Pipe Organ & Carillon

Pipe Organ

Hear the “Highland Cathedral

The Visser-Rowland (Opus 87) organ is a 4-manual, 51-stop, 74-rank tracker organ made by Visser-Rowland Associates of Houston, Texas.  The console, or keydesk, is detached from the organ case, allowing greater flexibility and ease of choral conducting.

Notes are played by tracker key action, so named because of the long, narrow wooden trackers, which give direct mechanical linkages from the keys to the valves in the windchests.  The stop action, by which the organist selects the sets of pipes to be sounded, is electric and activated by solid-state relays.  An electronic combination system permits the organist to change groups of stops simultaneously.

The design was conceived by Pieter Visser. After being built in Houston under the supervision of Patrick Quigley and James Sanborn, the organ was dismantled, packed, and shipped to Stamford. Once here, the organ was reconstructed under the direction of Charles Eames. Finally, scalings were set and voicing executed by Brian Davis, assisted by Patrick Reynolds.

The tonal scheme of the organ is adapted from Dutch organs of the mid-eighteenth century. Such a design calls for firm, bright principal tone, flutes which sound clear and deep, harmonious reed stops, and an abundance of incisive high-pitched stops which reinforce, rather than obscure the foundation tone.  An organ of this type is versatile in the types of literature it can perform.  It blends well with voices and other instruments, and, most importantly, it excels in leading congregational singing.

Many different woods were used in constructing the organ.  Most obvious are the mahogany case and white oak console.  The four manual keyboards have ebony naturals and maple sharps, woods selected for their durability as well as appearance.  The Zimblestern, which rotates at the top of the case, is basswood.  The facade pipes (the largest of which is twenty feel tall) are flamed copper and polished tin and the Trumpet En Chemade is polished copper.

Click on this link to go inside the nave and hear the organ (video)   http://goo.gl/O2VKn
Click on this link to see more photos and read an interview with organist, Jim Wetherald  http://goo.gl/y8NBH



The Maguire Memorial Carillon is a 56-bell instrument consisting of 22 bells cast by Gillett and Johnston from the original Nestle Carillon of 36 bells installed in 1948, and 34 bells cast by Paccard in 1967. The Nestle bells were given by the Nestle Company of Switzerland in appreciation to the Stamford community for its hospitality during World War II.

The tower’s four reinforced concrete posts rise 255 feet. The tower is topped by a stainless steel cross that is 30 feet high and was put in place by helicopter.

The bourdon weighs 6,830 lbs. and sounds the note B2. The largest 11 bells are housed in the lower bell chamber; three of these, forming a major triad based upon the bourdon, are arranged in full swinging mountings.  The 45 smaller bells are housed in the upper bell chamber.  The console, in a teak wood cabin between the bell chambers is of “Bigelow Standard” design.  In addition to the mechanical carillon action, the 20 largest bells are playable electrically from the organ; an automatic clock-controlled mechanism plays the Cambridge Quarters on bells 6, 11, 13, and 15, with the hour struck on the bourdon.

The mixture of open surface and enclosure of the two bells chambers, the happy combination of the English and French bells, and the wide range produce a sound with both clarity and depth, on which music of all periods is effectively played, and which blends well with instruments on special occasions.  The instrument carries up to 1-1/2 miles on quiet days with favorable wind, but is not overpowering in the campus and nearby streets