Organs Doug Has Seen or Played   

Here are some organs, both interesting and otherwise, that I have had some sort of personal contact with.  Many shown here I have actually played, others I have either heard played or had some sort of personal contact with.

Moller 8926 Central Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, NY
M.P. Moller Co., Opus 8926, built 1956
60 ranks with 5-rank antiphonal.

This is the first pipe organ on which I performed publicly.  The organist at Central when I was a teenager was a firm believer in giving everyone with an interest in music a chance and I was able, on several occasions, to play the prelude & postlude, as well as the first hymn for the Sunday service.   Those opportunities enabled me to gain real experience with a real pipe organ with a real congregation.

Many years later I filled in for the organist one Sunday and played the entire service myself.  In 1998 I had the honour of accompanying the wedding ceremony for a cousin on this organ.

Here's a recording of Tryggare kan ingen vara, "Children of the Heavenly Father" that I recorded on Central's Moller in the summer of 1994.

Click for the specification of this instrument.

Dobson 33 Horn Meditation Chapel
Susquehanna University
, Selinsgrove, PA
Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd., Opus 33, built 1986
7 ranks, Kirnberger III temperament, mechanical action

I had the opportunity to play this delightful organ one afternoon several years after it was installed at SU.  Sadly this organ appeared on campus after I had graduated -- oh to have had daily access to this instrument!

Click to hear Aurelia, "The Church's One Foundation" played on this organ.

Ruggles at SU Heilman Music Hall
Susquehanna University
, Selinsgrove, PA
Charles Ruggles, built 1996
6 ranks, mechanical action

The same day that I had access to the Dobson I was also allowed to play this charming little practice instrument.  The room in which it resided at the time I played it was home to a rather uninspiring little unit organ when I was a student.  Again, to have had regular access to a nice little instrument like this when I was a student!

Here's Pachelbel's Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir played on this organ.  If you're not familiar with this piece, listen for the "Old 100th" aka "The Doxology" being played in the pedal with the neat little 8' Regal stop in this organ.

Moller at SU Weber Chapel Auditorium
Susquehanna University
, Selinsgrove, PA
M.P. Moller Co., Opus 10030, built 1966

This is the main organ on the Susquehanna campus, and is positioned on a rotating surface so that the auditorium can be easily changed from a chapel (as shown in the photo) to a regular theatrical stage.  The organ was removed, refurbished, and reinstalled in the early 2000s and now has a modern piston system with many levels to accommodate the many students and guests who play this instrument.

Click for the specification of this instrument.

Wicks Fuga Private Instrument
Wicks Organ Co., "Fuga" model, built circa 1935
3 ranks, unitized, with chimes

This small organ was built in quantity (meaning more than one or two) by the Wicks Co. as instruments for small churches or home instruments.  This example was located not too far from my home and was purchased by someone on eBay.  The purchaser contacted me on email about tips & hints for moving the organ since he had read my organ move stories involving my own little Schlicker.  On finding that this Wicks was not far from home I asked the new owner if he wanted help dismantling the organ for the move to his home -- which was many states away.  He agreed and while I didn't get a chance to hear or play this organ, I did help to carefully dismantle and pack the instrument for the long trip to its new home.  At this writing the organ has made it safely to its new location and has been reassembled in a newly-constructed-just-for-it music room and even had a gala recital by an Italian organist.

Sheas WurliTzer Shea's Buffalo Theatre, Buffalo, NY
Wurlitzer Organ Co., built 1926, refurbished 1984
28 ranks

My dad's lodge held a dinner-dance one night at Shea's and the lodge master had arranged for the mighty Wurlitzer to be available since he played and gave the dance guests a small concert.  Following his time at the console, he asked if I would like to have a go, knowing that I play.  Would I?!?  The ten minutes or so that I had at the console of this once flagship organ of the Wurlitzer Organ Company went by all too quickly.  What a rush!

Photo unabashedly stolen from the web site.

Tannenberg Lititz Fellowship Hall
Single Brothers' House
, Lititz, PA
David Tannenberg, built 1787, restored 1983 James McFarland & Co.
8? ranks, single manual, manual bellows, mechanical action, reverse console

The student chapter of the AGO of Susquehanna University took a field trip one spring, actually we took two trips on two different years, to see some interesting organs of Central Pennsylvania and we had the pleasure of seeing and playing this piece of American organ history shortly after it was restored and rebuilt.  We students took turns winding the organ for each other using the ropes hanging to the left of the organ in the picture which connect to the large double bellows in the attic above the organ.  The console faces away from the chest and the trakkers could be seen moving under the straight, 20-note pedal board as you played.

There is a marvelous web site about the extant Tannenbergs in the United States and this organ is featured on this page:, and has recordings of the organ being played.

Photo stolen from web site.

Small Tannenberg Lititz Moravian Chapel
Single Brother's House
, Lititz, PA
David Tannenberg, built 1793
4 ranks, manual bellows, mechanical action, single manual, no pedal

On the same organ trips we also got to see and play this slightly later Tannenberg.  These two Tannenbergs were the first mechanical action organs that I played.  This organ is also featured on the Tannenberg web site, and also features a recording of it being played.

Photo stolen from web site.

Allen Protege Private Residence
Allen Organ Company
Protege Series, 3-Manuals, digitally sampled electronic, approx. 45 "ranks"

My college organ professor bought one of these beauties for her home and I was given the privilege of being the first guest in her home to play this marvelous intrument.  While of course not being a true pipe organ, it sure comes pretty darn close, especially when you want or need a sizeable organ in your home that space and/or expense would otherwise preclude.

Photo stolen from the Allen Organ Company web site.  A photo was taken of me playing the specific intrument, with the prof's cat looking on, but I don't have it yet to scan.

Kegg at Holy Trinity English Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity,
aka Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
, Buffalo, NY
Kegg Organ Builders, completed 1997
Originally M.P. Moller Co. 1948, expanded to 152 ranks, two consoles

I now belong to this congregation and have the distinct pleasure of hearing and singing along with this magnificent organ every Sunday.  The organ actually consists of two separate organs, the chancel and gallery organs, and has two consoles.  The main five-manual console is on the chancel and can be moved into a concert position as shown in the photo.  There is a three-manual console in the balcony gallery organ, but through piston settings the entire organ can be played from the gallery console.

It took me over five years to summon the courage to ask the organist of Holy Trinity for time at the console of this glorious instrument.  On May 15, 2007, I finally had a seat on the bench and thoroughly enjoyed over an hour of uninterrupted delight.  One hour does not an expert make on an organ of this magnitude, so I plan on heading back there... often!

Here's a few things I have recorded there on various visits:

Helmsley, "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending"
Aurelia, "The Church's One Foundation"
Diademata, "Crown Him with Many Crowns"
Liebster Jesu, "Dearest Jesus, We are Here"
Bach's (little) Prelude & Fugue in C, BWV 553
Bach's Ich ruf' zu dir, BWV 639

Photo stolen from Kegg Organ Builders web site.
See the complete specification of this organ.

Allen Quantum Hamburg Presbyterian Church, Hamburg, NY
Allen Organ Company
Renaissance Series, 3-Manuals, digitally sampled electronic, 50 "stops"

I substituted at this church as a favor to a cousin who belongs to this congregation.  This digital organ has marvelous sound and it is truly amazing what can be done with the digital instruments of late.  This organ is well configured to the sanctuary at Hamburg and sounds great.

Click to hear an MP3 file of me playing it: Hymn tune Helmsley, "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending"

Photo stolen from the Allen Organ Company web site.

Felgemaker at SJTB St. John the Baptist RC Church, Boston, NY
A. B. Felgemaker, built 1899
10 ranks, mechanical action

This organ was originally constructed for and installed in Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church in Buffalo, NY.  When that parish closed, the congregation of St. John the Baptist purchased and moved the organ to their church in 1994.

This organ is entirely mechanical action, the only "modernization" to the organ appears to be the addition of an electric blower, though the original bellows pump handle is still on the organ!  There are no pistons.

A good friend is one of the musicians at this church (she's at the console in the photo) and invited me to "have a go" at this organ one afternoon.  It was a lot of fun, though a bit different.  Given the instrument's age, the ergonomics of the console are not the same as a modern organ. Read: it's not a console built to AGO specifications!  The keydesk is a bit higher than the AGO standard, and the pedal board is flat, though not so "different" that it takes a lot of getting used to.

I was able to make a recording of my time on the instrument and have a take of the hymn, "Praise to the Lord the Almighty" (Lobe den Herren) to share.

Click for the specification of this organ.

Check back from time to time as I am still adding to this page!  (Gotta find the photos of other organs I have played and get them scanned!)

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Since March 2005

Updated July 24, 2014