Dedication acknowledgements from the Dedication Program: Choral Evensong, March 6, 1988, 5:00 p.m.
Christ Church wishes to thank the members of the Organ Committee who, under the able and faithful leadership of Wesley C. Ellis, Organist and Choirmaster from 1984-1986, spent many hours studying and reviewing various organs and organ builders in an effort to secure the finest organ for Christ Church. It is with much gratitude that we also thank our consultant, Dr. Harry E. Tibbs, for his wise counsel and advice. Finally, we acknowledge and thank Phares Steiner and Gottfried Reck and each member of the firm, Striner-Reck Incorporated, Organ Builders, who designed and constructed such a beautiful and glorious instrument over a period of three years. They have been faithful to their craft and to the congregation of Christ Church. We thank God for their labor and friendship and for the instrument he has granted us through the work of their hands. May we lift our voices and hearts to Him in mighty praise and thanksgiving for his goodness. May this church proclaim him Lord in all that we say and do.
Organ Committee: Harwell E. Coale, Jr., Chairman Laura Barr Bradley R. Byrne Alice H. Carwie Claire de Gravelles Cloninger Thomas F. Garth Jay Clarke Kemper J. Michael Phillips Kitty H. Sawyer Syd Shingler, Jr. Victor P. Stanton The Rev. John M. Barr, III Wesley C. Ellis, Organist and Choirmaster (1984-1986) Dr. Harry E. Tibbs, Consultant
Steiner-Reck Incorporated, Organ Builders Phares L. Steiner, Gottfried C. Reck, Partners
From a Dedication Program: Choral Evensong, March 6, 1988, 5:00 p.m.
Christ Church has long enjoyed the presence of an organ in the midst of its worship life. The earliest records announce the dedication of a new organ on Wednesday, December 7, 1859. This organ, constructed by Henry Erben for the total cost of $7,000, was a four manual instrument of 50 stops. As stated in The Mobile Register, "It is a magnificent instrument, one of the largest in the South, and its tones are of extraordinary power, surpassing sweetness, and the most imposing effect."
In 1907, following the devastation of the Hurricane of 1906, a large 45-58 rank organ was installed by the firm Hook and Hastings [sic.]. In 1947 or 1948, twelve ranks were removed and replaced by four new ranks, involving the loss of four-rank and five-rank mixtures wich were of perfect design.
By the 1970's, it was obvious that additional major work was needed in order to maintain the organ. A committee was formed whose task was to evaluate the musical needs of the parish and recommend whether a new instrument or a major rebuilding of the present Hook and Hastings instrument would best serve the needs of the congregation. Various consultants in the fields of church music and organ design were contacted. A major rebuilding of the organ was begun by a firm whose work was never satisfactorily completed. The need for repair became increasingly urgent as rank after rank of pipes became unuseable [sic.] due to electrical and mechanical failure. In September, 1985, after many months of research, travel to inspect and hear various organs, and careful deliberation, a contract was signed with Steiner-Reck Incorporated, Organ Builders, of Louisville, Kentucky. The plan was to save much of the valuable Hook and Hastings pipework from the 1907 instrument, add new ranks such as Mutations, Mixtures and addiional Reeds as needed to fill out the tone, and construct a new console, windchests and chambers. In addition, the design of the facade was greatly altered in order to complement the structural design of the interior of the Nave.
This new organ is dedicated to the glory of God and to the praise of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is with great anticipation that we begin to incorporate this new voice into our midst. As stewards of the gifts of God, it is our desire to share this instrument and the building which so warmly welcomes its tones with the Mobile community. We offer it to you as our gift and as an expression of gratitude to the One who has called us to be "Christ's" Church.
Status Note: There 1987