Music at St. Thomas’

Choir

St. Thomas’ Choir

 

 

The music program has always been a pride of the parish. Our 50-rank Schantz organ was installed in 1992. The adult choir, numbering around 15 regular members, is a dedicated group of singers, who have worked together for many years. We seek opportunities to involve children and youth in our music program, through a youth choir or through special events within the context of our current music program. Music tends to be from the classic Anglican liturgical repertory, with service music also tending to the older and more orthodox forms, including “Wonder Love and Praise” and service music from the Hymnal. In other words, St. Thomas’ has held to conservative musical expression, but is making an effort to broaden its traditions.

Minister of Music

Jane M. Schroeder, S.M.M.

Organ

The first pipe organ in the present St. Thomas’ Church building was a three-manual Austin, one of a number of instruments donated to churches by the Curtis family in the 1930’s. By the 1970’s, during the rectorship of the late J. F. Titus Oates, this organ had fallen into disrepair and the decision was made to replace it with a (then) state-of-the-art three-manual Rodgers electronic.

Unfortunately, electronic organ technology moved very fast and very far over the next years. The Rodgers was essentially a one-off style of instrument, built immediately before the advent of digital electronics.

When it ultimately needed maintenance and repair work it was found that the proper parts were unavailable, and that the builder even lacked a shop manual. It did, however, hold together and remain playable until one fateful day when incumbent organist Jerry Koontz was preparing to accompany a Brahms concert to be conducted by the current minister of music at St. Thomas’. The organ breathed its last while Jerry was checking his registrations, and the entire affair was at the last minute moved to the Congregational Church.

This untoward event having stirred considerable interest, the decision was then made to form an organ committee and to engage John Doney as professional consultant. The committee heard and inspected numerous representative instruments from several builders, and ultimately agreed with John Doney’s advice to contract with the Schantz company, a family-owned Ohio business of long standing and high reputation.

Many individuals, families, and foundations contributed memorial donations to the major fund-raising effort that was required, and the present instrument was installed and voiced under the personal direction of Burton Tidwell, the tonal director of Schantz, in the late winter and spring of 1992. The dedicatory recital was given later in the year by Dr. John Weaver of the Curtis Institute.

Specifications of the Organ

Schantz Organ Company, Orrville, Ohio. Installed 1992

  • Great (Manual II) 61 Notes
  • PRINCIPAL 8’
  • OCTAVE 4’
  • Super Octave 2’ (from Fourniture)
  • Fourniture IV ranks
  • SHARFF III ranks
  • ROHRFLÜTE 8’
  • HARMONIC FLUTE 4’
  • Gemshorn 16’ (from Gemshorn 8’)
  • GEMSHORN 8’
  • TROMPETE 8’
  • SWELL (MANUAL III) 61 NOTES
  • Bourdon 16’ (from Bourdon 8’)
  • BOURDON 8’
  • VIOLA POMPOSA 8’
  • VIOLA CELESTE 8’ (Tenor C)
  • PRESTANT 4’
  • NACHTHORN 4’
  • Spillflöte 2’ (from Bourdon 8’)
  • PLEIN JEU IV ranks
  • Fagot 16’ (from Fagot 8’)
  • Fagot 8’
  • Fagot 4’ (from Fagot 8’)
  • TROMPETTE 8’
  • CHOIR (MANUAL I) 61 NOTES
  • GEDACKT 8’
  • ERZÄHLER 8’
  • ERZÄHLER CELESTE 8’ (Tenor C)
  • GEIGEN 4’
  • KOPPEL FLÜTE 4’
  • Blockflüte 2’ (from Gedackt)
  • PRINZIPAL 2’
  • CYMBEL III ranks
  • LARIGOT 13/3
  • KRUMMHORN 8’
  • FLAUTO DOLCE 8’ (in chapel)
  • FLAUTO DOLCE CELESTE 8’ (in chapel)
  • PEDAL 32 NOTES
  • Bourdon 32’ (electronic)
  • Lieblich Bourdon 32’ (electronic)
  • PRINCIPAL 16’
  • OCTAVE 8’
  • CHORAL BASS 4’
  • MIXTURE IV ranks
  • POSAUNE 16’
  • Posaune 8’ (from Posaune 16’)
  • Posaune 4’ (from Posaune 16’)
  • Fagot 16’ (from Swell)
  • Fagot 8’ (from Swell)
  • Gemshorn 16’ (from Great)
  • Gemshorn 8’ (from Great)
  • Rohrbourdon 16’ (from Swell)
  • Bourdon 8’ (from Swell)
  • Rohrflüte 4’ (from Great)

There are standard intramanual and intermanual suboctave, superoctave and unison couplers. An additional set of couplers together with the ‘unison offs’ allows the transfer of the Great to Manual I and the Choir to either Manual II or III.

There are ten general combination pistons (duplicated by toe studs), and six divisional pistons for each division. The Swell and Choir divisions are under expression. Accessories include a crescendo pedal, a sforzando piston and toe stud, and a reversible piston for the prepared-for Zimbelstern.

Thanks to a gift, we have been able to upgrade the combination action and there are now thirty-two levels of memory.