Major Upgrade for a Wicks Pipe Organ

The Wicks pipe organ in the Lancaster, CA Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was originally installed in 1975.  It featured a two-manual console of 23 stops playing 11 ranks of pipes.  Over the nearly half-century since it was installed the organ has been well maintained, but as of 2019 it was showing its age.

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Pipe facade of the Wicks pipe organ at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center in Lancaster, CA

The windchests and pipes were in good condition, but aging technology in the console and control system was causing the organ to be increasingly unreliable and limited in its capabilities for the current needs of the church.  Additionally, the combination memory consisted of only four generals–extremely limited by modern standards.

Church Keyboard Center was selected in late 2019 to update and upgrade the organ with a new console and control system.  The plan included adding 20 new digital stops (voices) to the existing pipe ranks to eliminate most of the unification/borrowing and make each of the three divisions tonally complete and independent.

Console

The new Monarke custom console

The new custom Monarke console has two-manuals and 33 stops controlling 30 ranks.  A new digital relay system replaces the original electro-mechanical components.  The old cable bundle between the console and the relays that contained over 200 individual wires is replaced with a single network style (Cat 5) cable.  The original four generals are expanded to twelve generals with 200 levels of memory (a total of 2,400 combinations).

Strohm Organ Service collaborated with Church Keyboard to install the new relay system.  Lawrence Strohm revoiced several of the pipe ranks to correct the effects of age and even out note-to-note voicing, in addition to improving the balance among some ranks.

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Lawrence Strohm working in the Great division of the organ

This project is an excellent example of how a modest pipe organ can be upgraded to be a more versatile instrument for worship music at a point in its life when a major rebuild is necessary.  By choosing the hybrid solution (combination of pipe and digital stops) the church was able to substantially tonally improve the organ while investing about the same as what it costs to rebuild an old pipe organ console.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Lancaster Stake Center                       

 

GREAT                                     

8’              Principal                                    61 pipes

8’              Gedeckt                                     61 pipes

8’              Gamba                                      Digital

4’              Octave                                       61 pipes

4’              Flute                                           Digital

2’              Super Octave                            61 pipes

1 1/3′        Larigot                                       61 pipes

Mixture IV                                  Digital

8’              Trumpet                                     Digital

Sw to Gt 16’

Sw to Gt 8’

Sw to Gt 4’

 

SWELL                                     

16’            Bourdon Doux                          Digital

8’              Diapason                                  Digital

8’              Rohr Flute                                 85 pipes

8’              Salicional                                  61 pipes

8’              Voix Celeste                             49 pipes

4’              Flute                                           Digital

2 2/3’       Nazard                                       Digital

2’              Block Flute                                12 pipes

1 3/5’       Tierce                                         Digital

Mixture III                                   Digital

16’            Trombone                                 Digital

8’              Trompette                                 61 pipe’

8’              Oboe                                          Digital

4’              Clarion                                       Digital

Tremelo

Sw to Sw 16’

Unison Off

Sw to Sw 4’

 

PEDAL                                      

16’            Principal                                    Digital

16’            Sub Bass                                   32 pipes

16’            Lieblich Gedeckt                      Digital

8’              Principal (GT)                           pipe

8’              Rohr Flute (SW)                       pipe

4’              Choral Bass (GT)                     pipe

4’              Flute (GT)                                  pipe

16’            Posaune                                    12 pipes

8’              Trumpet (SW)                           pipe

4’              Clarion (SW)                             pipe

                 Gt to Pd 8’

Sw to Pd 8’

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