, sound and vision, come together with great success.

Congratulations are due the church and the builders.


From the Rector

The worship of almighty God is the primary work of the Church. All other ministries and programs are derived from what takes place at the altar. Because worship is also the only time when the entire community of faith gathers in one place, it is also the best place for evangelism to happen. For these reasons, worship must be the very best that we have to offer-the best preaching and teaching, scripture readings that are well presented, and music that is of the highest quality. Our new Nichols & Simpson instrument not only produces exquisitely beautiful music to stimulate the mind and spirit and to delight the heart, but also supports and inspires the choral portions of our liturgy, enabling the congregation to sing to the best of its ability. The psalmist exhorts us to make a joyful noise. Nichols & Simpson have brought inexpressibly joyful sounds to our worship. On a more practical note, Joe Nichols and Wayne Simpson are a delight to work with.


From the Organist-Choirmaster

The year 2004 was the centennial anniversary of the Church of the Redeemer, Episcopal, in Sarasota, Florida. Coincidentally, February 29, 2004. was the dedication of the church's three-manual, 47-stop, 61-rank Nichols & Simpson pipe organ. The dedicatory recital was played by Gerre Hancock to a standing-room-only audience. What a thrill it was finally to hear, in concert, the culmination of the last five years' journey. Neither the Nichols & Simpson organ nor Gerre Hancock disappointed the listener during this extraordinary concert. The organ proved its stylistic versatility as well as the variation of tone color within the individual stops.

The success of this long-term project could not have been achieved without the hard work and generosity of many parishioners at the Church of the Redeemer. It was the vision of the rector, Father Fredrick Robinson, and his unswerving dedication to the liturgical and musical life of the church that helped bring this project to fruition.

The collaboration of Nichols & Simpson with the Church of the Redeemer was clearly a "marriage made in heaven." During the summer of 2000, after visiting a number of organbuilders, it was evident to the search committee that the proposal made by Nichols & Simpson was the most suitable for our Anglican style of worship. From my viewpoint as a church musician, the organ furnishes the heartbeat of the worship service. …

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