Details of Scribner-Keeble Memorial Pipe Organ:
at Duncan Memorial UMC

Finest Pipe Organ In Ashland

Significant underwriting for the pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church in Ashland, Virginia was provided by the Scribner and Keeble families. The Scribner-Keeble Memorial pipe organ was installed in 1989 by the Schantz Pipe Organ Company of Orrville, Ohio.

J.M. Smucker is known for a variety of products, including:

According to Dr. Doering, who has holds the chair for Pope Organ Professor at Randolph Macon College, the Scribner-Keeble Memorial pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church used on this recording, is the finest pipe organ in Ashland, VA. (To find a finer instrument you'd need to go to Fredericksburg or Richmond.)

Conventional pipe organs consist of four main parts:

  1. The keyboard or keyboards and other controls that collectively are called the console,
  2. The pipes that produce the tone,
  3. The mechanism, or action, and
  4. The wind generator.

Installation of the Pipe Organ

Schantz Organ Company's engineering staff oversaw every detail from initial design to installation.

The organ is electrically controlled by a computerized piston system, including four levels of memory.

Because the organ is electrically controlled, the console/keyboard is only attached by a cable, allowing the console to be moved about in the chancel area depending on what type of performance setup is being used in a particular service.

Layout of the pipes is distributed high around the Chancel.

Organ pipes are divided into two basic types – Flue and Reed.

Voicing an organ pipe involves the adjustment of two main parameters:

The voicing of each type of pipe (Flue or Reed) is dramatically different.

These critical voicing adjustments take hours of time by craftsmen with years of experience. This process is to assure each instrument's voice has maximum impact – both dramatic and subtle – within the room in which it is installed.

A team of Schantz voicers traveled to Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church to complete the meticulous task of final tonal regulation for each pipe in the instrument.  Final voicing at the church was by Burton K. Tidwell, Associate Tonal Director, assisted by Lee Singleton.

A set of pipes of either type producing the same timbre (resonance) for each different note is called a Rank. The Scribner-Keeble Memorial pipe organ at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church has 35 Ranks, with 2,086 pipes. The combination of flue and reed pipes creates a combination of Classic and Romantic pipe voicing capabilities that allows it to perform a wider repertoire of musical selections.

Schantz Pipe Organ Company

The Schantz Pipe Organ company was founded in 1873 by A.J. Tschantz. (The family later dropped the initial T to become Schantz).  It is the largest and oldest American pipe organ builder of electro-pneumatic pipe organs in North America that is still under management by the founding family.

Like many pipe organ builders, initially most of their early instruments were modest in size and were found within two-hundred miles of the Orrville, Ohio workshop. It was under leadership of the third generation (following World War II) that the company developed a national reputation.

Today work continues under the management of the fourth generation of the Schantz family. Commissions for the firm include projects ranging in scope from restoration of existing instruments to the construction of entirely new pipe organs. The new organs range in size from modest with a few ranks of pipes, to complex designs for some of the largest churches, cathedrals, and public spaces in the world.


1 Britannica From a long article on keyboard instruments

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