When Richard Hoskins, Director of Music and Organist of St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church, began the search for a new organ, we were delighted that C. B. Fisk appeared at the top of his list. He wanted an expressive instrument that would accompany his renowned Chicago choir, provide support for the Episcopal liturgy, and be featured in recital.
The new instrument, our first in the Chicago metropolitan area, is divided on either side of the monumental stained glass window at the back of the church. The manual divisions reside in the left hand case with the Great above the Swell; the keydesk is attached to the front. The Pedal division occupies the opposite case sixteen feet away with its trackers running beneath the floor. The staged space between the two organ cases provides an ideal placement for the choir. A special HVAC unit was designed to address the temperature variations that could have been troublesome for an instrument so close to an exterior window.
Hammered lead façade pipes begin with low DD of the Prestant 16' while the side façade arrays take their pipes from the Great Prestant 8' and the Pedal Octave 8'. The dark, bluish patina of these façade pipes blends well with the predominantly blue window and the darkly stained mahogany organ cases. Heavy masonry walls on all sides focus and support the sound of the organ.
The manual divisions are winded from a common wedge bellows. Concussion bellows stabilize the wind allowing music requiring steady wind to be played. The Flexible Wind knob, a standard feature of modern Fisk organs, may be engaged to allow wonderful buoyancy for earlier music with lighter textures.