The Organs of Christ Church
The Gibbs-Preyer Sanctuary Organ
THE EARLY 1950's
The Christ Church Sanctuary Organ is a distinctive instrument built by the Schantz Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio. Given by Mr. and Mrs. Alvin J. Gibbs and Mrs. Frederick W. Preyer in memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Gibbs, the organ was built in 1952 as a major phase of Christ Church’s renovation and expansion program. The brief association of E. M. Skinner with the Schantz Company witnessed the installation of the instrument. The tonal design of John Schantz and Mr. Skinner brought about several unique features. Unusually broad-scaled principals in the great and pedal division laid the foundation for a wonderfully rich and sonorous tone. The solo division was noteworthy due to the large-scaled viola and celeste, as well as the doppelflote and lovely vox humana. Over the years, under the supervision of various organists of the church’s rich musical tradition, subtle tonal revisions had been made based on popular trends in organ voicing, especially regarding the principal choruses and mixtures.
END OF THE 20th CENTURY
The 1996 tonal rebuild and enlargement sought to bring about a return to the original American Classic tonal design of 1952. A noteworthy addition to the instrument was the Elsass Memorial Trompette en Chemade, given by the Russell Elsass family in memory of beloved wife and mother, Anne Elsass (who served as dean of the Canton chapter of the American Guild of Organists). The stop is afforded a commanding position high on the front wall of the chancel. Other noteworthy additions included the Tuba Mirabilis, a heroic English-style solo reed under expression in the Solo division, the Harmonic Flute, the 32’ Contra Posaune, and the Zymbelstern. The original instrument of 1952 contained 59 ranks. The organ as it now stands is comprised of five divisions with a total of 72 ranks (58 stops).
Under the wise and prudent stewardship of the Trustees of CPC, re-leathering and chest rebuilding of each division of the organ—Choir, Solo, Great, Pedal, and finally Swell—was systematically financed and executed over the period of 1996 to 2003 by the Schantz Company. This process fortuitously prepared all the sound-producing components of the organ located in the two large double-story pipe chambers to allow for the final phase of this long-term renovation: the new console.
THE 21st CENTURY
In the summer of 2008, the Schantz Organ Company built a completely new four-manual console with solid-state digital components. With greatly expanded devices for more flexible and creative use of the organ, there are now 105 drawknobs, 31 tilting coupler tabs, 63 thumb pistons, 31 toe studs, 256 levels of digital memory, with MIDI-control technology. The console is moveable to any location on the main chancel level, allowing full view of the performers at our several organ concerts.
Download the Organ Specifications.
The Hazel Parkinson Chapel Organ
The two-manuals & pedal tracker-action organ in Christ Chapel was built in 1984 by Charles M. Ruggles of Olmsted Falls, OH (subsequently moved to Conifer, CO). With a clear resemblance to the Opus 2 instrument built for his father’s residence in Cleveland Heights, this Opus 10, 8-rank organ was secured on a strong dolly, so that it can be moved into the sanctuary by a minimum of three strong men. Its versatile tonal spectrum and blend serve well in both the intimate space of the chapel as well as the resonant grand sanctuary. The organ’s dulcet singing flutes are gems for quiet chamber music, and the instrument holds it own for concise leadership of congregational singing in both worship venues.
The Grant Mason Continuo Organ
The one-manual mechanical-action continuo organ was built in 2004 by Rudolf von Beckerath Orgelbau, of Hamburg, Germany, and used for ten years by professional early music ensembles in New York City. It was acquired by Christ Church in September of 2014 as a gift from Janet Mason in memory of her beloved husband, Grant. There are three ranks of pipes voiced as Gedackt 8’, Rohrflöte 4’, and Oktave 2’, plus an additional half rank for the upper register of the instrument as a Holzprinzipal 4’. The organ is used most often in the balcony for accompaniments and quieter hymn singing, and occasionally in the chancel as needed for continuo support in Baroque and Classical choral/orchestral performances.