MusicA vital part of our worship

The Charlotte Kohler Memorial Organ

During the pastorate of Fr. Robert W. Blow, Rector from 1862-1890, a Roosevelt organ was installed in what is now the parish's Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. This organ was replaced in 1929 by an Austin instrument, which was placed in what is now the Christ the King chapel. TheAustin was rebuilt and relocated in the late 1950s by Verlinden of Milwaukee to the present (then new) choir loft in the rear of the church. Both the construction of the new balcony and the organ rebuild were made possible by a gift from Herbert V. Kohler and his sister Lillie Babette Kohler.

Decades later, under the leadership of Dr. George Damp, an organ committee was formed when the Austin/Verlinden instrument was becoming increasingly unreliable mechanically. Thanks to a major donation from the Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust, generous funding from the Hayssen Foundation, and numerous smaller contributions, the 23-rank organ built by Schoenstein & Co. of San Francisco was installed in the summer of 2001. The 16' Open Wood, 16' Lieblich Gedeckt, and 16' Bourdon from the Austin organ are retained in the new Schoenstein instrument. The organ façade was carefully designed to be compatible with the Victorian Gothic style of the building. San Francisco artist David Boysel decorated the casework with Japan colors complementing those found in the the nave and chancel woodwork. In addition, he used jet black highlighting with genuine gold leaf for the major motifs, including a variation of the Canterbury Cross called Alisée Patée, which is also to be found in the decoration of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

The organ is remarkable for its versatility achieved within a very limited space, containing some types of organ tone that would normally be found only in much larger instruments, and having a variety of tonal colors at different dynamic levels to support a small volunteer choir without overpowering them. The high pressure Tuba and keen, orchestral Swell strings are enclosed in their own swell box which speaks into the main swell – thus they are doubly enclosed, increasing their range of volume at both ends of the dynamic spectrum. The Tuba, for example, can thus be used either as a powerful solo stop, or as a chorus reed blending with the ensemble.

Organ Specifications

Schoenstein & Co., 2001
Two-Manual and Pedal
20 voices – 23 ranks
Electric-Pneumatic Action

Great (Number of pipes, + indicates enclosed)
  • 16' Double Bass (12) (Harmonic Flute treble)
  • 8' First Open Diapason (61)
  • 8' Harmonic Flute (61)
  • 8' Second Open Diapason (+ 61)
  • 8' Aeoline (+ 61)
  • 8' Vox Angelica (TC)(+ 37)
  • 8' Lieblich Gedeckt (Swell)
  • 4' Principal (+ 61)
  • 2' Mixture (4 ranks) (+ 218)
  • 8' Clarinet (TC) (+ 42)
Great Super Octave
  • 4' Flute (Great)
  • SWELL (enclosed)
  • 16' Lieblich Gedeckt (24)(Lieblich Gedeckt bass)
  • 8' Claribel Flute (49)
  • 4' Gemshorn (61)
  • 2⅔' Twelfth (12) (Nineteenth treble)
  • 2' Fifteenth (61)
  • 1-3/5 ' Seventeenth (TC) (42)
  • 1⅓' Nineteenth (54)
  • 8' Flűgel Horn (61)
  • Tremulant
Separately enclosed within the Swell:
  • 8' Gamba (61)
  • 8' Gamba Celeste (TC) (49)
  • 16' Bass Tuba (12)
  • 8' Tuba Minor (61)
  • Swell Nominal Pitch Off
  • Swell Super Octave
  • 32' Resultant
  • 16' Open Wood (12)
  • 16' Bourdon (32)
  • 16' Double Bass (Great)
  • 16' Lieblich Gedeckt (Swell)
  • 8' Principal (Wood and Metal) (32)
  • 8' Octave (Great Second Diapason)
  • 8' Cello (Great Harmonic Flute)
  • 8' Claribel Flute (Swell)
  • 4' Fifteenth (Metal) (12)
  • 16' Bass Tuba (Swell)
  • 8' Tuba (Swell)
  • 4' Flűgel Horn (Swell)
  • Great/Pedal
  • Swell to Pedal
  • Swell to Pedal Super Octave
  • Swell to Great Sub Octave
  • Swell to Great
  • Swell to Great Super Octave
  • Enclosed Great to Swell
Solid state Capture Combination Action with:
  • 16 memory levels
  • 38 pistons and toe studs
  • Programmable piston range for each memory level
  • Programmable Full Organ
  • 5 Reversibles including Full Organ
  • Cymbelstern

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