St. Joseph Church Organ
Visit our Pipe Organ Committee page HERE!
A pipe organ committee is now formed (November 2019) to move St. Joseph’s parish forward toward building a new pipe organ. Those members include: Ashley Darnall, Michael Dickson, Kathy and Howard Ellstrom, Carol and Jed Shropshire, Tawfiq Hodaly (Director of Facilities), Msgr. Harris, David Cochrane (Director of Music), and Brad Cunningham (Organist). Pray for them!
The first St. Joseph organ was built by M.P. Moller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, Opus 7972. According to a stop list copied from the factory specifications via the Organ Historical Society (OHS) archives, the organ was built in 1949, the year the church was completed. Its pipes were under expression in a chamber on the left side of the gallery.
One undocumented church record indicates the organ consisted of four ranks (sets) of pipes with a total of 316 pipes. The same record indicates the console was provided with additional stop controls for future expansion.
In 1982, Moller Opus 7972 organ was rebuilt and enlarged by the M.P. Moller Company and became Moller Opus R-128. Two sets of the original pipes were retained and revoiced and 17 new tonal resources added to the organ. All the old windchests were retained as well as the console and electric blower. Additional windchests and pipes were placed in the original chamber on the left, and the existing (once empty) chamber in the gallery, on the right. Two small windchests for the 8’ Principal were installed as façade pipes on the front of each chamber to enhance the visual presentation of the organ.
In 1999 three more tonal resources were added by the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas.
Moller Opus R-128 received regular maintenance and tuning over the years. However, the 1949 console eventually became more and more unreliable. By Fall 2009 the organ was unusable. It was replaced by a small Allen electronic organ still in use today.
Cardinal Newman Organ Academy
Our St. Joseph church staff musicians, David Cochrane and Brad Cunningham, are on the cutting edge of recruiting and training faith-filled high school organ students to play organ. The Cardinal Newman High School Organ Academy was created in Summer 2018 and organ lessons began at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Four new student applicants were accepted and those students completed their first year of organ training May 2019. The year was capped off with an organ crawl at St. John Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, both in Columbia. In addition to the founding class members of the Organ Academy, two new students have applied for the 2019-20 school year.
Visit Cardinal Newman High School Organ Academy for more information.