Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. (Opus 230-A, 1955)


Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH US
Finney Chapel
Organ ID: 22308

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Colleges and Universities
  • The organ has been relocated.
  • The organ's condition is unknown.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Electro-pneumatic (EP)
  • 82 ranks. 4,538 pipes. 3 manuals. 61 stops. 75 registers.
  • Chest Type(s): Electro-pneumatic (EP) chests
  • Position: In center chambers at the front of the room. Facade pipes or case front visible.
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
  • Manuals: 3
  • Stops: 61
  • Registers: 75
  • Manual Compass: 61
  • Pedal Compass: 32
  • Key Action: Electrical connection from key to chest.
  • Stop Action: Electric connection between stop control and chest.
We received the most recent update for this console from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Database Manager on September 26, 2018:

From the Sedona Conservatory website: In 1997 Oberlin College received a significant bequest to be used to purchase a large new instrument of a tonal style not yet part of Oberlin-s organscape. With the choice being a French-styled instrument, and with the only other concert hall large enough to house the gifted instrument having just received a significant new organ by the Dutch builder Flentrop, Finney Chapel was selected to receive the new installation. The Finney Aeolian-Skinner organ, with the incorporated pipe sets from the historic 1915 E. M. Skinner instrument that preceded it, had served multiple generations of Conservatory organ students and concert artists. It would need a new home.

The instrument was sold to a congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and in 1999 was moved from Oberlin-s Finney Chapel to the Indianapolis organ builders Goulding and Wood who had been chosen for the anticipated installation. Shortly thereafter, when the purchasing church attempted to secede from the Diocese, the organ became part of a legal battle lasting the better part of a decade. Ultimately, the church and its holdings, including the historic Finney Chapel Aeolian-Skinner, became the property of the Diocese, which had no idea what to do with an instrument of this size and stature. With the organ in storage in Indianapolis, the Diocese decided to sell it.

t was Organ Clearing House (OCH), an organization that finds new homes for available organs, that had removed the instrument from its 85-year home in Oberlin and transported it to Indianapolis. OCH was once again engaged, this time as selling agent, to find another home for this now orphaned instrument. Of particular interest is that one John Bishop, an organ student at Oberlin in the early 1970-s, and thus intimately acquainted with this instrument having so often played it in Finney Chapel, this same John Bishop was now the head of Organ Clearing House.

Russell Fox, founder & director of the Sedona Conservatory, established in 2011, became aware of the Oberlin Aeolian-Skinner-s availability in 2012 from Los Angeles organ builder Weston Harris. Having graduated from Oberlin Conservatory in 1969, Mr Fox, like OCH-s John Bishop, was thoroughly familiar with Finney Chapel-s Aeolian-Skinner and it-s history. Mr. Fox opined, "It was not a major concern that this was going to be a ‘pipes only- acquisition. After all, it-s the irreplaceable tonal quality of the pipework that ultimately determines an organ-s most distinctive nature. Having the original wind chests would have saved us a small fortune. However, with its anticipated installation in a new concert hall, not being restricted by the original configurations would allow for greater flexibility in its re-design and presentation.” Oberlin-s Aeolian-Skinner Opus #230-A was purchased for the Sedona Conservatory in June, 2014, with the decision to keep it in storage in Indianapolis until appropriate facilities could be arranged in Sedona. With that finalized, in November, 2015 Mr. Fox traveled to Indianapolis to oversee the instrument-s loading and cross country move.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

Database Manager on December 06, 2016:

Replaced by Fisk Op. 116 in 2001 and was to be moved to Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, Virginia, by Goulding & Wood in 2000. Apparently, the Virginia church seceded from the Episcopal Church and all their property became the property of their former diocese, which was left with 230-A in storage with Goulding & Wood. The organ was purchased by the Sedona Conservatory and moved there by the OCH in November 2015, where it will share quarters with the famed Estey from Claremont College. They will be restored independently and, in addition to their own rebuilt individual consoles, will be able to be played by a new 5-manual master console.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on September 26, 2018.

Database Manager on September 30, 2016:

Updated through online information from Weston Harris.
Relocated to Sedona, Arizona http://www.sedonaconservatory.org/concert-organ/

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Manager on April 20, 2010:

Updated through online information from Nathaniel Powell. -- For 85 years, an organ designed and built by E.M. Skinner in 1914 and extensively rebuilt by the firm Aeolian-Skinner in the early 1950s, served Oberlin College in Finney Memorial Chapel. That organ has been dismantled (in late-June 1999) and shipped to Indianapolis for renovation before being installed in its new home in Truro Episcopal Church of Fairfax, Virginia. [Never made it to Fairfax; see below]

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on September 26, 2018.

Database Manager on December 22, 2005:

Identified through information adapted from E. M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner Opus List, by Sand Lawn and Allen Kinzey (Organ Historical Society, 1997), and included here through the kind permission of Sand Lawn:
Rebuild of E. M. Skinner Opus 230 (1914). Swell Vox Humana from #667 added in 1963; replaced by Fisk Op. 116 in 2001

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.
Source not recorded: Open In New Tab Stoplist from listing in Organ Clearing House Feb 21, 2012
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

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