On April 27, 2008 the Martin Pasi Opus 18 was dedicated with a morning worship service and an afternoon dedication recital played by internationally acclaimed organist Douglas Cleveland. It was the culmination of a multi-year period of studying and listening to many organs, and discussions with organ builders and consultants. The initial contract commissioning the building of the organ was signed in October 2002.
Working with the church’s organ committee and its consultant, Dr. Mark Brombaugh, Martin Pasi developed a three-manual organ of 3,500 pipes and 47 stops (12 Great, 10 Positiv, 15 Swell, and 10 Pedal) to be placed on the central axis of a reconfigured chancel. The stop action is electric with 60 levels of memory for recall of numerous stop combinations. The key action is entirely mechanical, and this “tracker” system gives the organist intimate control over the speech and release characteristics of the pipes, enabling sensitive musical phrasing and articulation. The organ is entirely encased in painted solid poplar casework. Its basic shape was inspired by the 1774 David Tannenberg organ at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, an historic colonial building. The decorative pipe shades of butternut were designed by Kathryn Sparks and carved by Martin Pasi and his daughter, Maurine, with particular design emphasis appropriate to the Winnetka area.
The façade clearly represents the tonal structure of the organ. The pipes of the Great are at the center of the case, while those of the Pedal division are placed on windchests divided on either side at impost level. The Swell is at the top center of the case, with its pipes enclosed behind expression shutters. The Positive is cantilevered above the console in front of the Great in its own smaller case. This allows its sounds to project more intensely into the room, giving it a heightened presence to the listener. The twelve largest 32’ wood pipes of the Subbass stand on separate chests in the side balconies of the chancel.
This wonderful instrument is used every Sunday for our 10:00 a.m. service. It is also heard in various concerts.