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The Redman Organ, Opus 4 / 59 / 66 / 87

The organ was originally designed and built for St. Vincent's Church in 1971 by Roy Redman of the Redman Organ Company of Fort Worth, Texas, with the assistance of several of St. Vincent's parishioners.

It was the first pipe organ in the Mid-Cities area, and one of only a handful of mechanical-action organs in Texas and surrounding states. Opus 4 was a tracker action instrument of 18 stops and 23 ranks and had an entirely mechanical stop action and attached key desk. The instrument made use of wind chests, keyboards, and parts of the action of Hook & Hastings Opus 2106, originally built for Kavanaugh Methodist Church in Greenville, Texas. The organ had been replaced and broken up for parts. It also utilized some recycled pipes from an 1887 Odell Opus 239, originally built for Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans. Stinkens and Giesecke supplied burnished front pipes of 90% tin and other new pipes. The organ was voiced in the neo-baroque manner popular at the time. Tonally, Redman organs are based on historical traditions; however, the tonal resources are not limited by one specific period of organ history.

With the building of the new and current church in 1989, the Vestry approved revisions for installation in the gallery, high on the axis of the building, in a live and responsive room which is optimal placement for a musical instrument of its caliber. Frank Friemel designed this reconstruction as Opus 59 with 22 stops and 29 ranks of pipes. The revisions included: a new detached three manual console, a vertical extension of the casework, new wind chests for the manual division (to allow for later additions), new mechanical action throughout (made necessary by the separation of console and case), a solid-state combination action, and pipe shades to enhance the casework. Provision was made for future additions in order to avoid costly rebuilding later. Additions included a Salicional and Vox Coelestis in the Swell. A Schalmei replaced the original 2' Flute. The pedal organ was made to serve as best it could. The organ was re-voiced for the new room, and the sound was broadened and smoothed from the original concept.

The year 1994 saw the building of the pedal towers, the installation of all the pedal pipe work within them, and the completion of the Great and Swell divisions as Opus 66 with 30 stops and 40 ranks of pipes. Again, it contains both old and new. Stinkens of Holland made the front pipes of the Great 8' Principal of 90% tin. The pipes of the 16' Pedal Principal, which sit in the facade of the pedal towers, were made of 90% tin by the Giesecke firm in Germany. Tin is the most expensive and most precious metal for front pipes, and because of this purity, they will stay bright. Anyone looking at the organ will notice that the appearance of the 1971 pipes in the center matches the appearance of the large 16' pipes in the pedal towers, installed in 1994! Other pipes from the 1971 organ were also retained, although somewhat re-voiced for the new building. Other additions included the 16' Bourdon, 8' Spitzflute, Cornet, and a new and larger 8' Trumpet in the Great. The Swell received a new 16' Fagott, and an Oboe replaced the Schalmei. The pedal now included a 32' Bourdon and a new and larger 16' Posaune.

The Great and Pedal Trumpets and other reeds were also manufactured in Germany for this installation. On the other hand, the pipes of the 32' Bourdon were originally part of an 1857 Schwab Opus 216 organ built for St. Alphonsus Catholic Church (now defunct) in New Orleans. These pipes had lain silent for a number of years. Along with other wooden pipes which originally sounded in an 1887 Odel Opus 239 organ built for Trinity Church, New Orleans, these voices help to link us to the prayers and praises of past generations. We hope that this instrument will assist the prayers and praises of the faithful for many generations to come.

The members of the Redman Organ firm who brought the 1994 state to completion are Mich Fenner, Frank Friemel, Robert Hubatch, Phil Pott, and Roy Redman.

Finally, in 2007, the organ has been completed according to Frank Friemel's design as Opus 87 with the new Ruckpositv and a new Festival Trumpet (Trompette-en-Chamade), provided by Schopp. Its intention is to crown the chorus, but not to obliterate it. The other stops of the Ruckpositiv provide a more intimate sound than that from the Great and Swell since it is nearer the ear. Based on a 4' principal, they provide contrast and fullness as well. The larger and fuller Cromorne fills the needed stop in the organ. A 1 1/3' stop here, instead of a mixture, provides more registration possibilities, along with enough brilliance to the division. The Gemshorn and Celeste are of the classic type, which are flutes with string overtones. They provide a nice contrast to the string Celeste in the Swell. Swell shades give additional flexibility to the division. The completed organ has 39 stops and 51 ranks of pipes.

Roy Redman writes that "Many have commented that the organ has 'grown up' and matured. This has happened because of the desire of the congregation to have the finest organ possible and to implement the changing esthetics in organ building. It is perhaps a study in how an organ can be enlarged and expanded to meet the demands of a different time and place."

Those who worked on the 2007 project include Roy Redman, Frank Friemel, Andrew Packard, Wesley Miller, Joel Grey, Carl Fishcer, Joseph Watson, Chris Wilson, and Jake Morris.

Redman Pipe Organs
816 East Vickery
Fort Worth, TX 76014
(817) 332-2953