Category Archives: Articles

Pipe Organs of Istanbul

Turkish Catholic Church

I recently spent two weeks in Istanbul and encountered very little evidence of pipe organs. Instrumental and congregational music are not part of Islamic prayer, so the lack of organs was not surprising. The two Roman Catholic Churches in the Galata district house functional pipe organs which I saw but did not hear (see photos). The Christian Orthodox churches do not have organs.

A Turkish organ
A Turkish organ

One of the universities contains a concert hall with a 6000-pipe organ, but I did not see this one. I do not believe the modern civic concert hall houses an organ. Turkey does not have, obviously, much of an organ culture.

We do know of a 16th century instrument built and installed by English organ builder Thomas Dallam  for the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III at the behest of Queen Elizabeth. I had read that this was no longer in existence, but while touring the mid-19th century Dolmabahçe Palace I noticed remnants of pipes and organ mechanisms in a large, glass fronted cabinet. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in the palace. Read more about The Sultan’s pipe organ.

I was in a clock museum and saw a musical clock (such as Haydn and Mozart knew). Most of the internal pipes, however, were crushed.

Curt Sather

Opening of 2016-2017 Program Season at Spanaway Lutheran

To the delight of many in the audience, Cheryl and Tim Drewes opened our 2016-2017 season with a lecture-demonstration featuring the 1905 Woodberry organ in Spanaway Lutheran Church.  Using music carefully selected to match the instrument and the historical context, Tim and Cheryl discussed registration  and musical form, accompanied by flawless performances of illustrative works.   Cheryl prepared a handout illustrating the history of the organ, from its original home in Newport, KY in 1905, to its current home in Spanaway, WA.  That handout is available at the end of this article.

Following the program, many stayed for wine, cheese, and conversation in the narthex of the church.

Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church
Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church

Cheryl Drewes is the organist at Spanaway Lutheran Church.  Tim Drewes, skilled in both organ performance and organ restoration, restored this organ to its present state upon its arrival in Spanaway, after many years of not being used.  Both are members of our chapter, and concertize widely both locally and nationally.

Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church
Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church

If the PDF file fails to display, you may download it here.

Sept meeting at Spanaway Lutheran

Please join us for the first meeting of our new program year on Monday, September 19 at 7:30 pm, when Cheryl Drewes, Director of Music at Spanaway Lutheran Church, collaborates with her husband Tim to present the church’s 1905 Woodberry organ.  The versatility of this organ will be demonstrated in music of its own, as well as other, eras.  Cheryl and Tim will also present a brief history of the organ, with an overview of the Woodberry company and a discussion the organ aesthetics of the time.

Further attractions includes a wine and cheese reception to be held after the meeting.  Come, get to know this gem of an organ and  enjoy catching up after the summer with your AGO friends!  Also, we especially ask that each of you make an effort to personally invite area organists and organ enthusiasts of your acquaintance who are not active in our chapter.

New Members

We acquired two new members in July.  Clint Kraus, formerly the assistant organist at St. James Cathedral, is now living in Tacoma and pursuing a career in medicine.  Will Stuivenga has joined as a dual member from the Olympia chapter.  Welcome to our newest members!

Dinner Before Meetings

Your Executive Committee is trying to gauge interest in having a meal together before meetings on an occasional basis in order to provide some social time.  These meals might be in a restaurant located near the meeting venue, or, if there is enough interest, catered at the meeting venue.  This sort of activity has been successful in other chapters.

There is a poll on our website where you can indicate your level of interest.  If you haven’t done so yet, head over to and vote.

In order to vote, you must be logged in.  There are still a few people who don’t have passwords.  An article  (available on the website and reprinted in the August newsletter) explains how to obtain a password and why it is important.