The chancel organ of Saint Thomas Church is found within the oak casework behind the pulpit, inside the three gothic-arched chambers, and upon the canopy tops flanking the choir stalls. The instrument contains 112 stops, 161 sets of pipes (“ranks”) and 8,389 individual pipes.
The organ is primarily the work of Gilbert Adams, carried out between 1964 and 1969. Since that time, Robert Turner and Lawrence Trupiano have undertaken further modifications. Mr Adams’ work was a transformation of the church’s 1956 Aeolian-Skinner organ, designed by William Self and G. Donald Harrison. In turn, the 1956 instrument reworked the building’s first organ, constructed by the Ernest M Skinner Company of Boston in 1913, revised by the Skinner Organ Company in 1925, ’26 and ’27, and again by Ernest M. Skinner and M.P. Möller in 1948. In 1956 the organ was dedicated as the Arents Memorial Organ, given by George Arents in memory of his wife.
Of the current organ’s 112 stops, 40 remain present and unaltered from the 1956 Aeolian-Skinner, only two from the 1913 Skinner. Mechanically, the Adams work included replacement of all but one manual windchest as well as much of the wind system. The instrument’s tonal design is notable for including the characteristic colors necessary for the French school, from baroque to modern masters. Consisting of six divisions, the instrument also features a Trompette-en-Chamade under the rose window over the Fifth Avenue entrance. The organ console is hidden from view in the lefthand choir stalls.
In June 2016, the Arents Organ will be removed to make way for the 102-stop Miller-Scott organ, currently under construction by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders. Please read more about this project and how you can contribute to this exciting new organ, which will stand as a memorial to our beloved late organist and choirmaster John Scott and longtime Saint Thomas music devotee Irene Miller.
In the spring of 1996 the gallery instrument was dedicated as the Loening-Hancock Organ. The firm of Taylor & Boody of Staunton, Virginia built the instrument which contains twenty-one stops over two manuals and a pedal. The instrument is inspried by the tradition of organ building which was active in the Netherlands and North Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Stop and key action are mechanical and the temperament is Kellner.
The Martha J. Dodge Continuo Organ was built and initiated in December, 2001. This superb portative instrument, consisting of 4 ranks and pipes, was built by the firm of Taylor & Boody.