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First Presbyterian Church
Battle Creek, Michigan

The organ at First Presbyterian Church began its musical life in 1928 as Op. 720, a classic example of the work of Ernest M. Skinner. It was one of four instruments in Battle Creek built by the Skinner firm in the late twenties. Beginning in the 1950s, tonal changes were made: pipes salvaged from a local Johnson replaced several ranks; in the 1960s Casavant added a Great Mixture and replaced the entire Choir save for the original Skinner Clarinet; finally, in 1979 the organ was extensively overhauled by George B. Price of Tekonsha, Michigan, with new windchests and pipework added to the existing mechanisms. At this point, the Skinner organ was essentially no longer, save for the main windchests and a half-dozen ranks of pipes.

By the late 1980s, the organ was plagued by mechanical problems in both the console and the windchests, and it was apparent to First Presbyterian that a corrective, long-range plan ought to be developed. In 1991, we were asked to develop such a plan. Our proposal described a new instrument which reused as much material of the old organ as possible in a way which was consistent with our philosophy of mechanical reliability and tonal quality. A contract for this work was signed in April, 1993.

The basic layout of the organ, with Great and Pedal in the left chamber and Swell over Choir in the right, was retained from the original Skinner organ. It was decided that the original Skinner windchests, extensively and unfortunately modified by Price in 1979, would be replaced with electric-slider windchests. Existing components included in the new organ are some reservoirs, the original blower, static reservoirs and metal windlines, the 1979 Pedal windchest, the original tremolos and swell engines, the original framing and swell fronts, as well as nearly all existing pipes from the previous organ.

An entirely new console, combination action and switching system were provided. Unlike the previous console (which replaced Skinner’s original), the new console is movable; though it controls a much larger instrument, is smaller in every dimension than the old console.

Significant features of the new instrument’s tonal design are a substantially new principal chorus on the Great, a completed principal chorus in the Choir, and the addition of important new solo colors such as the Great Harmonic Flute and Cornet, and the Choir Tuba.

Great
16' Violone 1–32 old*, 33–61 new
8' Principal 1-14 new, 15-61 old
8' Bourdon 1-14 new, 15-61 old
8' Harmonic Flute 1-12 from Bourdon, 13-61 new
4' Octave 1-61 new
4' Nachthorn 1-61 new
2-2/3' Twelfth 1-61 new
2' Fifteenth 1-61 new
1 3/5' Seventeenth 1-61 new
V Cornet 8' f18 - c49, mounted; 96 old, 64 new
IV Mixture 1-1/3' 244 pipes, old
16' Contra Trumpet 1-56 old, 57-85 new
8' Trumpet 1-61 new
4' Clarion from Contra Trumpet
8' Tuba from Choir
Swell to Great 16
Swell to Great 8
Swell to Great 4
Choir to Great 16
Choir to Great 8
Choir to Great 4
Swell (expressive)
16' Bourdon 1-61 old
8' Geigen Principal 1-61 old*
8' Chimney Flute 1-61 old*
8' Salicional 1-8 new, 9-61 old*
8' Celeste 1-7 new, 8-61 old*
4' Octave 1-61 old
4' Flute 1-61 old*
2' Octavin 1-61 old
V Mixture 2' 305 pipes, 209 old*, 96 new
16' Bassoon 1-61 old
8' Trumpet 1-61 old
8' Oboe 1-61 old*
Tremulant
Swell to Swell 16'
Swell to Swell 4'
Choir (expressive)
8' Gedeckt 1-61 old
8' Gemshorn 1-61 new
8' Celeste FF 6-61 new
4' Spitz Principal 1-61 old
4' Chimney Flute 1-61 old
2-2/3' Nazard 1-61 old
2' Octave 1-61 new
2' Recorder 1-61 old
1-3/5' Tierce 1-61 old
IV Sharp Mixture 1' 244 pipes, new
8' Clarinet 1-61 old*
Tremulant
Chimes 22-42 old*
8' Tuba 1-61 new, hooded
Choir Separation+
Choir to Choir 16'
Choir to Choir 4'
Swell to Choir 16'
Swell to Choir 8'
Swell to Choir 4'
Pedal
32' Resultant from Contrabass and Subbass
16' Open Wood 1-32 old
16' Contrabass from Great
16' Subbass 1-44 old
8' Octave 1-44 old
8' Bourdon from Subbass
4' Choralbass from Octave
4' Flute 1-32 old
IV Mixture 2-2/3' 128 pipes, old
32' Contra Bassoon 1-12 new, ext. of Gr. Contra Trumpet
16' Trombone 1-44 new
16' Bassoon from Great Contra Trumpet
8' Trumpet from Trombone
4' Clarion from Great Contra Trumpet
4' Schalmei 1-32 new
8' Tuba from Choir
Great to Pedal 8
Swell to Pedal 8
Choir to Pedal 8
* denotes that some or all of the stop is from the original Skinner organ.
+ Choir Separation allows Tuba to play from Choir manual, while the remainder of the Choir can be coupled to other divisions.
  
The Stoplist of E. M. Skinner Op. 720,
taken from the factory notebook
  
GREAT ORGAN -- 61 Pipes 6"
16' Bourdon (Pedal Extension) 17 [independent pipes]
8' First Diapason 43 1/5
8' Second Diapason 45 - 2/9
8' Flute Harmonique
4' Principal 57
4' Flute #2
2' Fifteenth 70
8' Tuba (heavy wind) 10"
Chimes - 20 Notes - In Echo
SWELL ORGAN -- 73 Pipes 6"
8' Diapason 45 - 2/9
8' Rohrflute common
8' Salicional 64
8' Voix Celeste 64
4' Octave 58
4' Flute Triangulaire
Mixture (V Ranks) 305 C-4 (1-9)(2-13)(3-11)(4-15)(5-13)
16' Waldhorn
8' Trumpet
8' Oboe d'Amore
8' Vox Humana
CHOIR ORGAN -- 73 pipes 6"
8' Geigen 46
8' Concert Flute #1 + 1
8' Dulciana 56
8' Unda Maris -- 61 56
4' Flute Rohr Flt
8' Clarinet
8' Harp 61 Notes
4' Celesta
Tremolo
PEDAL ORGAN -- Augmented 6"
16' Diapason (bearded) 32 Pipes
16' Bourdon 32 " 37w[ood] 12m[etal]
8' Octave 12 "
8' Gedeckt 12 "
4' Flute 12 "
16' Trombone 8"
Chimes
ECHO ORGAN -- 61 5"
8' Quintadena com[mon] 12-20-28 new scale
8' Vox Humana com[mon]
C O U P L E R S
Swell to Great
Choir to Great Unison
Swell to Choir
Swell to Swell 4'
Swell to Swell 16'
Swell to Great 4'
Swell to Great 16'
Choir to Choir 4' Octave
Choir to Choir 16'
Choir to Great 4'
Choir to Great 16'
Swell to Choir 4'
Swell to Choir 16'
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal Pedal
Swell to Pedal 4'
COMBINATIONS
Adjustable at the console and visibly operating the draw stop knobs.
GREAT-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
SWELL-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
CHOIR-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
PEDAL-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
GENERAL -- 1, 2, 3, 4
MECHANICALS
Swell Expression
Choir Expression
Crescendo Pedal
Great to Pedal Reversible
Sforzando
General Cancel

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