THE CHURCHES OF RICHMOND
Photography by John G. DeMajo
THE CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
HISTORY OF THE CATHEDRAL ORGAN 1906-1991
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (Richmond, Virginia) organ was built by the John Brown Company of Wilmington, Delaware, and installed by Mr. C. B. Brown prior to the dedication of the Cathedral on November 29, 1906. The dedication booklet states that when it was installed, it was the largest in the country. (This is doubtful.) The original organ contained forty-seven ranks, seven couplers and nineteen accessories; it had a total of 3,916 pipes. The action was tubular-pneumatic, with an extended console placed in the center of the gallery.
In 1912, just six years after the organ was built, it was rebuilt by M. P. Moller, Inc. of Hagerstown, Maryland, and provided with the more up-to-date electric action. It was necessary to reduce the number of ranks to thirty-nine. The new console was placed at right angles to the organ, and the couplers were increased from the original seven to twenty.
In 1931, Moller added a new drawstop action to the console. Also, the diapason basses were installed and the tonal balance was improved in depth, sparkle, clarity and color.
In 1940, the organ was completely rebuilt and redesigned by the Tellers Organ Company. New ventil chests were added throughout. Also a new console was placed again in the center of the gallery. Several new ranks of pipes were added to the 1912 Moller organ. Only the case pipes remained of the original John Brown organ.
The blower was added by Tellers in 1940. It appears to be a used 1925 vintage kinetic blower from a theater organ. It puts out 24 inches of wind pressure.
Tellers again updated the organ in 1949 by extending several ranks of pipes.
In 1967, the organ was “baroque-a-fied” by the addition of eight new ranks, including several trumpet stops and a 16 foot metal pedal open diapason. This work was done by Thomas Schaettle, the Cathedral organist at that time. This pipework was provided by the A. R. Schopp's SonsCompany.
The current Cathedral organ project is in two phases. The first phase has just been completed by Robert G. Lent of the Shenandoah Organ Studio. Over the past two years, Mr. Lent has completely rebuilt the organ, replacing the three manual Tellers console with two new four manual consoles, one in the gallery and the other in the chancel. A totally new solid state multiplex relay system was installed that controls the entire organ. Also added is the new eight foot solid brass Trumpet En Chamade, the pipework being done by A. R. Schopp's Sons Company.
Yet to be completed (phase two) is the addition of a fifteen rank chancel organ. This organ will act as an antiphonal organ to the gallery organ. It also will be used to accompany the choir for liturgical events and concerts.
History provided by: Hon. Thomas O. Jones, Cathedral Parishioner and Choir Member
CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART
As documented by Donald Traser
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
John Brown organ, 1906, 3m/53r
16 Double Open Diapason 61 pipes, metal
16 Bourdon 61 pipes, wood
16 Lieblich Gedacht 61 pipes, wood
32 Contra Bourdon 30 pipes, wood
Great to Pedal; Swell to Pedal; Choir to Pedal; Swell to Great unison & super; Swell to Choir; Choir to Great; Tremolo to Swell; Tremolo to Choir
COMBINATION AND PEDAL MOVEMENTS
Rear gallery installation with tubular pneumatic action.
Information from photocopies of dedication booklet, no title.
As rebuilt by M. P. Moller (1912, 1931), Tellers (1940, 1949), and Thomas Schaettle (1967)
1. 16 Violone
10. 16 Flute
27. 8 Bourdon
30. 4 Fugara
BOMBARDE (playable from Great & Choir)
SOLO (playable from Great & Choir)
39. 8 Double Chimney Flute
42. 32 Diapason Resultant
Site visit by DT.
As rebuilt by Shenandoah Organ Studios (1991)
8 Trumpet en Chamade
8 Double Flute
The organ remains a gallery installation with 4-manual consoles in both the gallery and chancel. The chancel division is prepared for.
Information from dedication program, September 15, 1991