Walker Organ Information

We are delighted to announce that a Walker pipe organ has been installed at St. Mark’s! The pipe organ was built by J.W. Walker & Sons, Ltd. of Brandon, England. For organ music aficionados, here are the details of our purchase:

The instrument consists of four manual divisions, C – c, 61 notes, and a pedal division, C – g, 32 notes, controlled from a detached drawknob console. There will be 55 speaking stops (70 ranks), 2 accessories, 2 derivations, 10 couplers and 3 tremulants, making a total of 72 registers. The key, pedal, and expression pedal actions are mechanical; the coupling, derivation, drawstops, and combination actions are electric. Click here for the complete specifications.

The accessories consist of ten divisional pistons for the Swell and eight divisional pistons for the Solo, Great, Positive, and Pedal. There are eight general thumb pistons to the whole organ and eight general toe pedals. Reversible thumb pistons to unison couplers and reversible toe pedals to ‘Swell to Pedal’ and ‘Great to Pedal” are provided. Advance and retreat thumb pistons and toe pedals for the Sequencer and LED display, and control pistons to program the Sequencer and select and lock memory levels are included.

The detached console has terraced stop jambs and is located in the Chancel facing the choir to allow the organist to conduct the choir.

Organ Dedication Recitals
The Organ Dedication Committee of St. Mark's Episcopal Church organized a three-week series of worship services and organ concerts to celebrate the completion of the new four-manual Walker organ. The dedication of the organ occurred during the morning service on April 17, 2004. That evening at eight o'clock, David Hurd played the inaugural dedicatory recital.

On the following Sunday, April 24, also at eight o'clcock, Karl Hochreiter conducted a concert of Baroque music for voice, organ, and orchestra. The solo organists were Michael Bloss, Larry Visser, and Elizabeth Claar, playing concerti and sinfonias by Bach and Handel. Linn Maxwell Keller sang a Bach solo cantata.

On the following weekend, Gerre and Judith Hancock arrived in Grand Rapids to bring the dedication series to a festive climax on Sunday, May 1. Gerre Hancock played the morning service at St. Mark's, and directed the St. Mark's Community Evensong Choir at Evensong, held at four o'clock that afternoon. Judith Hancock was the organist for the service, with Mr. Hancock improvising the postlude. The closing dedicatory event was a recital by Judith Hancock at eight o'clock that evening.

Click thumbnails for Complete Larger Pictures
This shows how the metal pipes are formed - all by hand by rolling the metal over a mandrel. This is the largest pipe in the organ (16' tall) and is visible front and center in the case. It took 3 of these to ship the entire instrument!
The contents of the first two containers after they were unloaded. All of this will fit in the organ chamber and case! This huge thing is the "action frame". It took five to six weeks to build in England. Rather than disassemble there and reassemble it here, they shipped it whole. It is the assembly of all the trackers that run from each key and pedal at the console all the way into the organ chamber.
This shows the quality of the workmanship. Old fashioned tongue and grove kind of building. No nails or staples used. The frames are what hold the windchests and the pipes that are mounted on the windchests. Essentially the frames hold all of the weight of the organ. This is that action frame without the shipping packaging ready to be installed. It takes up much of the chancel while it waits to be put in place.
The largest pedal pipes were the first to be installed. This is a view of the South organ chamber and transept where the organ will go.
The action frame is in place and the "chassis" is in place. The console will cover the chassis. The chassis contains all of the linkages to hook up with the trackers in the action frame. The grids are part of the windchest that aren't seen when it is assembled. They channel the air to the correct rank of pipes.
This is the entire organ with keyboards but none of its clothes. The left hand part will be in the organ chamber and not visible and the right side is the case visible in the transept without its covering panels. This shows what are called roller boards. They take the action of the tracker when a key is pressed and route it to the windchest. It is the method used to change the direction of the action. Just looks kinda neat!
Shows pipes installed in the organ case in the great division. The case assembled in place with the facade pipes. Note the one in the center is the one being prepared in the first photo on the page.
Just a fun picture of the church interior taken by our photographer when he climbed all the way to the top of the case.