Paul Fritts, founder of Paul Fritts & Company, talks about a “warm, live room” in describing First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, IN, the destination of Opus 41, a large 2 manual organ undergoing final touches in the Fritts Organ Shop in Parkland, Washington. While the room itself is inviting, and a good acoustical home for an organ, the climate is not. The very cold winters, and hot, humid summers have the potential to make the wooden organ parts swell and contract, and even crack. To reduce this effect, the wood used in the organ is cooked–heat treated in a vacuum for varying periods, depending on its intended use, greatly reducing the potential for being altered or damaged by a changing environment.
The aesthetics of the organ are also important, and carefully considered with respect to how the organ will appear when it takes its place at the front of the church. The width of the pedal towers, for example, is compared to the space in between them, and those ratios compared to architectural ratios found in the church. The pipe shades are carefully and intricately carved, and have been painted with gold leaf to enhance the visibility of the detail.
Three Members Perform Varied Repertoire
On Monday, September 18, the Tacoma Chapter of the AGO met to see the almost-completed organ and to hear a members’ recital. Paul Tegels, organist at Pacific Lutheran University, opened the musical portion of the program with an echo fantasia of J. P. Sweelinck, and continued, with Haydn pieces for a musical clock, and pieces by Franck and Krebs.
Curt Sather, organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olympia, added music of two Bachs–chorales of J. S. Bach and a movement from a C.P.E. Bach sonata. Demonstrating the versatility of the organ (and the organist) Curt included pieces from A Quaker Reader by Ned Rorem (born 1926).
Naomi Shiga, organist at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Tacoma, and current dean of our chapter, introduced the program, and concluded the musical portion with Bach Allein Gott and Fugue in C Major.
“This chapter is so fortunate to have so many talented organists and organ builders. It’s unusual.”
–David Dahl, Organist Emeritus, Pacific Lutheran University
The Chapter is indebted to Paul Fritts for graciously hosting this program and providing an introductory talk. Many thanks also to Karen Bredberg for providing refreshments for this opening program.
The recital program is attached below. Note that page 2 includes a stop list, with indications of which stops are currently playable.20170918-program