Organs at St. John's
C. B. Fisk Opus 127
The beautiful instrument enhancing worship at St. John’s was built by the outstanding American organ-building firm C. B. Fisk, Inc., in 2005. It crowned the extensive renovation of the venerable 1881 church’s interior, which included a new west gallery for choir and organ, enlarged altar and communion space, new transept and lobby seating, inaudible heating and cooling systems, and greatly improved acoustics. The Fisk organ is comprised of thirty-one stops, or sets of pipes, played by two manual keyboard divisions and pedal, contains 1,940 pipes, and utilizes direct mechanical (“tracker”) key action. The handsome oak organ case, or cabinet which contains the pipes and mechanism, rises from the floor of the gallery to the pinnacle of the roof, and incorporates elements of the architecture of the building as well as reflecting details of the altar reredos. For more specifics click here. The organ has proven to be a wonderful instrument for accompanying the choir and leading the congregation’s song. While not a particularly large organ, it is capable of playing a wide range of organ music with beautiful and appropriate sounds, and is used regularly for recitals and concerts which are enjoyed by a wide community. It stands high above the West doors of the Church, where its music welcomes worshipers into the Body of Christ, and then sends them out into the greater community in His name.
C.B. Fisk, Inc. of Gloucester, Massachusetts, have been designing and building pipe organs since 1961. For lists, locations, and photographs of their organs, schedule of organ recitals, newsletters, and treatises on organ building and music, visit their website at www.cbfisk.com.
"Jingle Bells Organ"
Located in St. John’s Carter Chapel, the so-called “Jingle Bells Organ” has a long and entertaining history. The delightful one-manual-and-pedal chamber organ was built by William Hill and Frederick Davison in London in 1837-38. Ordered by Christ Church (Episcopal), Savannah, for use while the church was being renovated, it was subsequently used by several other parishes, and then by the Savannah Unitarian Society (1857-58). The Unitarian’s organist at that time, James L. Pierpoint, published “A One-horse Open Sleigh” in 1857, although it was written in 1850 in Medford, MA. Nonetheless, the name “Jingle Bells” has been associated with the instrument ever since. In the 1940s the organ was donated to the FSU School of Music, where it languished in several temporary storage locations before finally coming to rest in the basement of the (now Kuersteiner) Music Building. It was “discovered” in 1976 by an FSU doctoral student who rescued, restored, and documented the organ. From 1985-1992 it again served as a temporary organ, at First Presbyterian Church, Tallahassee; from 1992-2000 it resided at the Presbyterian University Center on the FSU campus. Since then it has been at St. John’s on permanent loan from the College of Music, and is available for Sunday evening, daily, and special services.