Third Baptist church of St. Louis, Missouri has signed a contract with Bogue Organs of Downers Grove, Illinois for the rebuilding and enlargement of the church’s pipe organ. The Bogue company was chosen by the church organ committee after a nearly year-long process. During that time multiple companies were invited to give their recommendations on the preservation of the church’s historic organ.
The organ was originally designed by the Kilgen company of St. Louis and was installed in 1930 following remodeling of the church after a fire. The organ was designed to be 60 ranks, however, only 30 ranks were installed at that time. In 1949, the Möller Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland was contracted to complete the organ with 59 ranks. Many of the original Kilgen pipes and chests were retained and used in the new Möller organ. In 1951, the Kilgen console was replaced with a new 4-manual console built by Möller. Later one rank in the form of a Tibia unit rank was added to the organ. The organ is housed in three expressive chambers, two on either side of the chancel and one Antiphonal division in the rear ceiling of the church.
In the upcoming rebuild all of the existing pipework will be retained as will the current blower and motor, and expression shades. Everything else will be new, including a new custom 4-manual console, electrical system, relays, windchests, and reservoirs. Minor damage to some pipes will be repaired, and some partial ranks that were removed will be returned to use. 9 new ranks of pipes will be crafted, and the majority of the ranks will be restored to their original compass of 73 notes. This will bring the organ to a total of 69 ranks, or 4279 pipes, making it the 5th largest organ in the City of St. Louis.
In addition the church has contracted with Greg Caldwell Organ Reed Restoration of St. Louis to repair and restore the existing reed pipes in the organ as well as voice the new reed ranks to be added to the organ.
In addition to the organ’s current specification, a floating 8′ Tuba Mirabilis will be added. An 8′ Stopped Flute and a 16′ manual Tromba will be added to the Great division, and an 8′ Viola Celeste to pair with the existing Viola will be added in the Choir. A new 8′ Trumpet will replace the current borrowed Trumpet in the Swell, and a 4′ Night Horn will replace the existing 4′ Triangle Flute (which will be relocated to the Antiphonal Division to replace the existing borrowed 4′ Gedeckt). A new 8′ Flauto Dolce will be added to pair with an isolated existing Flauto Celeste. An 8′ Holz Regal will be added to the Postiv division. A previously removed portion of the 16′ Open Diapason in the Pedal is being restored, and chimes that had previously been installed in the Choir division are being relocated to the Antiphonal. The entire rebuild works to create a more versatile service and concert instrument while still retaining the organ’s English Cathedral/American Classic combination style.
Work is scheduled to begin in the church in June of 2008 with the removal of the Great, Positiv, Pedal, and Choir divisions housed in the chamber on the south side of the chancel, followed soon after by the reinstallation of these divisions and delivery of the new console. In August of 2008 the Swell and Antiphonal divisions are scheduled to be removed, and will be reinstalled in January of 2009. The entire instrument will at that time be tonally finished.
Funds for this project are being raised from the Third Baptist congregation and underwritten by a grant from the Third Baptist Foundation.