Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church

306 North Division Street, Ann Arbor, MI   48104
734 663.0518  |

The Organ Project

About the New Organ

In building a new organ, consideration must be given not only to the auditory experience but also the visual appearance of the instrument.

Overall Appearance

In its appearance the organ will be built to be consonant with the architectural themes that otherwise define the sanctuary. Our organ builders, Richards, Fowkes & Co., have an established track record for building beautiful organs. Examples of their work can be viewed HERE.


Our new organ will be installed in the first bay along the north wall of the church. It is the place where the church's first organ once sat. The pipes will be located within the body of the sanctuary, but they will not obscure the arch that defines the chancel.

The new organ will be sized to fit within the space currently defined by the altar rail.


The organ will be of a size such that the two stained glass windows (the Bishop Brent (N1) and Venerable Bede (N2) windows) that currently adorn the first north bay will be made invisible. The windows will be moved to the rear of the north wall and installed in the N11 and N12 locations which currently have painted glass windows instead of stained glass.


The choir will remain in its current position, at the front of the church. We will use this occasion to install acoustic remediation in the chancel, making the choir more audible to the congregation. This remediation will not entail any visible alteration to the front of the church.

New & Improved Sound

Many factors affect the sound of an organ. We are blessed at St. Andrew's to have a fundamentally beautiful acoustic in our building which goes a long way toward improving all musical sounds, and which is the most important reason that our current organ has managed to sound largely acceptable despite its many flaws. How then will the new organ differ in sound as compared to our current instrument?


All of the pipes will be in one case in the front of the church, and not scattered about the building. The case acts much as a soundboard in a piano, focusing the sound from the organ for better projection and blend, not to mention greater stability for keeping the organ pipes in tune with each other. Our new organ will have the focused sonic presence and blend of a fine symphony orchestra, each stop building upon one another with perfect harmony.


The pipes themselves will be handmade with the finest materials, which affects the sound tremendously. The pipes are resonators, vibrating with air and ringing the wood and metal with various harmonic overtones that we perceive as tone color (the difference, for instance, between how we perceive an oboe as opposed to a flute). Our new organ will have metal pipes that are made from more resonant, higher quality alloys that are also more stable and will not collapse as they have in our current instrument.


The new organ will sound much more like the human voice. Because the keys are physically connected to the valves that open the pipes, the organist will be able to produce sounds that mimic consonants, vowels, and other linguistic features. This organ will be a great pleasure to sing with. (LEARN MORE about tracker organs or VIEW the construction process for a tracker)

Imagine silvery flutes, warm oboes, shimmering strings, resonant and fiery trumpets, and the deep dignity of the full organ sound that at once undergirds our singing, envelopes us in warmth, and raises our voices and spirits to an ever loftier "Alleluia"!

VIEW the full list of planned stops for the new organ.

<< Back to MUSIC