Johnson Pipe Organ opus 67


The New Johnson Pipe Organ for Jamestown College was competed in the fall of 1999. Dr. William Wojnar, instructor in organ studies, played a dedication recital October 10, 1999 at the college. As announced previously, the project was made possible by a gift from Anna Jane Schlossman in memory of her husband, William, who founded the West Acres Shopping Center and George Black, father to Mrs. Schlossman and a department store owner in Fargo.

This instrument has a number of unique features. The manual divisions reflect three major international building styles, German, French, and English.

The Great division is patterned after the nineteenth century English cathedral organ and contains a 16' stop, a five rank mixture containing a Tierce (third sounding rank), and a chorus reed Tuba (in this case called "Tromba"). All stops are in English. It is the only organ in the upper Midwest with a third sounding chorus ensemble emanating from the Great Mixture V.

The Swell is largely based on the nineteenth century French model so common to Cavaille-Coll organs where the 8' flue is an open wood pipe called the Flute Bouchee. The division has mutations, which form a Cornet. The Plein Jeu, instead of being founded on a 2 2/3', is based on a 2' like the historic models. The reed chorus ranges from 16' to 4' to add substance to the nineteenth Century romantic school. Stop nomenclature is in French.

The Positiv division is patterned after the German division, which has smaller scaled pipe work with a crown being the Cymbal IV. The short length Krummhorn 8' acts as a foil to the French Swell Cornet. Stops are in German.

The Pedal division, which is largely independent with only the reeds being extended, is eclectic to support the manual choruses. The unique 32' Bombard Cornet utilizes the 16' Trombone but with enforcement based on the 32-foot harmonic series.

In order to blend the four divisions into meaningful ensembles, each manual is based upon a separate Principal pitch level, which originates with the German device called the "Werk Princip." In other words, the Pedal chorus complete with Mixture III is based on the 16-foot chorus, the Great upon the 8-foot; the Swell is on the 4-foot, and the Positiv with its 2-foot series.

The manual chests are Johnson-made tracker action slider with electric pull-down. Powerful servomotors move the stop sliders. The offset chests are Electro-pneumatic. The wind is regulated by schwimmers, which are compact and known for their quick recovery.

The case is one of the largest in the region measuring 22 feet across, 7 feet deep and 16 foot high at the center where it is attached to the ceiling. The large east window is covered and insulated to ensure tuning stability. The case design allows easy tuning access to keep maintenance costs low and to permit organ students to enter the interior to learn about the workings of a pipe organ.

The woodwork is red native oak with highlights of gilding and polychroming. The Great division is on center with its facade of 70% tin Principals. The Pedal Principal 8' is divided between the Swell and Positiv facades.

The console is based on the historic European side-terrace draw knob model so that the music rack can remain low. The cabinet has raised panels of oak with burled walnut veneer. The stop rails are high gloss Honduras mahogany in the style of the early American tracker console. Keyboards are Johnson-made rosewood naturals and maple sharps with light tracker touch. The switching system is a Canadian-made microprocessor computer in which only six wires run from the console to the pipe chests. The capture combination action is all computerized with ninety-nine levels of memory and features a programmable crescendo, which can be done from the bench. The consoles rests on a grand piano style dolly so it can be easily moved by one person to allow for other musicians in the balcony.

The new pipe work consists of Principals by Justin and the Czech Republic, wood pipes by Artisan Builders, Reeds by Trivo Company. Some of the Stinkens pipe work from the previous organ was retained.

This being the most unusual pipe organ in the region with its amalgamation of several schools of tonal design, should prove to be an ideal teaching instrument where students can study several major international styles with sonorities that will support the original intentions of the composers. Additionally, organ students can learn about the functioning of a pipe organ and pass this background onto their own churches when they make plans to purchase a new pipe organ.

The following workers contributed to the building of the organ: Lance E. Johnson Sr., Mark Anderson, Soni Carlson, James Gruber, Willard Held ,Gregg Holman, Mike Johnson, Lance E. "Skip" Johnson II, Marlowe Kulish, Rhonda M. Morris, and Nick Pulicicchio.

A special 'thank you" is extended to former president, Dr. James Walker, current president Dr. Jerry Combee, Al Gullekson (buildings and grounds) and Dr. William Wojnar, instructor in organ.

Area organists are encouraged to visit Voorhees Chapel to inspect the organ by making arrangements with Dr. Wojnar.

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