The Haas Pipe Organ Project

In the spring of 2012, Mr. Fred Haas proposed a gift to the Bryn Athyn Church in memory of his mother, Chara Aurora Cooper Haas, a beloved member of our church and community. This gift is to a fully-restored and expanded Skinner pipe organ, and carries a great deal of significance to this building and community. Gothic cathedral architecture and the grand instruments capable of filling such large spaces go hand-in-hand throughout history, and Bryn Athyn’s story is no exception:

Almost a century ago, Raymond Pitcairn wrote to the E. M. Skinner Company to begin discussions on an organ for the new Bryn Athyn Cathedral. These proposals were put on hold due to World War I, and Skinner instead provided a stock organ intended for later expansion or replacement. Despite the best intentions, this temporary measure was left in place for five decades. However, before the project was put on hold, the original correspondence had coalesced into a proposal that gives detailed specifications for the instrument that was nearly built for Bryn Athyn.

The Chara Aurora Cooper Haas Pipe Organ brings together two 1920s instruments by E. M. Skinner into a new and expanded instrument specifically taiPipe Organ buildinglored to the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. These instruments are:

  • Skinner Opus 574, originally built for Monumental Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA;
  • Skinner Opus 682, originally built for the Church of the Epiphany in Danville, VA.

The historical nature of this project is remarkable in both the use of instruments originally built by one of the most respected 20th-century American organ builders, and in the similarity in size and make-up between the delayed WWI-era proposal and the new 21st-century instrument.

The organ project brings together a team of some of the foremost artists and technicians in their fields. Fred Haas is himself an excellent organist, often playing the Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia, along with his involvement in many organ restoration and building projects. Charles Kegg of Kegg Pipe Organ Builders is renovating and combining the Skinner organs as well as providing a custom console and adding several ranks. Curt Mangel III, curator of the famous Wanamaker Grand Court Organ is advising and looking after the future needs of the instrument. Steven Hendricks of Historic Doors of Kempton created the wooden façade surrounding the pipes. The Wyncote Foundation’s significant donation not only covers the cost of every aspect of fabricating and installing the instrument in the Cathedral, but will also include a capital fund that will provide for the maintenance of the organ for generations to come.

This instrument, simultaneously new and old, is a perfect match for the dignity and history of Bryn Athyn Cathedral. Its pipes will fill the nave with music and grace the services of the Bryn Athyn Church. Among other unique features, our organ will include a “Celestial Division” of pipes speaking down into the church from the tower.

The Skinner-Kegg replaces our Schlicker tracker-action pipe organ, which served the church for four decades and is now moving to the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Dublin, Ohio. The proceeds from that sale have been generously gifted back to the Bryn Athyn Church as seed money for a sacred music development fund. The Allen Quantum 410 electronic organ on the west balcony was installed in 2011 as a generous gift by Thomas and Charlene Cooper. It continues to support worship services and, together with the pipe organ, provides a broad wealth of options for music at the Cathedral.

Chara Aurora Cooper Haas Pipe Organ

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

 4 Manuals, 46 Ranks

Great

16’ Bourdon (ped)

16’ Violone *

8’ First Diapason *

8’ Second Diapason

8’ Clarabella

8’ Gamba (ext) *

4’ Octave

4’ Harmonic Flute

2’ Fifteenth

Tremolo

8’ Tuba (ch)

8’ Tromba

8’ French Horn

Chimes *

*unenclosed

Swell

16’ Bourdon

8’ Diapason

8’ Gedeckt

8’ Salicional

8’ Voix Celeste

8’ Flauto Dolce

8’ Flute Celeste

4’ Octave

4’ Flute Triangular

V Mixture

16’ Waldhorn

8’ Cornopean

8’ Flügel Horn

8’ Vox Humana

Tremolo

Celestial

8’ Chimney Flute

8’ Gross Gamba

8’ Gamba Celeste

8’ Echo Salicional

8’ Voix Celeste

4’ Flauto Mirabilis

4’ Flute

8’ Vox Humana

Tremolo

Tremolo 2nd Touch

8’ Tuba Mirabilis

8’ Tuba (ch)

8’ French Horn (gr)

Harp (ch)

Deagan Tower Chimes (int)

Choir

8’ Diapason

8’ Concert Flute

8’ Dulciana

8’ Unda Maris

4’ Flute d’Amore

2’ Piccolo

8’ English Horn

8’ Clarinet

Tremolo

8’ Tuba

Harp *

Pedal

32’ Bourdon (genuine)

16’ Diapason (wood)

16’ Violone (gr)

16’ Bourdon (ext)

16’ Soft Bourdon (sw)

8’ Octave (ext)

8’ ‘Cello (gr)

8’ Flute (ext)

8’ Still Gedeckt (sw)

16’ Tuba (ext)

16’ Waldhorn (sw)

 

 

 

 

Top