Holtkamp Organ Company
JOB 2110 - First Presbyterian Church, Asheville NC

Click on a thumbnail to see
the full-size image
First Presbyterian Church Organ
First Presbyterian Church Organ, side view
First Presbyterian Church Organ, console

The land of the blue smoke.  This is the name the Cherokee Indians gave to this high plateau in Western North Carolina.  Lying at an altitude of roughly 3,000 ft., it is surrounded by six peaks, all of which have altitudes greater than 6,000 ft.  The highest is Mt. Mitchel, which at 6,683' is the highest peak in the Eastern United States.  The plateau itself covers nearly 1,000 square miles.  At its center is the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers.  Near this confluence is Asheville, NC. 

The first European settlers in the area arrived in 1784.  First Presbyterian Church, founded shortly thereafter in 1794, was known as the “church at the mouth of the Swannanoa River”, and was incorporated in 1797 as First Presbyterian Church.  This first worship space was a small wood structure.  The second was a brick church seating 175, built in 1841.  Asheville grew and the church prospered.  The church expanded many times over the years, which included changing the axis of the church, lengthening the church, the additions of transepts, balcony, a gothic style chancel area, and the complete redesign of the church interior to be gothic in character.

The first pipe organ installed in First Presbyterian Church was a Roosevelt in 1890.  This organ was placed in the front of the worship space, speaking directly down the central axis of the nave.  No information exists regarding the specification of this instrument.  In 1951 the church underwent a major expansion which included, among other things, a chancel area built onto the then front wall of the church.  With this addition, the Roosevelt organ was removed and an Aeolian-Skinner organ installed in a large chamber on the left side of the then new chancel.  This instrument, while colorful and expressive, was not adequate to lead the congregation in worship.  In response to this need, the church chose Casavant Freres to add an Antiphonal Organ in 1984 and two stops to the Great division in 1986.

Early in the 21st century, the church leadership recognized that there were aspects of the church infrastructure were in need of repair and maintenance.  Additionally, the leather in the Aeolian-Skinner was beginning to fail.  These two concerns, along with a desire to provide a more inclusive worship experience and enhanced fellowship gave rise to a process of evaluation within the church which culminated in a capital campaign which funded, among other things, the new pipe organ.

First Presbyterian began investigating the possibilities of organ restoration or replacement of the existing instrument in 2004.   Through this early work it was recognized that in order to effectively lead the congregation and project into the worship space with the true color and clarity of the pipework, the organ needed to be moved out of the side chamber and into the chancel area.  This decision was followed by the formation of the Organ Search Committee in 2007.  After hearing instruments from a number of different builders, Holtkamp was selected.

Following the selection process Holtkamp began studying the pipework in the existing organ.  All the pipework, Roosevelt, Aeolian-Skinner, and Casavant, was excellent pipework.  It had been well cared for over the years, and represented a significant investment in both time and materials.  It was in the best interest of the church to use each stop where appropriate in the new instrument.  “Where appropriate” is a very broad term.  It can mean using stops from the existing organ exactly “as is” in the new organ.  It can also mean moderate to significant rescaling of the existing pipework.  It can also mean not using an existing stop at all.  In the First Presbyterian Organ all three approaches were employed, along with a significant amount of new pipework.

The scaling of the organ is on the large side for the First Presbyterian worship space.  This is due to two factors.  First, the chancel arch functions as a partial impediment to the sound of the organ projecting directly to the congregation.  Second, the transepts also act as a sound trap, preventing the sound of the organ from projecting directly to the congregation.  As the result of these two conditions, scales in the organ were all planned one to four scales larger than warranted by the size of the space, and depending on their placement within the organ.  The voicing in general, is focused on creating well-integrated vertical ensembles.  The overall effect of the instrument is one of elegance and simplicity, power and intimacy, balance and color.  It is a wonderful marriage of acoustic and instrument, and is full and supporting without being overpowering.

The visual design was influenced by a number of factors.  First is the general gothic style of the worship space.  Next is the rose window in the rear chancel wall.  Quite beautiful and much beloved, the first design requirement was to have it visible from all parts of the worship space.  As part of the drive to provide a more inclusive worship experience, the chancel area was completely redesigned and extended into the nave.  The new chancel platform, which is centered beneath the transept crossing, is circular in plan.  In response to this, the side towers of the organ case were built at an angle of 17.5 degrees to the center of the case, reflecting the spirit of this circular design.  The pipe shades were inspired by the vertical mullions on the side windows of the worship space.  Lastly, the color of the pipe shade screens was derived from the rose window in the rear chancel wall.

Restore, Renew, Rejoice!  This is the name of the Capital Campaign designed to fund the infrastructure repair and maintenance, chancel and worship space renovation, and pipe organ at First Presbyterian Church.  It reflects the steadfast leadership and long range vision which has made First Presbyterian a leader in Asheville since it’s founding in 1794.  The new pipe organ is also a leader in the church, and will provide spiritual restoration, renewal, and rejoicing to the many families and individuals who worship at First Presbyterian, now and for generations to come.


Key Action:    Electric Slider
Stop Action:   Electric Solenoid
Unit Chests:   Electropneumatic

1. 32' Bourdon Bass 32
2. 16' Open Diapason 32
  16' Contre Basse Great
  16' Bourdon 12
  16' Antiphonal Bourdon Ant.
  16' Flute Douce Swell
3. 8' Octave 32
  8' Violone Great
4. 8' Flute Harmonique 32
  8' Flute 12
  8' Flute Douce Swell
  4' Choralbass 12
  4' Flute Harmonique 12
  2' Harmonic Piccolo 12
5. 16' Trombone 32
  16' Bassoon Swell
  8' Tompette Harmonique Choir
  8' Bassoon Swell
  4' Clarion Choir
  Antiphonal on Pedal 8'

6. 16' Contre Basse 61
7. 8' Diapason 61
  8' Violone 12
  8' Harmonic Flute 5
8. 8' Rohrbourdon 61
9. 4' Octave 61
10. 4' Openflute 61
11. 2' Super Octave 61
12. V Mixture 305
13. 8' Trumpet 61
  Great 16'
  Great Unison Off
    Antiphonal on Great 8'
  16' Trompette Harmonique tc Choir
  8' Trompette Harmonique Choir

14. 16' Flute Douce 61
15. 8' Geigen Diapason 61
16. 8' Viole de Gamba 61
17. 8' Voix Celeste 49
18. 8' Hohlflute 61
  8' Flute Douce 12
19. 4' Octave Geigen 61
20. 4' Traverse Flute 61
21. 2 2/3' Nazard 61
22. 2' Piccolo 61
23. 1 3/5' Tierce 61
24. IV Plein Jeu 244
  16' Bassoon/Oboe 12
25. 8' Trompette 61
26. 8' Bassoon/Oboe 61
27. 8' Vox Humana 61
  Swell 16'
  Swell Unison Off
  Swell 4'
  Antiphonal on Swell 8'

28. 8' Principal 61
29. 8' Dulciana 61
30. 8' Unda Maris 49
31. 8' Gedackt 61
32. 4' Principal 61
33. 4' Rohrflute 61
34. 2' Italian Principal 61
35. 1 1/3' Larigot 61
36. IV Scharf 1 1/3' 244
37. 8' Clarinet 61
  Choir 16'
  Choir Unison Off
  Choir 4'
  Antiphonal on Choir 8'
  16' Trompette Harmonique tc 0
38. 8' Trompette Harmonique 61

  16' Bourdon (Pedal) 32
39. 8' Principal 61
40. 8' Bourdon 61
41. 4' Octave 61
42. 2' Flute 61
43. IV Mixture 244
  Antiphonal 16'
  Antiphonal Unison Off
  Antiphonal 4'

Great to Pedal 8' Reversible by Piston and Toe Stud
Swell to Pedal 8' Reversible by Piston and Toe Stud
Swell to Pedal 4'
Choir to Pedal 8' Reversible by Piston and Toe Stud
Choir to Pedal 4'
Swell to Great 16'
Swell to Great 8' Reversible by Piston
Swell to Great 4'
Choir to Great 16'
Choir to Great 8' Reversible by Piston
Choir to Great 4'
Swell to Choir 16'
Swell to Choir 8' Reversible by Piston
Swell to Choir 4'
Choir to Swell 8'
Manual Transfer
All Swells to Swell

Generals 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 Piston & Toe Stud
Pedal 1-2-3-4-5-6 Toe Stud
Great 1-2-3-4-5-6 Piston
Swell 1-2-3-4-5-6 Piston
Choir 1-2-3-4-5-6 Piston
Antiphonal 1-2-3-4 Piston
Set Piston
General Cancel Piston
Full Organ Reversible Piston & Toe Stud
Next Piston (3) & Toe Stud
Previous Piston (3) & Toe Stud
Zimbelstern Toe Stud


American Style Drawknob Console
Manual Natural Keys – Bone
Manual Sharp Keys – Ebony
Pedal Natural Keys – Maple
Pedal Sharp Keys – Ebony
Drawknobs – Ivory Plastic
Organ Bench with Adjusting Crank Mechanism
Swell Expression Pedal
Choir Expression Pedal
Crescendo Pedal
Full Organ Indicator Light


Electrical Control System with 100 Levels of Memory
    MIDI Playback
Existing Chancel Organ Electric Blower
Existing Antiphonal Organ Electric Blower
Swell and Choir Motors to be two 8 stage Whiffle-trees
Four Solid State Rectifiers
Keyed Start/ Stop Switch Located on Console

2909 Meyer Avenue | Cleveland, Ohio 44109 | Tel. 216.741.5180 | Fax 216.741.0678

About Us
Contact Us