Organs

About the Meeting House Organs

Prior to the installation of the church’s first pipe organ, congregational singing and chanting of psalms was unaccompanied or supported by a string instrument. In 1817, Jacob Hilbus and Henry Harrison of Washington, DC built and installed the church’s first organ. This organ was destroyed in the 1835 fire and was replaced in 1849 by an organ built by Henry Erben of New York City, which was installed in the apse behind the pulpit. This organ was relocated to the rear balcony in 1927. The Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas installed an organ on either side of the Erben in 1965. In 1997, the Erben organ was returned to its original location in the apse, the Reuter organ was donated to a local congregation, and a new instrument by Lively-Fulcher Organ Builders was installed in the rear balcony.

 

Lively-Fulcher Organ Builders, 1997 (Balcony)

Mark Lively and Paul Fulcher have each been building organs for more than thirty years. Their goal is simply stated: To build a small number of organs, one at a time, that are of the highest artistic quality using the finest materials available.

Mark Lively has studied music, art, history, and electrical engineering. In 1976 he established the first company in the United States to utilize Computer Aided Design (CAD) in the construction of pipe organs. In 1989 he became Tonal Director of the venerable English firm of J. W. Walker and Sons. Subsequently, he was appointed Artistic Director.

Paul Fulcher, a native of England, studied piano from an early age. His training in organ building includes a formal English apprenticeship program with J. W. Walker specializing in the voicing of pipes. He worked at Walker and Sons for twenty years, eventually becoming Head Voicer and Joint Tonal Director with Mark Lively. During this period, Lively and Fulcher were responsible for building and voicing scores of organs all over the world.

Now having joined forces as partners in the US, the Lively-Fulcher organ in the Meeting House (Opus 4) has mechanical key action with a detached console and electric stop action. The mahogany case features polished tin façade (front) pipes with carved pipe shades. The organ has 31 stops, 35 ranks, and 2026 pipes.

GREAT
16′ Bourdon (49 pipes/12 from PD 16 Subbass)
  8′ Open Diapason  (61 pipes)
  8′ Stopt Diapason  (61 pipes)
 8′ Harmonic Flute   (49 pipes/ 12 from GT Stopt flute)
 4′ Principal  (61 pipes)
4′ Open Flute  (61 pipes)
223 Twelfth  (61 pipes)
223 Cornet III (183 pipes)
2′ Fifteenth (61 pipes)
113 Furniture IV (244 pipes)
8′ Trumpet (61 pipes)

Swell to Great
Tremulant

SWELL
8′ Diapason (61 pipes)
  8′ Chimney Flute  (61 pipes)
  8′ Salicional  (61 pipes)
 8′ Voix Celeste   (49 pipes)
 4′ Principal  (61 pipes)
4′ Tapered Flute  (61 pipes)
223 Sesquialtera II  (122 pipes)
2′ Flageolet (61 pipes)
113 Larigot (61 pipes)
1′ Mixture III (183 pipes)
16′ Bassoon (61 pipes)
8′ Hautboy (61 pipes)

Tremulant

PEDAL
32′ Contra Bourdon (digital)
  16′ Open Diapason  (32 pipes)
  16′ Subbass  (32 pipes)
 8′ Principal   (32 pipes)
 8′ Bass Flute  (12 pipes)
4′ Fifteenth  (12 pipes)
16′ Trombone  (32 pipes)
8′ Trumpet (12 pipes)

Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Zimbelstern

Henry Erben, 1849 (Apse)

Henry Erben, born in 1800, was son of Peter Erben, a distinguished New York City organist of Trinity Church. At the age of seventeen, he was apprenticed to organ builder Thomas Hall, and by 1821 was a partner in the company. Upon his death, Hall’s name was dropped from the company and business for Erben was most promising. By 1845, 153 instruments had been built including six located outside the United States. From 1847 to 1863, a branch facility was maintained in Baltimore MD for the distribution of organs to the South. When Erben died in May 1884, his obituary in the New York Tribune stated that he had built 1734 organs in his career.

The Erben organ at OMPH is a reflection of English organs of the period. Eight-foot stops are divided on a single manual. A pedal stop was added a few years after its 1849 installation; in 1997 the pedal board and pedal bourdon were removed into storage.*

8′ Open Diapason
8′ Stopt Diapason
8′ Dulciana
4′ Principal
4′ Flute
2′ Piccolo
8′ Trumpet
Manual/Pedal Coupler*
16′ Bourdon*