THE NCC PIPE ORGAN

THE GEORGE MITCHELL WILLIAMS PIPE ORGAN

 

The George Mitchell Williams Pipe Organ, located in the sanctuary organ loft,  was custom  built in 1973 by the Schlicker Organ Company, of Buffalo, New York. In March, 2010 the instrument was rededicated to the glory of God and in memory of NCC's venerable Organist/Music Director of 42 years who had been so instrumental in its selection and design. 


In 2016, under the supervision of NCC's Organist/Music Director, James Brian Smith, the Sanctuary organ underwent renovation and repair. The work was completed in just under three months by  Ericksen, Christian and Associates of Glen Elyn, Illinois. This fine instrument is one again at its fullest voice

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUMENT
As one looks at the instrument, one sees there are three sections:
The middle section has the pipes  for the lowest keyboard, called the Great. To the south (right) are the pipes for  the Swell, so called because it has shutters, like Venetian blinds, that open  or close permitting expression of sound. To the north (left) are the pipes for  the pedals, played by the feet. The display pipes in the front of the swell and  pedal sections are arranged as they are for  visual effect.

 

The pipes of each section are set on three large rectangular boxes called "chests," each weighing 500 pounds. The organ uses mechanical action, which is also referred to as tracker, action. The action of an organ is a term used to  describe mechanical means of how the keys enable the pipes to sound. In tracker  action, the organist is in direct control of the pallet allowing air into the  pipe. It is therefore the most artistic action. Many components comprise tracker  action. The names and functions of these components are: 

  • Trackers – the portions of the action used to make a pulling motion. Trackers can be  used over long distances. They are thin strips of wood, roughly 1 cm wide and 2  mm thick. Although flexible, at rest they hold their shape. Playing a note  pulls on the end nearer to the keyboard, so they are in tension while the note  is playing. The term comes from the Latin verb trahere, to draw (pull).
  • Stickers – used for a pushing motion; often paired with  trackers. Their length is limited by the material, though most of the time,  capping off at about 10 inches.
  • Levers – used to transfer from a tracker  (pulling) to a sticker (pushing), or a general change of direction, or both.
  • Backfalls – used for motion over a small  or short distance where trackers and stickers would be otherwise illogical to  use. As a natural result, the motion also changes direction.
  • Squares – a specific type of lever commonly used in  organs which is at a right (90°) angle. Squares can also come in a “T” shape  and form.
  • Rollers – wooden shafts, which rotate. Used for parallel  direction in vertical or horizontal motion. They have  small levers on each end, like cranks.
  • Roller board – location upon which rollers are attached  (note: rollers are often used densely in one section of the action and so are  often closely associated with the roller board.)
  • Stops – knobs which indirectly control the flow of air  over certain ranks of pipes. They are activated with a pulling motion by hand,  and deactivated (or stopped) by pushing them shut.
  • Trundle – used as a substitute for levers in the action associated with the Stops and Slider boards.

    A model of the mechanical action of an organ was built by Jim Hutten from spare parts from the  installation of the Schlicker Organ and is on display outside the choir room. 

    The different sounds of the  organ along with their respective on/off switches are called stops. The total listing of stops is called  a specification.
    The specification of the organ  is:

Great
Swell
Pedal
Principal 8’
Rohr Floete 8’
Subbass 16’
Holz Gedackt 8’
Salicional 8’
Principal 8’
Octave 4’
Voix Celeste 8’
Metal Gedackt 8’
Rohr Floete 4’
Spitz Floete 4’
Choral Bass 4’
Nacht Horn 2’
Nasat 2 2/3’
Mixture IV
Mixture IV-V
Principal 2’
Fagott 16’
Trompete 8’
Terz 1 3/5’
Schalmei 4’
Swell to Great 8’
Scharf III-IV
Great to Pedal 8’

Holz Dulzian 16’
Swell to Pedal 8’

Schalmei 8’


Tremolo


 

A more recent addition to the organ is a zimbelstern, made by Casavant, which was installed in 2010. Zimbelstern means  "cymbal-star". Zimbelsterns used to be made in the shape of a star  with small bells at each point. The star was turned, either manually or  pneumatically, and the bells were struck by stationary clappers mounted around  the star - much like a child’s pinwheel.

 

Modern zimbelsterns are  electrically operated. The bells do not rotate. Instead, a rotating device in  the center strikes the bells. The sanctuary organ zimbelstern is constructed in the latter  fashion.

 

by James Brian Smith, Director of Music/Organist