the Organ at Old St. Mary's

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 St. Mary's Parish was founded in 1834. The first church building was consecrated in 1843 and furnished with a fine new organ built in Detroit by parishioner Peter Dederichs. This instrument found its new home in the present structure when it was built in 1885. Enlarged by the addition of 3 new stops and some mechanical and visual enhancements, this new organ of "two manuals of fifty-eight keys, twenty-five stops... and a pedal board of twenty seven keys" served the parish for another 43 years.

In 1928, a new four manual organ of the American eclectic style, and sister to the instrument in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, was installed by the Kilgen Organ Company.

"In 1984, after finally succumbing to the ravages of time and poor maintenance, the Kilgen organ was replaced with a new instrument that reflected the organ reform movement's principles of tracker (mechanical) action, slider chests and open-toe voicing. The new Grand Organ was finished in 1990. The stunning architectural presence of this instrument consists of 2 separate cases: The main case houses the Swell organ (located behind the central 3 towers and their intervening flats) and the Great and Pedal organs (located in the 2 outer flats and towers). The facade pipes are made up of the 16' Great Montre and the 8' Great Principal. All facade pipes are made of 75% tin. The Trompette en chamade is mounted horizontally below the Swell division.

The forward case, hanging from the gallery edge, houses the Positif organ. In its Facade is the 8' Montre.

The cabinetry work on this instrument is almost as spectacular as its sonic design. With the exception of the hand carved walnut pipe shades located along the tops of the facade pipes, all exterior woodwork is of white oak felled and milled here in Michigan by the builder. Originally finished with a clear coating, the heat and smoke of the Good Friday fire of 1994 have created a rich patina that would normally have taken decades to develop.

Although the stop names are in French, the tonal disposition of this instrument is based on the late Baroque design of southern Germany reflected in the superb work of the Silbermann brothers. The 72 ranks of pipes speak on extremely low wind pressure thus producing a beautifully clear and unforced singing tone which lends itself so well to both service playing and the corpus of organ literature.

This magnificent instrument has won accolades from all who have had the pleasure of playing it. It has been referred to as "the most significant new installation in America in the last 50 years".

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The Grand Organ


The Great Organ (manual II)
16' Montre
8' Principal
8' Flute a cheminee
8' Gambe
4' Prestant
4' Flute conique
2 2/3' Quinte
2' Doublette
Fourniture IV
Cymbale III
Cornet V (from C)
16' Bombarde
8' Trompette
4' Clairon

Tremulant
Swell to Great
Positif to Great

The Positif Organ (manual I)
8' Montre
8' Bourdon
4' Prestant
4' Flute a fuseau
2' Cor de chamois
1 1/3' Petite quinte
Cymbale IV
Sesquialtera II
(from C)
16' Doucaine
8' Cromorne
8' Trompette en chamade

Tremulant
Swell to Positif

The Swell Organ (manual III)
8' Voix celeste
(from G)
8' Flute bouchee
8' Salicional
4' Principal
4' Flute a cheminee
2 2/3' Nazard
2' Flute sylvestre
1 3/5' Tierce
1 1/3' Larigot
Plein Jeu V
16' Basson
8' Trompette
8' Hautbois
4' Clairon
8' Voix humaine

Tremulant

The Pedal Organ 32' Contre-Bourdon
16' Montre
16' Soubasse
8' Octave
8' Flute ouverte
4' Flute
Fourniture IV
32' Contre-Bombarde
16' Bombarde
8' Trompette
4' Chalumeau

Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Positif to Pedal

Combinations: 32 Divisionals and 24 Generals on 2 electronic memories.
Wind Pressure: Positif, 55mm; Great, 75mm; Swell, Pedal & Trompette en Chamade 100mm.
No of Stops: 52
No of Ranks: 72
No of Pipes: 3,693
Key Action: Mechanical
Stop Action: Electric on Positif & Electro Pneumatic on the Great, Swell & Pedal
Builder: David Wigton, Op. 12, 1985-1990