The Miller-Scott Organ
The new Miller-Scott Organ will reflect John Scott’s vision of the best possible chancel organ for Saint Thomas and will be one of the most significant instruments in North America. In addition to supporting the internationally renowned liturgical and musical life of the parish, it will also encourage the training of young organists and, in the tradition of John Scott, be a showcase for recitalists from all over the world. Those who came to the Organ Update on May 31 could hear the anticipation in his voice as he described the various divisions and their stops, the individual effects he knew that it would achieve, and the grand and glorious tutti in which it would culminate. John ended his presentation by saying “So, to sum up – 2018 cannot come soon enough.”
The cost of the construction and installation of the Miller-Scott Organ and the many other related expenses totals $11 million. As we have raised over $8 million, less than $3 million is needed to complete the fundraising for this project which will keep John’s legacy alive for years to come.
If you would like to be part of this historic opportunity and make a contribution to the Miller-Scott Organ in memory of John Scott, please visit this page.
The beginnings of a master carving by Dennis Collier of an upper-crest panel, featuring an eagle in flight, is featured in this month's images of the Miller-Scott Organ construction process. There's also a shot of one of the two ‘static reservoirs‘, located in the basement of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, which regulate the pressure supplied to the organ by the original 1913 blower. Next month we will see a finished panel and work being done on facade posts.
In this month's images chronicling progress on the Miller-Scott Organ, Dobson cabinetmaker Randy Hausman constructs the "impost", one of the main parts of the new organ case on which the largest front pipes stand. We also see one of the dozen-odd spires that will top the new Miller-Scott organ case. Here, Dobson’s base is married to the Colliers’ carved crockets.
Starting this fall we will be posting pictures each month of the carving progress and of work on the Miller-Scott Organ itself. These images are meant to provide a taste of what's going on in both the Dobson and Collier shops and will be archived on this page.
This month's images include work on one of the pipes of the Positive 4’ and an image of the John Scott crest. To access this month's pictures you can click or tap the blue button directly below.
There have been many exciting developments in the Miller-Scott Chancel Organ Project. On Sunday, May 31 at 12:45pm in Andrew Hall, the Rector and Kenneth Koen, Karl Saunders, John Scott, and project consultant Jonathan Ambrosino gave an update on the Miller-Scott Organ. Attendees also learned about the design of the new south case and saw pictures of the wood carvings of Dennis Collier, Sr. and Dennis Collier, Jr. Below please find links to the complete transcript and a photo gallery from a presentation given by Mr. Ambrosino.
This brief article features an overview of current Skinner IV/67 Opus 205 chancel organ and on outline of the preperatory work on the new Dobson Op 93, the installation of which will commence after Easter of 2017. The article may be read here. It begins on the right column of the page with the words: "Dobson Pipe Organ Builders Ltd".
Copyright 2014, by the American Guild of Organists.
Posted with permission of The American Organist magazine.
July 2014: Details and Specs Published by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders
The new 100-stop instrument, to be named “The Irene D. and William R. Miller Chancel Organ in Honor of Dr. John Scott,” has been designed to support choir, congregation and repertoire in fair balance. Across the chancel from Goodhue’s famous 1913 case will be introduced a second case of complementary design, enriched with significant carvings from Dennis Collier Sr. and Jr. and housing the Great and Positive divisions. The remaining departments will be sited within the present case and chambers. The elaborately carved 1913 console cabinet will remain in its present location, its exterior conserved, and its interior fitted with new components. Select registers from the existing organ will be retained, re-fashioned to suit the new scheme.
Read more and see the specifications on Dobson's site.
February 2014: Presentation to the Parish on the New Organ
On February 2 and February 12, 2014, John Scott, Karl Saunders, Kenneth Koen and project consultant Jonathan Ambrosino presented the parish with an overview of many exciting developments in the Chancel Organ Project. The gentlemen informed that parish that the Vestry has felt confident to move the project forward in three critical directions:
The first is signing a design contract with Dobson, to cover all the case design drawings and engineering of the organ. The images you’ve seen thus far in brochures and in the narthex were concept drawings, which enabled us to see how the organ would fit into the chancel, what it would look like in basic terms, and how many pipes would comfortably fit inside. But the actual construction drawings require hundreds of additional hours. Getting this work done now, which started last summer and is still ongoing, means that when we finally sign the contract for the organ itself, all of the engineering and design work will be finished, and construction can commence immediately. This will save many months of work at a critical juncture.
A second contract with Dobson is a schedule retainer, which guarantees Saint Thomas a spot in the Dobson production schedule. With a revival in the economy, business has picked up for Dobson, and they are now committed to three other projects before ours. We were concerned that when it came time to sign the actual construction contract, they might have signed more work, and we would have to wait even longer to get our organ. Given our confidence with recent fundraising success, and our optimism that there will be yet greater success on the fundraising front, the Vestry felt it was prudent to engage in the schedule retainer.
The third contract signed is with master woodcarvers Dennis Collier Sr and Jr. From the beginning, Lynn Dobson told us that a new organ case, placed alongside the artistic mastery of everything at Saint Thomas, would require carving of the finest available talent. We have been researching carvers for several years now, and when we met the Colliers and saw their work, we knew we’d found the right team. Since Lynn’s design work needed to unfold hand-in-hand with the people who would be doing the actual carving, having the Colliers on board early became a critical piece of completing the organ’s design and figuring a carving budget. Their initial contract covers design, tooling and the fabrication of several initial pieces that have also acted as studies.
Mr. Ambrosino then shared some images regarding the design process. The slides (accessible via the button below) show refinement in the case design and how elements derive from the building itself.
When the Colliers first came to Saint Thomas, they spent hours in silence, simply looking and touching the chancel woodwork, overcome with admiration for both the design and the craftsmanship. Lynn Dobson has spent now weeks studying, photographing and absorbing the art of Cram and Goodhue and their designers. These men understand that to build this new organ case is a once-in-a-lifetime artistic opportunity, in an atmosphere unmatched in the United States. Their awe and reverence is inspiring.
You may have heard about the possibility that some of our air rights will be sold for a development down 53rd Street. We are optimistic this development will move forward. However, by law, any funds from the sale of the air rights must be added to the endowment to maintain the building. Thus, the air rights proceeds cannot be used to fund the organ. So it remains critical that we get your help and that of others to make this project a reality.
To this end, we encourage everyone who is willing and able to donate to the Capital Campain. We are so grateful to everyone who participated in the Buy-a-Pipe Campaign during March-June 2014, which raised over $700,000. Even thought the Buy-a-Pipe Campagin has now ended, additional funds are needed to ensure the completion of the organ project. Please read more about the Capital Campaign and then consider donating online.
- June 2014: Buy-a-Pipe Challenge Has Been Met
- April 2014: New Organ Update and Buy-a-Pipe
- February 2014: Organ Project Developments
- May 2012: Appeal from Fr Mead
- May 2012: Appeal from John Scott
- September 2011: Organ Blower Update
- August 2011: Organ Blower Update
- Late June 2011: In the Wind...
- Early June 2011: Organ Blower Removed & Electronic Organ Installed
- March 2010: A Presentation to the Parish