While the size and capabilities of the Scribner-Keeble Memorial Pipe Organ by Schantz pipe organ company at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church are significantly larger and more capable than pipe organs installed in many small and mid-size churches, it is a modest instrument in comparison to the very limited number of “show piece” pipe organs. Three of those relatively large “show pieces” include:
The 55 rank Austrian built Rieger Pipe Organ located at the Church of the Holy Trinity, in New York City (installed in 1987). It is discussed in the Forward to the companion book of History Through 26 Huyms and Songs to this recording;
The 79-rank, 3-manual, 4,413-pipe Albert Schweitzer Memorial Organ, built by Fratelli Ruffatti of Padua, Italy, with its U.S. installation at Spivey Hall, managed by Widener and Company. Spivey Hall is located on the Clayton State College campus in Morrow, GA, in suburban south metro Atlanta. (Clayton College is a fifteen-minute drive from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and about twenty minutes from downtown Atlanta. The organ was installed in 1992, and the auditorium seats 492); and
The 115 rank four manual Aeolian-Skinner sanctuary organ at National Presbyterian Church and Center, which is the third-largest pipe organ in Washington, D.C. The sanctuary seats 1,450. Numerous recordings of that instrument have been made, including:
The inaugural concert, April 1970 with Ernest Ligon, was recorded and sold by the church.(1)
More recently, in 2001 Mr. William Neil became organist at Washington’s National Presbyterian Church. He also was organist for the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the Washington Symphonic Brass. He recorded on the National Presbyterian’s organ a number of critically acclaimed recordings of great organ literature and beloved hymns. He retired from National Presbyterian in 2017. As of 2019, Mr. Neil still served as organist and harpsichordist for the National Symphony Orchestra.(2)
The largest pipe organ in Washington, DC is installed at the National Cathederal.
The Scribner-Keeble Memorial Pipe Organ by Schantz pipe organ company installed at Duncan Memorial UMC is dwarfed by a couple huge organs, like:
The E. M. Skinner pipe organ installed in 1938 within the large space of Washington’s National Cathedral. That pipe organ has around 200 ranks, with over 10,000 pipes(3) and is the largest pipe organ installed in Washington, DC; and
The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, in Philadelphia, is the largest fully functioning pipe organ in the world. It is located within the spacious 7-story Grand Court at what is now Macy's Center City. It was originally built by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. It was designed to be the largest organ in the world. It has 28,750 pipes in 464 ranks.
After the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis it was intended to be installed at the Kansas City Convention Center. The venture failed, bankrupting the L. A. Art Organ company. The organ languished in storage at the Handlan warehouse in St. Louis until 1909, when it was bought by John Wanamaker for his new department store at 13th and Market Streets in Center City, Philadelphia. It took thirteen freight cars to move it, and two years for installation. It first played June 22, 1911, literally at the same time King George V of Britain (grandson of Queen Victoria who died in 1901) was crowned.(4)
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