Our annual organ concert. Featuring the Steere & Turner Organ, and Robert Martin Neal the talented organist. Here’s a little history on the organ itself:
The organ was built in 1882 by the distinguished firm of Steere and Turner as their Opus #170. It is one of the few manual tracker organs remaining in the United States.
It was originally powered by a hand bellows, then by a water-powered motor and now by an electric blower. The organ is otherwise in original condition and has had little repair over the last 100+ years, showing its high quality of materials and work.
The organ contains 1260 pipes ranging in size from the large front pipes to others the size of a pencil. It consists of two manuals for the hands, one for the feet, twenty-one stops and twenty-three ranks of pipes, three couplers and a twenty-seven note-pedal board.
Its tracker action means that the valves are mechanically linked to the keys and are directly activated by the organist’s hands and feet. Most organs have an electrical system which eliminates this direct link between the keys and pipes. Today’s organists find playing this organ a physically demanding but emotionally satisfying act.
The ideal location of the organ high up in the front of the church where it can speak unimpeded to the listeners enhances the excellent quality of the pipes.
The Organist Bio:
Mr. Neal’s musical studies included classes at Clarke College, Dubuque Iowa, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL. Voice lessons at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, organ lessons with Edward Mondello at Rockefeller Chapel, of the University of Chicago, and organ studies with Dr. Stanleigh Jones, who with honors from the organ department of Northwestern University, Evanston IL. Robert also has completed courses for an M.A. of Art of Education at Olivet University.