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St. Paul Parish, Philadelphia, PA

Skinner Organ Company, Boston, MA. Opus 638, 1927

Organ Case

Skinner Organ Company’s Opus 638 was designed and built in 1927 for Sinai Temple in Mount Vernon, New York. Upon the Temple’s closing in 1997, the instrument was purchased by Spencer Organ Company and put into storage for eventual resale. A meeting of the minds between Fred Haas and Saint Paul Parish made possible this special project, which not only allows Op. 638 to replace an ailing electronic substitute but also, and perhaps more importantly, constitutes only one of two pipe organ installations in a Philadelphia Roman Catholic parish since the 1970s.

The goal of this project has been as strict a restoration as possible within the given conditions. The organ was originally in two chambers, the Great and Swell on one side, Choir and Pedal in another. Behind the original 1849 Hall & Labaugh case, the Great and Swell are now sited just below impost level, with the Choir above; the Pedal Bourdon and Great Diapason bass occupy the case’s left side. The unusual Shofar, an octave of slender, loud trumpet pipes, is elevated above the Great windchest and adds an unexpected final clang to full organ.

While the organ was still in its original home, the Swell Vox Humana was exchanged for a string stop of unknown provenance. For this project, the Vox Humana register was re-instated using a contemporary Skinner rank; and a Skinner 4’ Octave identical in scale to the 8’ Aeoline was installed in its place, bearing in mind the needs of congregational singing. Both ranks are from Skinner Op. 553.

Spencer Organ Company wishes to thank not only its dedicated crew but also the many colleagues who contributed materially to the project’s success. And, to St. Paul Parish organist, Michael Lawrence who was pivotal in inspiring this project and finally, a special note of gratitude is due to Fred Haas and L. Curt Mangel III for making this job possible.

Great
8 Diapason
8 Gedeckt
4 Octave
4 Flute
[16] Shofar (G44-G56)

Swell
16 Bourdon
8 Diapason
8 Salicional
8 Voix Celeste
8 Gedeckt
4 Octave
4 Flute
8 Cornopean
8 Vox Humana
Tremolo

Choir
8 Concert Flute
4 Flute
8 Clarinet
Tremolo

Pedal
16 Bourdon
16 Echo Bourdon
8 Gedeckt
8 Still Gedeckt

Couplers
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal
Choir to Pedal
Swell to Pedal 4
Swell to Great
Swell to Choir
Choir to Great
Swell 16
Swell 4
Swell to Great 16
Swell to Great 4
Choir 16
Choir 4
Choir to Great 16
Great 4

Combinations (not affecting couplers)
Swell 1-2-3-4
Great 1-2-3-4
Choir 1-2-3
Pedal 1-2-3
General Cancel
Set
Great to Pedal (toe reversible)
Sforzando (toe reversible, indicator)

Balanced Pedals
Choir
Swell
Register Crescendo (with indicator)

The organ speaks on six-inch wind pressure.

The three manual console was refinished, and all ivory and nickel-plated hardware was buffed, retaining its 1926 elegance.

The three manual console was refinished, and all ivory and nickel-plated hardware was buffed, retaining its 1926 elegance.

The intricate internal console machinery was completely restored, preserving the aesthetic and function of the original organ.

The intricate internal console machinery was completely restored, preserving the aesthetic and function of the original organ.

The organ was completely re-engineered for the new space, including the construction of all new framing, windlines, and expression enclosures. Below the Swell division are the reservoirs, tremulants, and offset bass chests.

The organ was completely re-engineered for the new space, including the construction of all new framing, windlines, and expression enclosures. Below the Swell division are the reservoirs, tremulants, and offset bass chests.

The Swel division, on two chests, is partially duplexed to the Great for added versatility

The Swell division, on two chests, is partially duplexed to the Great for added versatility

The three-stop Choir division speaks with prominence from the top of the organ.

The three-stop Choir division speaks with prominence from the top of the organ.