First Baptist Church, Woodbury, Tennessee
Three-Manual Allen Digital/Reuter
In January of 2004, First Baptist Church of Woodbury, Tennessee, moved its worship services to the fellowship hall next door for a seven-month renovation project of the church's 275-seat sanctuary. As in most renovation projects, more work was done than was originally planned.
The console of the church's 28-year-old 5 rank Reuter pipe organ had to be removed for this project. Although in working order, the console was beginning to show wear in its mechanicals. Organist Douglas Jennings had been to a nearby city to hear the dedication service of an Allen pipe/digital combination. This was an organ renovation where the console was replaced with an Allen, which also played the pipe organ, as well as adding digital stops. In a discussion with members of First Baptist Church, he was asked, "Could this be done to our organ?"
Jennings contacted Herman DePriest and Bob Street of Street Piano Company of Nashville. Not believing something of this magnitude could happen, discussions began. Finally, a 64 Stop Allen Renaissance Three-Manual-complete with antiphonal speakers, SmartMIDI™ and an Allen Ensemble™ division-was chosen as the instrument that would play the 5 ranks of pipes, as well as the vast array of digital stops. When this project was presented to the committee, it was immediately funded!
Herman DePriest did the voicing, using Allen's versatile software to match the digital voices to the existing pipe-work. Richard Brown, organist at Forest Hills Baptist Church of Nashville, played a service of dedication. First Baptist's organist Douglas Jennings said, "Never in my 28 years as organist for the church did I ever dare to dream that I would one day be playing an instrument of this magnitude and caliber each week at First Baptist Church of Woodbury." First Baptist Church's new instrument has already inspired a young college student to become an organ major at a nearby university. The worship services of the church, which are traditional, are filled each Sunday to overflowing.