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Concert announcement evidence of a New Pipe Organ in Seattle...

Started by KB7DQH, April 10, 2012, 11:40:31 AM

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QuoteJeremy Filsell and Nigel Potts will perform an organ and piano concert at the Green Lake Church of Seventh-day Adventists (6350 East Green Lake Way N) on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8 p.m.

The concert, with Jeremy Filsell on piano and Nigel Potts on organ, will feature Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor. Potts' own transcriptions of Rachmaninov's Vocalise and Liszt's Liebestraume No.3 in A flat will also be presented.

The performance is part of a year-long concert series celebrating the recent installation of the church's new Burton K. Tidwell pipe organ.

There is a suggested donation of $20 per person. Students and seniors may pay as they are able. Tickets are available here.

QuoteSpring 2012 Lecture Series
Coming Soon!
Friday, April 20, 8:00 p Jeremy Filsell and Nigel Potts
Youth Church
Sabbath, April 28, 11:00 a Worship Service for and by youth 9 to 18 years old.
Inaugural Organ Concert Series 2012
The Green Lake Church of Seventh-day Adventists invites you to its Inaugural Organ Concert Series to celebrate the installation of the new Burton K. Tidwell organ. This unique 94-rank instrument serves as the backbone of a dynamic music program. We are excited to share this artistic endeavor with our friends in the Seattle community.

March 16, Friday, 8:00 p
Wanda Griffiths and Stephen Marshall-Ward
Duo Organists

Starting off the 2012 Organ Concert Series will be an evening of music for four hands, four feet-–two organists on one bench! This exciting and rarely performed repertoire will be presented in the ideal setting, with the organ console front and center so all can see the choreography involved in performing this music.

April 20, Friday, 8:00 p
Organ Dedication Concert featuring
Jeremy Filsell and Nigel Potts

Jeremy Filsell and Nigel Potts combine their prodigious talents to bring us a magnificent concert of music for organ and piano, including an exciting transcription of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto, Op. 18 No. 2. Both Mr. Filsell and Mr. Potts have concertized throughout the world, and both have many highly acclaimed recordings to their credit.

May 11, Friday, 8:00 p
Carole Terry and Rising Stars from the UW Organ Department

An evening of organ music featuring Dr. Carole Terry and several of her talented organ students from the University of Washington.

July 14, Saturday, 8:00 p
Evensong with Kraig Scott, Organist, and Montgomery Buell, Reader

Enjoy an evening of beautiful organ music and inspiring readings led by Kraig Scott and Montgomery Buell of Walla Walla University.

September 14, Friday, 8:00 p
Ryan Dye and Friends

Ryan Dye, Minister of Music for All Pilgrims Christian Church, Seattle, presents an evening of music for organ and instruments. Selections to include Marcel Grandjany's sublime Aria in Classic Style for Harp and Organ, a movement from Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, and Francesco Manfredini's Double Trumpet Concerto in D Major. The program will conclude with Francis Poulenc's dramatic Concerto in G Minor for Organ, Strings, and Timpani with guest organist and organ builder, Burton K. Tidwell at the console, Ryan Dye conducting.

November 9, Friday, 7:00 p
Carlo Curley

One of the world's foremost concert organists returns to Seattle to conclude the inaugural season of the Burton K. Tidwell organ. Known for his charismatic personality and fascinating discourse on all things music, Mr. Curley's eclectic program will include masterworks and lesser-known gems sure to delight audiences of all ages.

The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."


94 ranks of brand-new organ? Who says the church has no money  ;D

What I find very interesting is the programme, which could only work on an organ with a wealth of Romantic tone-colours and several enclosed departments. Burton Tidwell's organs to date have all been (except for an antiphonal division for an existing instrument) hybrids built in conjunction with Allen, but he hasn't updated his website opus list since 2008. So, are there 94 ranks of actual pipes? Is there any digital material in it? Mr Tidwell, if you're reading this, I'm sure we'd all welcome you to join the discussion and enlighten us...

But, to return to my original point, Seattle has, to my limited knowledge, been largely a city of neoclassical organs - romantic organs being in something of a short supply. The OP is a native of that area so can doubtless supply more accurate information, but I think my overall impression is correct. If it is, this is a most interesting development. At any rate, it's a big new organ which isn't replacing something else large and historic - who can argue against that being a very good thing!


From the OHS database...

QuoteUpdated through online information from Sean M. Haley. -- The Casavant was mostly destroyed upon the installation of a new Allen organ. Part of the Swell division was to remain, altered by Burton Tidwell to augment the Allen. Unused parts of the Casavant including chests, pipework, and the console were completely dismantled, ruined beyond repair, and ultimately thrown away. (Database Manager. 2012-02-11)

So maybe 10 ranks of the swell division remain :o  to augment 84 or so "Allen" digital stops >:(

Nevertheless, Jeremy Filsell and Carlo Curley will appear there along with Mr. Tidwell over the course of the following year...

As for the type of pipe instrument to be found in Seattle, there appear a great variety if one can believe the OHS database... and two of the public High Schools there also contain pipe organs ;)


The objective is to reach human immortality—that is, to create things which are necessary to mankind, necessary to the purpose of the existence of mankind, and which have become the fruit that drives the creation of a higher state of mankind than ever existed before."

Seattle Organ Man

Um, Eric (KB7DQH),

You state, "As for the type of pipe instrument to be found in Seattle, there appear a great variety if one can believe the OHS database... and two of the public High Schools there also contain pipe organs ;) "

I take more than a little umbrage to your insinuation that the OHS Database might be wholly unreliable. If you check the OHS Database entries for Washington State,'ll find that the preponderant number of entries have been made by yours truly - James R. Stettner - who has been documenting the history of pipe organs in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawai'i for some 21 years now. Stoplists posted by me were copied verbatim from the console and include couplers, finger pistons, toe studs, pedal movements, and other misc. controls in addition to the standard list of stops by pitch and division. I am always VERY careful in my recording of information about each instrument. Most of the photos for the states listed above were also taken by me in my 21 years of documenting. To date, I have seen almost every pipe organ in this state with the exception of those in and around Walla Walla.

As to my qualifications, I did my apprenticeship in organ building with the Andover Organ Co. of Methuen, MA. restoring and caring for 19th century American trackers, and helping to build new mechanical-action instruments. After several years years with Andover I chose to move to the Pacific Northwest where my family had moved from Chicagoland. I ultimately ended-up in Seattle working for Balcom and Vaughan Pipe Organs, Inc. for 3 years before leaving with two other employees to found our own organ service firm.  I continue to this day as a self-employed organ builder/technician with some 27 years of experience. I trust that will be adequate for any further remarks I make regarding pipe organs in the Northwest.

I am also a 25+ year member of the OHS and have served a couple-year term as Photo Manager of the OHS Database. I continue to be active as a contributor of new entries, updated entries, corrections, stoplists, and photos. I have several thousand photos and stoplists remaining to be posted!

The OHS Database is not perfect. It is run by ONE paid OHS staff person and supported by a team of volunteers. That included Photo Manager. We rely on submissions from the organ-interested public: enthusiasts, organists, organ builders. Not all of them are fully organ-saavy. So there are bound to be mistakes due to a lack of practical knowledge. In my experience, even most organists do NOT have a good grasp on the mechanics and physics of the instruments they play! It has been volunteers that have typed-up the opus lists for Moller, Reuter, Aeolian-Skinner, Skinner, Estey, Casavant, Hook & Hastings, etc. In short...labors of love by dedicated individuals.

As to the Greenlake SDA Church Casavant,...the OHS Database statement by Sean M. Haley is 100% accurate. Sean is an employee of Marceau & Associates Pipe Organs here in Seattle, and more than qualified enough to make that statement. In point of fact, the Allen dealer foolishly (or perhaps intentionally?!?!?) told the church they could get $75,000.00 for their Casavant. With ranks being retained for the new hybrid electro-digitronium...that meant that the remaining pipes/part were selling for roughly $2,000.00-per-register. To be blunt. . .NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!! The tragedy here is that both Marceau & Associates, AND the Pipe Organ Foundation of Mercer Island, WA. offered to remove the organ if it did not sell without cost to the church! And I know from a personal phone conversation with John Bishop of the Organ Clearing House that he DID find a buyer!  But instead, the organ was literally ripped-out, with pipes heaped in the aisles before being dumped on the sidewalk and lawn outside. The console was dismantled to the extent that it could not have been re-assembled. I mean, they even pulled the felt rings out of the stopjambs! Windchests were ripped-open and pouchboards removed and thrown about. Rene Marceau took photos of the carnage, and they will appear on the OHS Database shortly. As far as I am concerned, Burton K. Tidwell should be hiding in his Kansas shop and hanging his head in absolute SHAME for being party to this wanton and unnecessary destruction.  So much for being good stewards of the monies given by predecessors.

Yes...Roosevelt High School and Franklin High School have pipe organs. I've worked on both. The Roosevelt H.S. entry on the OHS Database is ACCURATE and includes photos of the original and present organ, and stoplists for both. I have not yet submitted either photos or the stoplist for the Franklin H.S. organ.  If you (or anyone else) has a question about the veracity of an OHS Database entry, at least for this state, then please contact me and ask for clarification/confirmation. But otherwise, please keep concomitant criticisms and judgements to yourself. to quote a line from a Gilbert and Sullivan song from The Mikado, "The word for your guidance is mum!"  :-X

As to Seattle organs in general...last I counted we had +/- 175. These cover all types of playing action and windchests (save for cone valve, I believe), and run from the mid-19th century to the present. We have organs of anywhere from 1-to-4 manuals. All of our 19th century trackers are transplants through the Organ Clearing House. Builders represented are: Aeolian-Skinner, Austin, Balcom and Vaughan, Bedient, Bond, Bosch, Brombaugh, Casavant, Deseret, Estey, Flentrop, Fritts, Hinners, Hook & Hastings, Hutchings-Votey, Jardine, Kilgen, Kimball, Kleuker, Marceau, Marr & Colton, Moller, Morton, Odell, Pasi, Pipe Organ Foundation, Reuter, Rosales, Schantz, Schlicker, Spaeth, Weck, Wicks, and Wurlitzer among those that come-to-mind easily.

Regarding Romantic/Orchestral organs as brought-up by guest AnOrganCornucopia, sadly we really have only two:The 4-manual, 1907 Hutchings-Votey at St. James R.C. Cathedral, and the IV-manual, 1927 Casavant at University Christian. The city had MANY large and romantic Kimball organs, but all have been replaced or rebuilt beyond recognition.

Respectfully ~
Jim S. (Seattle Organ Man)


It is truly sad that there are those who feel it appropriate to bash their peers in a forum such as this.  I simply can't ignore Mr. Stettner's thoughtless statements.  Apparently he didn't read the first sentence of the User's Agreement before providing his opinion - You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, etc....  Congratulations Mr. Stettner, you nailed all three!

I am the "foolish Allen dealer" you abhor.  Unlike you, I had an intimate knowledge of Green Lake's Casavant organ.  I had the pleasure of playing this instrument on a fairly regular basis for the past 25 years.  I knew the organ inside and out. 

As a member of the Green Lake church for many years, I was asked to be on various organ committees (dating back to 2000, long before my association with Allen) to discuss making changes or improvements to the Casavant organ.  While we all agreed that the instrument was well-built and well-intentioned, the result of hours of meetings and research brought us to the conclusion that no amount of money would make this organ more than what it was and most importantly, meet the demands of the church's extensive music program.  Since you are an "expert" you would know that this 1977 Brunzema-era Casavant was an EXTREME example of a Neo-Baroque organ.  To say it was overly aggressive, bright and harsh in tone is an understatement.     

After inviting several reputable organ builders to visit Green Lake and offer proposals, and following extensive travel by the Minister of Music and myself to visit several of their installations in churches across the country, it was agreed by church leadership that a new, more suitable, eclectic instrument was in order. 

I was asked by the church to work on selling the Casavant AS A WHOLE so we could start fresh.  All of the organ builders we talked with agreed that $75,000 was a reasonable asking price given the market and type and condition of the organ.  You can dispute that all you like but you weren't there.  I did receive numerous inquiries from across the U.S. and as far away as Perth, Australia.  Once these folks learned more about the particular style of this instrument, they were generally not interested.  Yes, I did contact John Bishop of the Organ Clearing House, who posted the organ on the organization's website.  If he indeed had a legitimate "buyer" for this organ, that is news to me as I was never informed of said buyer. 

After nearly a year with the instrument on the market with no takers, the decision was made to re-evaluate what could be done with the organ.  Also, as the economy had tanked in 2008, it was determined by church leadership that the near $1,000,000 price-tag on a new 35+ rank pipe organ was a 'bridge too far'.  Thus, we began to seriously look at alternative approaches.

I knew of the organ builder Burton Tidwell and his excellent work with organs such as Westwood United Methodist near Los Angeles.  Perhaps you have heard of this organ, which I understand is the third largest instrument on the west coast behind only the Crystal Cathedral and First Congregational in LA. It was featured in two concerts by Paul Jacobs at the 2004 AGO National Convention to great acclaim and also on the cover of The American Organist some years back.  I also knew that Burton had an outstanding understanding of digital technology and how it could be utilized as another tool in the organ builder's toolbox.  As opposed to others who take a slap-dash approach to pairing winded and non-winded instruments, Burton's attention to tonal design and the careful incorporation of digital voices has no equal.

Sean Haley's uninformed posting on the OHS organ database (which has since been removed) stating -  The Casavant was mostly destroyed upon the installation of a new Allen organ. Part of the Swell division was to remain, altered by Burton Tidwell to augment the Allen. Unused parts of the Casavant including chests, pipework, and the console were completely dismantled, ruined beyond repair, and ultimately thrown away - is 100% inaccurate.  As one who spent about 20 minutes in the church, removing a couple of the Casavant's sub-par reed ranks, he sure seems to think he knows a lot about this project.

Allow me to unpack his false statement:

1.  The church was not presented with nor did they purchase an Allen organ.  Yes, there are some components in the organ that were manufactured by the Allen Organ Company, but this instrument is by no means an Allen organ.  The church wanted and purchased a Burton K. Tidwell organ. Period.
2.  Over 75% of the Casavant was retained and reused, not just the Swell. Those items include the blower, winding system, two windchests, and the majority of the pipework, which was carefully and properly re-voiced or re-scaled where appropriate.  In addition, several new ranks of pipes were added as well as three new windchests and a new swell box.
3.  The new console is of the highest quality and was built by the R. A. Colby company.
4.  Three windchests and some components of the console were not reused.  We tried to give these items away to the Pipe Organ Foundation and Marceau & Associates but those parities were not interested.  Unfortunately we could find no other takers.  If they were so valuable, you would think we would have had a line-up to take them for FREE!

I would also like to point out that this project had the full support and blessing of those most closely association to the acquisition of the Casavant.  They agreed that the organ had musical deficiencies and improvements were needed.  In fact, the individual who led the effort to purchase the Casavant in 1977 recently stated that Burton did an outstanding job with his work on the Casavant ranks and that overall it was a superb, seamless instrument that met every goal we set out to achieve.  He also stated that it is perhaps the "finest example of a pipe organ that incorporates digital voices." Speaking as a professional organist, I agree.  This organ is an absolute joy to hear and play.  The congregation has also given it rave reviews. After all, their reception of the organ is the one that matters most.

Finally, your bashing of Burton Tidwell and his work is utterly egregious and unprofessional!  I assure you that throughout his 40-year career he has designed, installed and voiced more ranks of pipes on significant organs throughout the country than you will see in a lifetime.  He is highly sought after for his keen ear and expertise, and his work speaks for itself.  Mr. Tidwell is not one who seeks the limelight nor praise and glory from his colleagues.  He is not concerned with others' opinions of him or his work...humility that is rare in the organ industry. 

So...before you go posting all manner of false information based on third-party hearsay, I invite you to come see/hear/play the new Tidwell organ at the Green Lake Church anytime of your choosing.  After which you are more than welcome to offer an informed critique.  Until then, please make an effort to carefully research the facts before posting your comments.


Ryan E. Dye
B.Mus., M.Mus. Organ Performance, University of Washington
B.A. Religion, B.A. Business Administration, Walla Walla University
Minister of Music, All Pilgrims Christian Church, Seattle
Past-Dean, Seattle Chapter American Guild of Organists
Chair, 2009 Seattle AGO Region VIII Convention
President, North Pacific Organ & Sound
Allen Organs of Western Washington & Alaska
Member, American Guild of Organists
Member, Puget Sound Theatre Organ Society
Member, Organ Historical Society (lest you think I wish to destroy all pipe organs)

(Some of my qualifications, in case you needed to see them)