The Quimby organ in 1st Baptist Church, Jackson, MS

      Pipe organ building is a fascinating blend of physics, engineering, decorative arts and music. Behind the flamed copper facade pipes in the arches on either side of the baptistry stands a forest of straight or flared pipes ranging in length from 32 feet to no longer than a pencil.

      The pipe organ built by Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., with a tonal design in the Anglo-American romantic symphonic tradition, has five manuals, 155 ranks, with 9,079 pipes. The tonal concept of the new organ incorporated pipes from several different organs. The original organ for First Baptist Church was built in 1939 by E. M. Skinner and Son. From this organ sixteen ranks, or sets of pipes, were used in the Quimby instru- ment, along with nine ranks from the 1972 rebuild by the Moller Organ Co. Also, 63 ranks were utilized from the Casavant instrument acquired by the church during the 1989 expansion of the Sanctuary. The Casavant pipe organ was originally played in the Concert Hall of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada, and was constructed in 1929 by Casavant Freres Limited of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. At the time, many considered it the firm's crown jewel.

      The flue ranks retained from the previous instruments have been rebuilt, revoiced, and rescaled for the new tonal concept. The existing reed ranks have been rebuilt and revoiced with new reed tongues for the new wind pressures. The organ is winded by one Laukhuff and three Spencer blowers, combined to equal 57 horsepower.

      This job has been extremely gratifying for Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc., because of the success of the research undertaken to determine the best approach to fill the 1.5 million cubic feet of space with sound from a pipe organ located in chambers on either side of the baptistry and in the upper back part of the room. The Quimby staff relearned voicing knowledge, winding, pipe construction and techniques that were abandoned starting in the 1930s during the organ classic revival period. Instruments that influenced the direction of their work included the Skinner Organ Company organ in Woolsey Hall of Yale University, the 1933 Kimball Pipe Organ in the War Memorial Auditorium, Massachusetts, and their previous experience installing the rebuilt Casavant Organ for the Jacoby Symphony Hall, Jacksonville, Florida.

      The organ will enhance the church music ministry by the support of congregational singing; providing sensitive accompaniment of choirs, vocalists, and othe instrument- alists; providing a spiritual environment for worship; providing festive music to celebrate weddings and other special occasions; and supporting the varied styles of the church's diverse music program.