Cover Feature Trinity Episcopal Church St. Louis, Missouri Quimby Pipe Organs Inc. Warrensburg, Missouri

The American Organist, November 2010 | Go to article overview

Cover Feature Trinity Episcopal Church St. Louis, Missouri Quimby Pipe Organs Inc. Warrensburg, Missouri


TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH in St. Louis, Missouri, has from its beginning in 1855 enjoyed a rich musical tradition. The parish, located near Kings Highway near downtown St. Louis, enjoys the talents of many individuals who use sacred music to enhance the Anglo-Catholic liturgy. As the previous instrument grew tired, the organ committee and the Rev. Anne H. Kelsey, rector, looked to many builders and ultimately chose Quimby Pipe Organs to build a brand new two-manual, 24-rank organ.

The specification prepared by Jeffrey Nail, organist, William Partridge, canon musician at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, consultant, and Quimby Pipe Organs is designed to lead the congregation in a noble manner, to support the choral ensembles in its role as accompanist, and to provide within the tonal resources many possibilities for the performance of organ repertoire. Indeed, the specification is well thought-out, and the instrument gives a very good accounting of itself without the redundancies found in larger instruments. The style of this instrument is distinctive to Quimby Pipe Organs, as it makes no pretense of following any school or national design. The aim of the company is to blend traditional American tonal concepts with an appreciation for the work of the notable English organbuilder T.C. Lewis, as well as research into other organbuilding traditions.

Apart from two ranks that sit on unit windchests, all other flues are independent and are found on two electropneumatic slider windchests built in the Blackinton style. This style of chest, built to a high standard, affords all the tonal benefits of slider chests - uniformity of attack, cohesion of tone, concise placement of the pipework upon the windchests, and a footprint that is smaller than standard electropneumatic pitman chests of similar stop size. They do not use slider seals but use the technique of isolating each note from the other by cross-hatching both the toe-board and chest table. This technique was used by every organbuilder from the 18th century but has lost favor today to spring-loaded and foam slider seals. Quimby slider windchests have glass epoxy-based phenolic sliders, brass spacers, and toeboards that feature butcher-block construction. Without the pressure of the spring bearing down upon the slider, the organist will find a Quimby instrument to register seamlessly and immediately as the slider glides effortlessly on and off. Also located within the windchest are Quimby Schwimmers that effectively stabilize wind pressure and maintain tuning stability. The Schwimmers are designed to give a slight pressure rise under full organ that imparts a subtle but dramatic effect.

The reeds found at Trinity Episcopal Church are meticulously voiced by Eric Johnson, head voicer at Quimby Pipe Organs, and serve well as a solo voice and crown to the ensemble. …

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