The James Sprunt Memorial Organ

Built by the Skinner Organ Company
Opus 713, 1928
Three Manuals and Pedal
38 Stops, 34 Ranks, 2268 Pipes

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About the instrument...

Wilmington, North Carolina is one of the South’s most attractive and historic cities. Gracious antebellum homes line streets overhung with Spanish moss, and cast-iron signs along the city streets mark places and events of interest, bespeaking an admirable pride among the people who live and work here. First Presbyterian Church graces its corner in one of the most genteel neighborhoods of this beautiful city.

Opus 713 was the first significant instrument restored by the A. Thompson-Allen Company beyond its home state of Connecticut. The good people of the church had had several proposals from other organ-builders, most of which suggested discarding or altering the Skinner organ beloved by the congregation, clearly something they did not want to do. When we were asked to examine it, we found that it was a case of love at first sight. The beautiful church, the enormously successful instrument, and the kind and gracious people all conspired to convince us that the restoration of this organ was something that we wanted to do very much.

Restoration began in 1975 and was completed three years later. All of the mechanism and pipework, excepting the half-dozen largest pipes of the Pedal 16’ Diapason, was removed and returned to our shops in New Haven. Although the organ had been well cared for over the years, the passage of almost fifty years had taken its toll. Many of the pipes were showing signs of fatigue and needed thorough cleaning and repair. A thick coat of soot covered everything in the organ chamber, and much of the shellac finish on the woodwork was mildewed. We knew that an elegant instrument resided behind the two organ cases, and we were determined to restore it to its pristine beauty once more.

In 2003 the church desired to make an addition to the instrument, and we suggested a Pedal 16’ Trombone to round out the organ’s resources and provide a firm undergirding to the ensemble. At first an extensive search was carried out to locate period pipework that might be available for the purpose, but none was found. After consulting with Douglas Leightenheimer, Organist/Choirmaster of the church, it was decided that an exact copy would be made of an existing Skinner Pedal Trombone, in this case the one for Opus 793 in Hartford’s Second Church of Christ, Scientist. Working with Chris Broome of Windsor Locks (CT), whose father David Broome had restored the organ’s reed stops in 1978, an identical set of pipes was made by A. R. Schopp’s Sons of Alliance (OH). The new pipes and their windchest were supplied by a period Skinner wind-pressure regulator and the switching for them is accomplished by period Skinner electro-pneumatic switches, making for a harmonious and reliable installation.

Opus 713 continues faithfully to serve the good people of First Presbyterian Church as it has for more than three-quarters of a century. Long may its inspiring voice lead their worship, and provide an excellent musical resource in the community. The Organist-Choirmaster of First Presbyterian Church is Mr. Douglas Leightenheimer, a man who knows how to get the best out of this very effective instrument.


Stoplist...


Great Organ

16’Bourdon (Ext. Pedal)
First Diapason
Second Diapason
Principal Flute
Erzahler
Octave
II Grave Mixture
8' Tuba (Enclosed with Choir)
8' French Horn (Enclosed with Choir)
Chimes
Swell Organ

16’Bourdon
Diapason
Rohrflute
Salicional
Voix Celeste
Flute Celeste II
4' Octave
Flute Triangulaire
Harmonic Piccolo
III Mixture
16’ Contra Oboe
Trumpet
Oboe (Extended)
Vox Humana
Tremolo
Choir Organ

Concert Flute
Gamba
Dulciana
Flute
2 2/3' Nazard
Clarinet
Harp
Celesta
Tremolo
Pedal Organ

16’ Diapason
16’ Bourdon
16’ Echo Bourdon (Swell)
Octave (Extended)
8' Gedeckt (Extended)
Still Gedeckt (Swell)
Super Octave (Extended)
16' Contra Oboe (Swell)
16' Trombone (Added 2003)
Chimes (Great)


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