St. Catherine AME Zion Church Striving to Act Justly, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with God!

The Pipe Organ

The magnificent instrument which we celebrate today at the St. Catherine AME Zion Church was designed and built by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois in 1956.  The Wicks Company was founded in 1906 and this particular instrument is the 3,627th instrument the company designed and built.  The organ has been tonally embellished and revoiced for the St. Catherine installation by Lawrence Trupiano.  This massive instrument consists of 21 ranks and utilizes 1,388 pipes to produce its majestic tones.  The console has two manual or keyboards and a pedalboard and is positioned in front of the Senior Choir Loft.

The pipes are of two basic types.  The reed pipes are made of metal and have a vibration reed that produces the tone.  The second type is called flue pipes.  The flues are either metal or wood and are, in principle, whistles.  The size of the pipes in this organ range from as small as a partially used pencil to the grand and awesome 16 foot trompette and towering bass flute.

Each manual or keyboard is capable of producing a multitude of tonal effects.  The top keyboard (the swell organ) has many solo effects available to the organist.  Among its effects are the trumpet and several flute and string instruments.

The lower manual (the great organ) is capable of producing many contrasting tonal effects to compliment the swell organ.  Among its stops are the mighty diapason which gives the organ its typical organ sound.

The Echo Organ (playable from either keyboard) has pipes that are located in a chamber behind the Senior Choir loft.  This tonal ensemble can be used for antophonal effects and adds greatly to the dynamic range of the organ and expands the acoustical possibilities of the instrument.

The pedals and pedal organ is basically used to provide the bass notes for the ensembles arranged on either or both manuals of keyboards.  The design of this particular organ also makes it possible to play melodic lines on the pedal organ.

Although this organ was originally designed for and used in a different church, during its installation it became more and more evident that the Almighty God had St. Catherine A.M.E. Zion Church in mind when he inspired the designer of this organ.  There was never an occasion to alter the original design of the instrument during its installation here at Saint Catherine.  Upon completion of the installation it is evident that the organ is, at least, in its God intended home.  Just one look at its pipes reaching up to the heavens here at St. Catherine’s sanctuary and you must draw the conclusion that God has placed this wonderful instrument here and charges the congregation to glorify his Holy Name with the organ and with glad songs.