Photograph by Myron Leggett
The Very Rev. John Kelly, Rector
St. George Episcopal Church
The Villages, Florida
"Our former organ was twenty-five years old. It was adequate in its day; but suffered from significant electronic failure and decreased performance. The leaders at St. George Episcopal Church evaluated our music program and decided that we should add upon our strong music tradition. Not only would we continue to offer inspiring music during our liturgy, we would introduce a superb musical series to our community, offering a well-rounded music program to be part of our outreach activities.
Our Organ Task Force explored all possibilities, ultimately turning their attention to Allen Organ. We discovered an Allen Organ was a superb organ, considering both our budget and space availability. Evaluating Allen's instruments, we finally chose the Rudy Lucente Designer Series RL-66a. The RL-66a is a three-manual instrument with 66 voices, a multitude of contemporary GeniSysTM Voices, and St. George added Antiphonal Pipes, giving us the best of both worlds! Plus, the instrument is beautiful, its custom woodwork perfectly matches our lovely décor.
This instrument is perfect for our Sunday morning preludes, postludes, hymns and chants. It also has the versatility to serve as a wonderful concert instrument! Its multiple stop lists allow it to be that perfect sounding English or North German Organ, even the French Romantic and the great American Aeolian Skinner Organ. Organists have performed Bach, Widor, Messiaen, and Elgar on the RL-66a. Premier organists, such as Rudy Lucente and Hector Olivera, were pleased with the organ's versatility and the way it is perfectly voiced for our church. At a recent local American Guild of Organists event, we were proud to showcase our organ, and the audience and guest artists were highly impressed.
We look forward to hearing fine church music and experiencing wonderful concerts from now and into the next generation!"
Rev. Don Zeiler, Pastor
St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Community
"St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Community, in McKinney Texas, became the proud owner of a new Allen, 93 Stop, Four-Manual, digital Organ in December of 2018. This organ is known as the HO85 where each division has been specifically configured by its designer with stops to complement each other for playing the works of the greatest composers of classical, liturgical and contemporary music. The HO85 is labeled after its designer Maestro Hector Olivera. After the first of the year, it was installed and given an initial regulation in time for the dedication of our new church in February 2019.
The likeness of this instrument to a pipe organ is truly impressive. The HO85 gives us the large organ sound we need to fill our new worship space. The Allen Organ Company is to be congratulated on the look and feel of the finished instrument, not to mention the sound, the craftsmanship and the man-to-machine interface. It speaks well of Allen's dedication to the engineering, software development and manufacturing technology required to keep abreast of our ever-changing technical world. We thank you for that and have a prized instrument to prove it.
We also want to thank you for providing the organist, Maestro Hector Olivera, to help us dedicate this organ. Since it was his design, he gave us a real sampling of what it can do. Everyone who attended was fascinated watching Maestro Olivera's feet and hands and listening to the full musical range of this new organ."
Photograph by Eric Maki
Photograph by Charles J. Goodrich, Jr
David Clyle Morse, Minister of Worship Music
St. Joseph's Episcopal Church
Boynton Beach, Florida
"Shortly after beginning my ministry at St. Joseph's several years ago, I could tell that the existing 20-year-old organ was declining steadily. The digital components were holding up but the analog and audio systems were failing, and as time went on the organ declined beyond repair.
An anonymous donor stepped forward with a gift - enough to purchase a three-manual digital organ. In the same month, two more anonymous donors offered gifts that allowed us to upgrade to a custom five-manual digital instrument. I knew that an Allen organ would be the obvious choice because of the quality of sound, excellence of craftsmanship, and ongoing service commitment by Allen and its dealers.
St. Joseph's chose to install our custom Allen instrument utilizing mostly beam-mount speakers because the A-frame structure of the church would not permit any chamber space. All five divisions have speakers at each end of the church, and may be used in any combination.
Since our instrument was installed and voiced, and the dedicatory concert was presented, the church has been recognized by the community as a place with a 'high-quality' instrument. Recently, a local semi-professional chorus had its first performance in our church, and as a result of their performance with our organ, has scheduled to perform again next year! This organ will also allow us to continue our Kids-On-Keyboards-Organ program we offer to local schools.
As I said at the dedicatory concert, we're at the end of a long wait for a new organ but we're only at the beginning of amazing and wonderful musical and spiritual experiences!"
Chris Bearer, Director of Music
St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church
"In 2017, St. Ignatius of Loyola parish was devastated from flooding by Hurricane Harvey. With over five feet of water inside the church our older Allen organ was rendered useless from sitting in water for four days. The entire church suffered extensive damage and required much work to make it operational.
Needing a new instrument, and desiring another Allen, we acquired the Three-Manual Rudy Lucente RL-66a Designer Series Allen organ to go into our entirely remodeled church. This is the first of this series Allen organ to be installed in the Houston area, and we had the pleasure of having Rudy Lucente himself voice the organ in our church space.
The console is beautifully crafted in a two-tone finish to match our church interior. Plus, the variety of stops, including a Festival Trumpet and a Zimbelstern, adds a great assortment of colors and timbres. We chose this model because of its versatility; working well for solo organ literature, supporting congregational hymnody, accompanying music from the choral repertoire, and Gregorian Chant. In the future, we plan to supplement the digital sounds with pipes."
Photograph by Amanda Moore
Amy McCurley, Director of Music and Rodney Pendell, Organist
Hibben United Methodist Church
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
"Ten years after installing a digital organ from another manufacturer, Hibben United Methodist was faced with the sad realization that the instrument had fallen far short of expectations and was actually in an advancing state of disrepair. After a thorough inspection was completed, the church decided a new organ was required to fulfill the vision laid out by our new Director of Music.
A committee of church leaders with various backgrounds was formed and a visit to the Allen factory was initiated. After this visit, the committee was unanimous in their decision that Allen Organ represented the best stewardship of church funds and should be contracted to build a custom 4-manual organ. In anticipation of the new organ, a major renovation of the sanctuary was completed just in time for the installation in July 2018.
The console is stunning, yet timeless; constructed of solid hardwoods with a beautiful Walnut exterior and a satin black finish interior, complemented with white drawknobs, premium manuals with Ivora naturals and black sharps. The 99-Stop organ features a robust 44 channels of custom-designed audio with a Swell Antiphonal, floating String division, Solo division with several custom stops; plus a Trompette en Chamade, and 72 speaker cabinets! This powerful instrument was formally dedicated before a capacity audience in December 2018.
Hibben UMC looks forward to many decades of music from this incredible instrument!"
Frederick J. Locker Minister of Music
St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church
"St. Joseph selected a new Rudy Lucente Designer Series Three-Manual 66 Stop custom pipe and digital Allen Organ to replace their existing 1980 Allen Organ. 18 ranks of pipes were added to substitute or add to the current stop list. This new instrument incorporates all current Allen technologies available, as well as the capability for future expansion.
I am very excited to play our new Allen. The pipe and digital organ with GeniSys™ Voices allows me to access a vast selection of varying timbres, and having these features allows me the opportunity to enhance my repertoire selections. St. Joseph's music program is currently on a growth curve, and the addition of this new instrument will not only enhance playing the music for Mass, but it will also add a new dimension for those who attend Mass.
The custom hardwood console is a beautiful work-of-art! The color of the console was chosen to complement our newly renovated choir loft, and match the wood of the church interior. Allen's numerous organ speakers emit the clean and accurate digital pipe organ sound, making it extremely difficult to tell the difference between the pipes and the digital voices! The advancements in Allen's sound technology are astounding!
I particularly enjoy having so many options available. The ability to add or substitute pipes, use GeniSys Voices, and have MIDI capabilities creates endless combinations. We are very much looking forward to Easter, when we will be able to experience the richness of our new organ and brass!"
Andrew McKeon, Director of Music Ministries
St. John The Evangelist R.C. Church
Center Moriches, New York
"Following a fire in St. John the Evangelist, which occurred in 2017, the 1998 digital organ was thoroughly damaged from smoke, and soot immersion. The organ was assessed and deemed a total loss due to the manufacturer's lack of new parts, and a cost greater than it is worth.
The Allen Organ Company of Macungie, PA was awarded the contract to build a brand new four manual organ for St. Johns. Allen Organ Studios, Inc. of Mineola, New York played a key role in this instrument's successful installation. This new organ is state-of-the-art incorporating all current technologies available, with room for future expansion.
The console is a custom work-of-art with hardwood construction equal to the finest pipe organ manufacturers. The color finish was matched to complement the new sanctuary colors and the wood tone of the Chapel and pews. The new instrument features over forty speakers assuring that clarity and detail are achieved to produce a beautiful immersive pipe organ sound. A dolly platform was incorporated that allows the console to be moved about the church to better facilitate various needs for liturgies and concerts."
Mary Jones, Organist and Director of Music
Jack Thrasher, Assistant Organist
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
When the Allen organ at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston, Alabama was greatly affected by a lightning strike to the church, they turned to Allen once again!
Mary Jones, Organist and Director of Music, stated she loves the sound of Allen organs, and the ability to have the voicing adjusted as she would like. She loves the feel of Allen consoles, the quality construction, the keyboards and everything feels different than that of other organ companies. She also stated that she loves all the various controls on the organ. This particular Designer Series RL-58 had some custom controls added. Being able to have the choir division and more 8' choices on the choir division playable from the front, where the cantor sometimes leads, is very helpful. The trumpets are also playable from the other side of the room as well as from the main organ.
The following is excerpted from a letter written by Assistant Organist Jack Thrasher to Allen Organ;
"The new organ maintained all the features of the older organ, plus it has newer upgrades custom-designed for the needs of our church. Without the expert design assistance and follow-up training from our dealer, we would not have the beautiful instrument that we now have. The mixture of sounds is phenomenal! The cabinetry appears to have been the work of a master craftsman. We could not have asked for anything better, and are extremely pleased and gratified to have this organ in our church!"
This organ installation is featured as an Allen Organ ad in the March 2014 edition of Pastoral Musicians magazine.
The First Reformed Church of Scotia Choir
Justan with the new Allen
photography courtesy of Christine Batson
Justan J. Foster, Organist
First Reformed Church of Scotia
Scotia, New York
When the First Reformed Church of Scotia selected a builder to create their hybrid instrument, they turned to Allen. The following is excerpted from a letter written by Organist Justan J. Foster:
"First, I must say that when the process of selecting an organ to replace our failing instrument began, this was a letter that I did not anticipate writing for an ending that I could not have predicted.
I visited the Church of the Annunciation in Ilion, NY, last July (2012) to listen to a recently installed (Allen) Q370. Based on my own short-sightedness, I fully expected to politely walk away after the demonstration and go on my merry way never to consider Allen again. For this, I must profoundly apologize. What began on that day was a year's journey in designing and installing a most splendid masterpiece that is fully appreciated by our congregation and music department.
Allen was selected as the builder for our custom hybrid instrument from a field of many distinguished builders due to their commitment to quality and customer service-principles all too absent in today's world. The design process we experienced allowed for enthusiastic creativity and promoted a deeper sense of collaboration than might be expected with this undertaking. Creating the custom stop list and console proved to be a most enjoyable experience and particularly rewarding for me, as an artist, to paint with such broad strokes of tonal color. The hard work exhibited by our Allen Dealer, from proposal to voicing, has yet to cease, and reflects the integrity and ethics of Allen Organ Company that was demonstrated during several trips to the factory.
This project was one of many joys and sorrows, as our benefactor was a long-standing (no pun intended) member of the choir; and, this was a project that several congregation members were unable to see through to fruition, though we know that they would rejoice in the way our worship has been supplemented. Part of the reason that we settled on a hybrid was the symbolic way in which it reflected our congregation: pipes-both reincorporated and newly designed-to reaffirm our traditions, and digital ranks for additional resources to enhance our worship for the many years yet to come. Again, I (we) say kudos to you on a magnificent instrument that will serve the next generation(s) in our journey of faith."
Dr. H. Gerald "Jerry" Aultman
Professor of Music Theory and Chapel Organist
Dick Baker Chair of Music Missions and Evangelism
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas
"15 years ago, at Southwestern Seminary, we chose a large, four-manual Allen for Truett Auditorium. I have been greatly pleased with this instrument and its versatility in both traditional and contemporary styles of worship. The new 3,500-seat MacGorman Chapel features a larger Allen augmented by 30 ranks of pipes. I look forward to playing this thrilling instrument for years to come.
At the First Baptist Church of Dallas, it has also been my pleasure to oversee the selection of a three-manual Allen for the chapel. And, on Easter Sunday of 2013, our new five-manual Allen will make its debut in the fabulous new worship center nearing completion in downtown Dallas.
These instruments have helped the organ retain its rightful place in worship and in the education of church musicians at both Southwestern Seminary and at First Baptist Church. I am thankful to the leadership of both institutions for the wisdom shown in these decisions and for the consummate knowledge, expertise and passion of the Dallas/Fort Worth Allen Organ Company representatives."
Dr. Jerry Aultman
Director of Music Ministry
Morrow United Methodist Church
Maplewood, New Jersey
When Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church decided to replace their pipe organ, they turned to Allen. The following is excerpted from the church's website: www.morrowchurch.org
"This organ was designed to make worship more inspiring. It is rich with a kaleidoscope of different sounds, able to be plaintive or triumphant, mysterious or declamatory, whispering or roaring. All divisions except the String can be assigned to antiphonal speakers discreetly installed in the rafters over the balcony. This allows for greater support of congregational singing and permits special dialogue effects between the front of the sanctuary and the rear. The String Division is installed over the central transept area, inspired by the celestial divisions that builders would regularly install in transept domes during the pre-Depression heyday of organ building. The Festival Trumpet speaks from the balcony and is suitable for fanfares and ushering a bride down the aisle. We have a King of Instruments which will serve us for decades to come. Soli Deo Gloria!"