Progressive & Flexible
St. Francis de Sales Church is a large congregation which supports a school and numerous other ministries. A very small pipe organ was installed when the present building was constructed in the early 1950s, but it no longer supported the music ministry of the parish. While the budget did not allow for a new organ, the available space demanded a custom design. By painstakingly incorporating new mechanical parts with select vintage components and pipework, we were able to create an instrument that has all of the benefits and customization of a new organ at a significantly lower cost.
Tonally, the organ utilizes its 10 ranks in a progressive and flexible manner. The instrument boasts three stops extending to 16′ pitch, plus 8 of the 10 ranks speaking at 8′ pitch. Independent 8′ and 4′ principals in the Great provide a solid foundation for congregational singing, the organ’s primary use. Our comprehensive knowledge of scaling and pipe design allowed us to utilize vintage pipes without compromise and as if they were custom-made for this instrument. All were meticulously cleaned and re-voiced in our shop.
The organ has an essentially new console. A fine vintage console cabinet was fitted with thick ivory keys from our inventory, plus a new control system and stop controls were installed. Other mechanical components such as windchests are new, designed and constructed by our craftsmen.
The organ remains in the balcony with the choir, but was relocated to a more optimal high position on the back wall. The new case and façade were designed to harmonize with the architecture of the church. The façade pipes are new.
Realizing the Dream
Our part in realizing this dream owes everything to the leadership of organist Michael Farris, who was the catalyst for the project and is a great friend to music and the pipe organ in West Virginia. The first new organ in Beckley since 1983, this pipe organ stands as a testament to good stewardship of resources and high-quality organ building, and is the culmination of the long-held vision of parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Church.