The 1972 Allen Organ (Old Betsy) making way for Concordia's new Allen Organ.
Enclosed with this letter are some pictures of Concordia Lutheran Church, where I am the organist. Concordia is the mother parish of LCMS churches in Nashville, Tennessee. The sanctuary was erected in 1937, the other wing sometime in the 1950s.
The picture of the nave shows the round grille way above the chancel arch; the organ speakers are directly behind this grille. Thus the sound of the instrument comes from up high and the organ speaks directly down the long axis of the room. The hard plaster walls/ceiling and minimal amount of carpet give the room a bit of reverberation.
From sometime in 1972 until February 2013, Concordia was home to an Allen System 300 organ. During the early 1990s the former organist upgraded the instrument with a new tone generator board and speaker system. The organ continued serving the church well for many more years.
A few years ago, "Old Betsy" as I had nicknamed the organ, began showing symptoms of her age. In 2011 the church began an organ fund and an organ committee was formed and met with Don Cowan of Bill Jones Music, our local Allen Representative. Both an Allen Protégé and Chapel models were suggested. We decided to try the Protege model. It was brought to Concordia on a Sunday afternoon in February, 2013, and by late that afternoon I was giving the new organ (which I named "Gloria") a workout.
The Concordia congregation first heard "Gloria" at a Wednesday evening Lenten service. After that service several people mentioned how clear and bright the new organ sounded. One gentleman who is not a musician, said he liked the "crisp" sound of the instrument.
"Gloria" has been providing beautiful music for both Concordia and St. Andrew's (an Anglican parish which meets at Concordia) for two and a half years. Shortly after the organ was installed another organist played it for a funeral when I wasn't available to do so. One of the visitors stopped by the console and asked if it was a pipe organ!
I am still impressed with "Gloria's" versatility. The divided expression (something "Old Betsy" didn't have) makes balancing solo/accompaniment on preludes, etc. much easier. There has not been a single Sunday since the organ's installation that I haven't used several VISTA™ MIDI voices. It would be a rare occasion to find one of my pistons not having at least one VISTA™ voice set on it. I am firmly convinced that the church couldn't have obtained a more versatile instrument.
As you can tell, both the church and organist are thrilled with "Gloria." This instrument certainly is a valuable addition to the church and continues to inspire the Concordia and St. Andrew's Anglican congregations every Sunday!
- submitted by Melvin Potts, Organist
Concordia Lutheran Church