St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Petersburg, Virginia
Skinner/Allen Combination Pipe and Renaissance™ Digital Instrument
St. Paul's Episcopal Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. A member of Southside Virginia's Bristol Parish, St. Paul's traces its origins back to 1642. The present church, built in 1856, is of Gothic style with a seating capacity of about 500. A vintage E. M. Skinner pipe organ (opus 410) has served the parish since 1923. A bell tower containing the only notable set of Ante Bellum church bells in Virginia enhances the organ's impressive fourteen ranks. Installed in 1860, the nine bells were restored and made playable by computerization in the 1980s. Of further historic interest, one notable sanctuary window is dedicated to the memory of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who worshipped in this church during the Civil War.
Wishing to enhance the pipe organ with more stops and an updated console, the church began to search for a suitable builder. Their intent was to merge past and present technologies, which would give their present organ more tonal resources. Organist and Choirmaster Charles Lindsey, along with Senior Warden Marti Manson and the church's organ search committee visited Allen Organ Company's sales headquarters and factory. After hearing and examining various Allen pipe and digital combination organs, the committee decided to install an Allen Renaissance™ Three-Manual Organ with 80 digital stops to control the existing E. M. Skinner pipe ranks-plus a MIDI Division II™ with 100 additional stops. The instrument adds musical joy and new purpose to the worship services lead by St. Paul's pastor, the Rev. D. Donald Dunn III. Diane Bish performed on this magnificent instrument in a special celebratory concert.