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Sarasota Organs

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    Sarasota Organs

    Fellow organists,

    I will be attending a Pediatric Emergency Medicine conference in Sarasota, Florida during the 3rd week of November. My lectures will be from 8am - noon. I would love to be able to practice some pipe organs in the Sarasota area while I'm there. I'm particularly interested in smaller organs and trackers. Is there anyone on these lists who has organ contacts in the Sarasota/Bradenton area who might be able to get me in to some pipe organs.

    On another note, during our last trip to Sarasota, we spent a delightful evening at the Pizza and Pipes in Bradenton. Sadly, I believe that it has closed.

    Thank you,

    Not exactly what you are looking for but the A.G.O. local in Sarasota maintains a really nice Wurlitzer theater organ in a Baptist Church. There are some videos on You Tube. Don't know who the local contact would be. I'm on the other coast of Fl.


      Pipe Organ in Sarasota

      First Presbyterian in St. Petersburg has a great Pipe organ. Jack Rain has been the organist for many years, you can contact the church office to get in touch with him. Only one hour north of Sarasota. Yes, the "Roaring Twenties" Pizza is now closed and for sale. Might be a good long term investment, they did well for several years but our area hard hit by the economic downturn. In addition they played mostly old songs and could have done some other things to improve like showing an actual old silent movie with the organ playing as done back in the old days. Other things like seating and menu items.....Just sayin.


        I don't personally know anyone down that way, but St Martha's has a 2 manual Walker & Sons. Link below:


          I thought I'd post some highlights of my trip to Sarasota. I apologize for the length of this posting.

          Prior to the trip, I located the website for the Sarasota-Bradenton chapter of the AGO and noticed that they were to have a Chapter Event on the Monday evening giving examples on various ways to chant the Psalms in church. I sent an e-mail to about 4 of the officers asking if I might be able to attend the event as well as gain access to some pipe organs in the area. Regarding the Walker & Sons organ mentioned by Dave S above: I sent the organist an e-mail twice and contacted the church, but I received no response.

          I received a most gracious response from the chapter Sub-Dean saying that I was welcome to attend the event. He also invited me to an All-Bach Concert to be held at the Church of the Redeemer on Sunday evening should my plane arrive in time. He forwarded my request to the organist of the church as well as invited me to practice on the Letourneau organ at his church, Christ Church, Bradenton. He also gave me contact info for a 2-manual Jaeckel tracker organ at First United Community Church of Christ.

          We made it in time for the All Bach Concert in time to have a 3rd row seat in a subsequently packed sanctuary.

          1. Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, BWV 1047 performed by 2 violins, viola, flute, oboe, trumpet, cello, double bass, and harpsichord.
          2. Capriccio on The Departure of a Beloved Brother, with narration, BWV 992 performed on harpsichord.
          3. "Nach Dir, Herr, Verlanget Mich" from Cantata 150
          4. Suite No. 3 in D Minor for Unaccompanied Cello, BWV 1009
          5. "Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten" from Cantata 78, wonderful performance by group of 8 middle school girls.
          6. Fugue in E-flat Major (St. Anne) BWV 552 performed by Dr. Ann Stephenson-Moe on the beautiful Nichols & Simpson organ.
          7. "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" from Cantata 147.

          To my ears, the concert was wonderful. A small group attended a wine and cheese reception afterwards where we were able to meet the musicians. I met the organist, and she said that I would be welcome to practice the organ at her church on Wednesday.

          After my Monday lectures, I spent a few hours at the 2-manual Jaeckel organ at First United Community Church of Christ after having contacted the
          organist beforehand. Here's a link to a photo of the organ from the Jaeckel website:

 There's no stoplist posted, so I'll give it below.

          Manual I: Montre 8, Flute Harmonique 8, Prestant 4, Doublet 2, Fourniture IV-V, Cornet IV, Trompette 8, II-I
          Manual II: Bourdon 16, Cor de Nuit 8, Viole de Gambe 8, Viole Celeste, 8, Flute Octaviante 4, Octave 2, Basson 16, Trompette Harmonique 8, Hautbois 8,
          Tremblant, Clochette.
          Pedal: Violonbsasse 16, Soubasse 16, Montre 8, Flute 4, Bombarde, 16, Trompette 8, I-P, II-P

          The organist, Greg Chestnut, stopped by for a little while to talk about the organ and to tell me about a small unit organ they have in their choir room.

          Monday evening, we attended the AGO meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran. The building is quite neat with a suspended roof. The organ is a 1983 Moller
          with the pipes in the rear balcony and the console and choir about 2/3 of the way down the sanctuary on the left side. The program was interesting.

          Great: Principal 8, Bordun 8, Octav 4, Blockflute 2, Sesquialtera II, Mixtur III-IV, Krummhorn 8, Chimes, Great 4, Tremulant
          Swell: Rohrflute 8, Viola 8, Celeste 8, Spitzflute 4, Principal 2, Quinte 1 1/3, Trompete 8, Tremulant, Swell 16, Swell UO, Swell 4
          Pedal: Principal 16, Bordun 16, Octave 8, Bordun 8, Choral Bass 4, Fagott 16, Fagott 4
          Couplers: Great to Pedal, Swell to Pedal, Swell to Pedal 4, Swell to Great, 16, Swell to Great, Swell to Great 4

          After the program, I obtained permission from the organist to practice the next afternoon.

          Tuesday afternoon, I spent a little over an hour at this Moller before going back to the Jaeckel. I also spent some time at the small 4 rank unified
          organ in their choir room. The pipes came from a Hook & Hastings that was removed from some historic home in Massachusetts (its second location). The pipes are in a sort of closet with a facade of stenciled pipes mounted onto a casework that they had built for the purpose. The console is probably a Reuter. There was a "story" to go along with all this. Apparently, there was some graffiti on some of the pedal bourdons done by boys whose punishment was to pump the organ while the organist practiced (from its original location). The Diapason was beautiful and full sounding. It was fun to play. Contained in the choir room was also a small bentside spinet.

          Wednesday afternoon: I spent a few hours at the 3 manual Nichols & Simpson organ at the Church of the Redeemer.

          All I can say is, "wow".

          This was a real trip. Not being a professional organist, I don't know the right words to use, but the best way I can say it is that this organ is smooth and sweet, but that it can pack a wallup. I was able to try out a few different solo combinations:

          The Swell Oboe, Vox Humana
          The Choir Clarinet, English Horn
          The Great Sesquialtera (Bourd 8/Principal 8, Twelfth, Seventeenth).
          The Swell Cornet (8, 2 2/3, 1 3/5)
          I also had three 4' Flutes with which to try the Arne Flute Tune.

          Rhosymedre was, I must admit, quite "lovely" on this organ - even when played by me.

          I picked up the Hymnbook and played through some hymns including "All Creatures of our God and King" along with "Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending". I got brave enough to press a few "generals" that were set to full settings with reeds. It was a wonderful blend - with and without the 16' manual stops/reeds. It certainly did not screech.

          I rested from the organ on Thursday, since the Christ Church, Bradenton organ was reserved. The secretary told me that she would put me down for Friday afternoon and wouldn't let anyone else take my spot.

          I skipped my last lecture on Friday so that I would have plenty of time to practice, return the rental car, get thru airport security, etc.

          Following is the Letourneau page for this organ.

          I'm not competent to give a really good comparison/contrast of these latter two organs. They were both wonderful. I found the stop controls of the Nichols & Simpson much easier to negotiate. The curved terraces of the Letourneau are more aesthetically pleasing to me, but it places many stops well out of reach.

          One thing that was helpful about my time at these two larger organs was that I was able to select out a small group of stops as what might be found in a home pipe organ in order to see how the resulting combinations would work together. I was also able to get a better appreciation for the differences between various flute stops.

          I had taken my new digital recording device, but didn't take the time to make any recordings. I'm going to practice harder once I get home. Perhaps on our next visit to Sarasota I can revisit these organs and record some pieces.

          Thanks for reading, your encouragement, and your indulgence.

          Happy Thanksgiving,


            Thanks for the update. Glad we have had nice weather here in Florida for your visit.