Holtkamp Organ Company
JOB 2072 - Poland Presbyterian Church, Poland OH
Installed 1999

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View of the Poland Presbyterian Church

Poland Presbyterian Church is located in Poland, Ohio. It is directly south of Youngstown in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The town was founded in 1796 as part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. It was named in honor of the Polish generals who fought in the American armies of the Revolutionary War. The church was founded in 1802. The current sanctuary is the fourth in the history of the congregation. It was built in 1897. Remarkably enough, all four churches in the history of Poland Presbyterian Church have been built on the same site.

I first heard from Poland Presbyterian Church in fall of 1996. However, this was not the real beginning of the project. It truly began in 1952 with the establishment of the Fannie Mae Smith Powers Fund whose purpose was, at some point in the distant future, to act as the primary seed money for a pipe organ for Poland Presbyterian Church. It was because of this fund that the project became a reality in fall 1996. It was through additional contributions by the Lowell family and the Stone family that the organ became a reality.

As the first step in their process, the church established an Organ Committee which was lead by Dr. Jim Umble, a wonderful French Horn player and teacher at The Dana School of Music of Youngstown State University. Also present on the committee were church organists Erol Kehrberg and Anne Hutchison. Early on in the process the committee decided to enlist the aid of Dr. Ron Gould as a consultant. Dr. Gould was then organist on the faculty of The Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University and Organist and Director of Music at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown, Ohio. Together he and the committee made numerous visits to organs by different builders. In the end they narrowed the field to two builders. Each was asked to present a visual design to the committee. It was our great fortune that the choice of the committee was The Holtkamp Organ Company.

Fitting an organ to an existing building has its own natural challenges. These challenges arise from the existing church acoustics, the church architectural design, and the space available for a new organ. It was these three things that defined this project and determined the final result.

The starting point in any organ project is always organ placement and the space available. These, more often than not, are both the most basic and most crucial elements of the project.

Placement directly affects the way the sound of an organ projects to the congregation. If it is placed in a position where it can project directly to the congregation then it will have the potential to lead them with great authority. If it is placed in a location where the sound must go through a number of reflections prior to reaching the congregation, the sound energy is consumed through those reflections and this authority can never be achieved. The placement at Poland Presbyterian Church fulfilled all of the above requirements. It is placed in the rear gallery of the church. From this location it has the potential to speak to the congregation with great authority. In doing so it provides the essential leadership in all communal song.

The amount of available space naturally plays a major role in determining the size of the new organ. It is always advisable to have an organ placed in close proximity to the choir and that the console be in close proximity to the choir and organ. These requirements make it necessary to have space available for organ, choir, and console in the primary musical area. It is always advisable to provide space for additional instrumentalists on festival occasions, including hand bells if they are a regular part of the worship service, and also to plan for the gradual expansion of the choir after the completion of the new organ project. It is our experience that a choir will grow by 25% - 50% after the installation of the new pipe organ. The amount of space available at Poland Presbyterian was ample. It provided sufficient space for a two manual organ of twenty-four stops and thirty-five ranks, choir, console, and instrumentalists. The divisions are placed with the Great to the left, the Swell to the right, and the Pedal split left and right.

The size of this organ was for the most part determined by the available space. This is reflected in a very complete two manual specification with no Pedal extensions. Our primary focus in devising the specification is on breadth of timber and balance of divisions. The Great chorus is full and bright without being overpowering. The Swell chorus is more thin and bright with a definite focus on choral accompaniment. The pedal is scaled to act as a very flexible foundation for the different stop combinations in the manuals. The acoustics of the church are very warm due to the height of the nave, and have a great detail of sound due to the intimate floor plan. This presented the challenge of creating an instrument that was full and well balanced without being overpowering. The sound of the instrument surrounds and embraces, rather than demanding attention. It is ideal for creating well-knit ensembles with the congregation, choir, and soloists.

The visual design of this pipe organ is one of its most remarkable features. The interior of Poland Presbyterian Church is adorned with numerous elegant windows from the time of the original construction of the current church. The widows in the rear gallery are one of the primary architectural and artistic features of the church. During the design process it was necessary to conceive a design that was split on either side of the windows. However, it was not acceptable to have the case of the organ cause a tunnel effect when viewing the windows. The windows needed to be able to breath, not be viewed through blinders. The organ case also needed to act as a frame for the windows. In order to fulfill these many needs we composed a design that was primarily composed of three towers on each side of the windows. The tower nearest the windows is moderate in height and perpendicular to the windows. The next tower larger and sits at a forty-five degree angle to the windows and acts as the corner of the casework. The third tower is moderate in size, sits parallel to the windows, and finishes the central part of the case. To the outside of this last tower on each side is a series of flats which sit back from the level of the third tower and act as an ending background to the towers in the center. The screen detail in each tower is derived from the central rear gallery rose window.

The organ was built in winter and spring of 1999. It was installed in May of 1999 and voiced in June of 1999.

Pedal Organ

16   Subbass 32
16   Pommer Great
8   Octave 32
8   Flute 32
4   Choralbass 32
IV   Mixture 128
16   Posaune 32
    Midi A  
    Midi B  
Great Organ

16   Pommer 61
8   Principal 61
8   Rohrbourdon 61
4   Octave 61
4   Openflute 61
II   Cornet 122
2   Doublette 61
V   Mixture 305
8   Trumpet 61
    Midi E  
    Midi F  
Swell Organ

8   Gamba 61
8   Voix Celeste 56
8   Hohlflute 61
4   Octave Geigen 61
4   Harmonic Flute 61
2   Principal 61
IV   Fourniture 244
16   Clarinet 61
8   Oboe 61
    Midi C  
    Midi D  

 Poland Presbyterian Church website





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