The First Presbyterian Church Austin organ is one of a kind. We are blessed to have this amazing instrument as part of our weekly traditional worship experience each week. We have enjoyed the benefits of this instrument since its dedication in February of 1994. As with any instrument of some age, our organ needs to have some repairs made, and the Organ Committee has recommended enhancements to the existing system.
When the organ was built, the organist at that time (Florence Aldridge) worked with the Austin consultants to construct an instrument that would best fit our space and our needs. The organ was built by the Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Co., and the current Organ Committee has contracted with them to make the repairs and enhancements to the organ.
There are very few Austin organs of this type in the state of Florida. This organ features ranks of pipes which are capable of ‘speaking’ individually or blending together with other stops. This makes it possible for our organist to arrange music in such a way as to make the melody stand out, for instance.
The organ has pipes, bellows, and wind chests, housed in an organ chamber. The Austin Organ Co. has patented the bellow and wind chest technology, and they also have a patent on their console design. Their design has a steel frame, which allows the console to be on wheels without a frame.
This allows the organ to be moved from place to place on our Sanctuary platform without having to be on its own platform.
Our organ chamber is not facing an exterior wall, which has benefitted the organ pipes through the years, as the fluxuations in outside temperatures have not harmed the pipes.
We are able to present special concerts on this organ, and it adds a unique flair to weddings held here. Southeastern University, the Lakeland Choral Society, and the American Guild of Organists have all used our space and organ for various concerts through the years. it is truly a community instrument.
The total cost of the Project is $480,000. This amount will allow FPC to replace the console (the area where the organist sits) and the internal computer of the organ. It will also allow the church to ‘revoice’ and replace the ranks of pipes and sounds in order to enhance the organ.
Pastor Emeritus Mike Loudon communicated with the congregation about the importance of the Organ Project in early 2019. If you would like to donate to the Organ Project, you may do so here. For more information about the Project, contact Dr. Daniel Gordon, Director of Fine Arts Ministries.