St. Luke's Martin Pasi Organ
A bit of history
The Pasi organ is the third organ in St. Luke’s 114-year history. The first organ was a tracker organ built by the Pilcher Organ Company. This organ was removed and sold to a church in Washington state around 1956. A small Schantz organ was installed in 1957 just before the nave of the church was doubled in length to accommodate the post-war growth of the congregation. Because of the small size of that organ it was difficult to hear behind the crossing (the original back wall of the small church).
The remedy at that time was to add 3 stops mounted on the back well to the right of the large St. Luke’s window. This arrangement was unsuccessful for many reasons and as the organ continued to decline with mechanical problems, a decision was made after many years of research, to purchase a newly constructed organ.
A large donation was given by Murray and Ceralda Allen which gave birth to an Organ Fund and its accompanying Capital Campaign. The extraordinary generosity of the parish made both these projects possible.
Building a dream
St. Luke’s Organ, built by Martin Pasi and Associates, Opus 22 was installed in May 2013. The chancel area was completely renovated both for liturgical reasons and to provide the space for the instrument to be placed in the front on the central axis of the room. During the organ’s design, construction and voicing, the instrument developed a unique character of its own.
The visual design features elements from historic European organs. The organ is entirely encased in “fumed” white oak woodwork with decorative carvings about the façade pipes. The wooden case serves a vital tonal function by blending and focusing the sound of its 1,360 organ pipes, while protecting them from dust.
The console’s two manual keyboards are covered with cow bone and ebony. The pedal keyboard is made of maple and rosewood. The 23 stop knobs on either side of the keyboards. Other types of wood in the organ include tulip poplar, butternut, redwood, sugar pine, basswood, walnut, hornbeam and Douglas fir.
The beauty of the instrument
The organ’s tonal scheme draws most of its inspiration from the great North German and Dutch organs of the 17th and 18th centuries, but its resources are enhanced with stops inspired by 19th and 20th century models. The organ is incredibly versatile for both organ repertoire and service playing.
All of the metal pipes were made in the Pasi shop – from the casting and rolling of the metal through to the completed pipes. They are made of various alloys of tin and lead, with trace impurities of copper, bismuth and antimony to help stiffen the metal. The metal was also hammered following casting in order to tighten its molecular structure.
The key action is entirely mechanical, the organist’s fingers directly open the valves beneath the pipes through a system of levers and thin wood connections called “trackers”. This ancient system gives the organist an intimate control over the speech and release characteristics of the pipes, for a sensitive control of musical phrasing and articulation.