The Newberry Memorial Organ in Woolsey Hall was built in 1903 by the Hutchings-Votey Organ Company, improved mechanically and almost doubled in size in 1915 by the J. W. Steere & Sons Organ Company, and rebuilt and enlarged in 1928 by the Skinner Organ Company of Boston. University Organist Harry Benjamin Jepson (1871-1952) was responsible for the design of the instrument, executed by Ernest M. Skinner and G. Donald Harrison of the Skinner firm. Consisting of 12,617 pipes arranged in 197 ranks and 167 speaking stops, it is one of the largest and most outstanding instruments of its period. The Newberry Organ has been kept tonally and technologically intact since its 1928/29 reconstruction, and is used throughout the academic year for teaching, concerts and gala events. It is maintained by the Associate Curators of Organs, Joseph F. Dzeda and Nicholas Thompson-Allen.It was amazing to be among the pipes and works of such a great instrument as the sound, quite literally and forcefully, resonated within our very being!
A diagram of the pipes hidden behind the facade. There are six major sections: Solo Organ, Great Organ, Swell Organ, String Organ, Orchestral Organ, and Choir Organ.
Another view of the manuals and stops.
A view of some of the smaller pipes, which this architect couldn't help imagining as little cities of skyscrapers! The little coiled caps on the wooden pipes allow tuning (metal pipes also have little coils on the sides near the top for the same purpose). It can take two people six hours to fully tune the instrument, which happens surprisingly often during the year, including "touch ups" of problem areas before events or concerts.
I was excited to get a unique view of Woolsey Hall from above and behind the organ facade!
There are also four practice organs in the basement, including several similar to the photos above. The manuals and pipe casework were works of art in themselves.
Two huge blower turbines sit deep in the basement and supply all the air for the many organ pipes. Each blower can fully supply the organ, and redundancy allows the motors to be changed over at the flip of a switch, even mid-concert, without missing a beat!
Stepping into the organ curators' workshop is like stepping back in time.
And as a parting shot, a close-up view of the stage wall. I have loved this decorative pattern since the first time I stepped into Woolsey Hall.