Garland Pipe Organs



Dan Garland, President & Tonal Director


Builder’s Notes on Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas

Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church is located in a residential area in north Dallas. The building was completed in the mid 1980’s and in the Sanctuary Chancel space was designed and available for a free standing pipe organ. Upon completion the church had used a four rank instrument placed in this large area intended for a moderate sized pipe organ. The interior of the Sanctuary is extremely attractive with excellent design features and a great amount of natural light. The architects are to be commended for designing such a fresh and attractive room. There were many elements within the room to influence the design of the free standing pipe organ. We commissioned Mr. Frank Friemel to design the case exterior. I consider Frank to be one of the best designers in the country. Dan Garland completed the interior design and layout of the instrument.

The organ committee asked that we design an instrument of approximately forty five ranks in four divisions. This was a challenge given the space available. One other challenge was the fact that the Chancel Choir seating would back up to the base of the organ case. Although the height of the organ area was correct in relation to the size of the room it was not high enough to have three divisions in the upper case above the back row of the choir. The decision was made to place the Choir division at the base of the case speaking through walnut grills behind the choir and then place the Great and Swell above the Choir division side by side. A majority of the Pedal 16’ Violone and 8’ Octave are in the facade. The actual pipework begins above the heads of the back row of the choir.

This instrument is unusual in that all three divisions, Swell, Great, and Choir are expressive. The only stops that are not expressive are the 16’ Violone 1-73 and the 8’ Pedal Octave 1-61. Pipework from these stops that is not in the facade (upper portion) are painted black and placed directly behind the Choir walnut grills directly in front of the Choir expression shutters. Both stops play in the Pedal and Great. The primary reason the Great is expressive was due to the fact that the high pressure Hooded Tuba would have to be in the Great instead of the expressive Choir division. We always place loud solo Tubas and other such stops in an expressive division to give the organist more control over volume. If the Tuba had been placed in the Choir division it would be speaking directly into the singers on the back row of the choir. It is a stop that is on 15” of wind and becomes harmonic at C13. It is extremely powerful and needed to be placed where it would not speak close to human ears. It has sufficient volume to speak over full organ. The expression boxes in this instrument are constructed of 1” MDF and the expression shutters are 2” thick. With the Great shutters closed this powerful stop sounds like a small Trumpet. Although it is rare to have an expressive Great division it adds one more dimension to the flexibility of the instrument. The shutters open to a full 90 degrees so the projection of the Great chorus is not affected by the existence of the shutters.

I would describe this instrument as being American eclectic leaning toward English. The Tuba, Swell, and Great Trumpets all have English shallots. The reeds are strong and powerful and balance well with the other choruses of the instrument. The Oboe in the Swell is capped and sounds much like an Orchestral Oboe.

The Clarinet is pure American. The instrument has two Cornets, Swell and Choir. The Choir is similar to a Sesquialtera in that the pipework is not tapered and is gentle in nature. The Swell cornet incorporates large scale tapered pipework and produces a wonderful hollow timbre. It is significantly louder than the Choir cornet. Both the Great and Swell have a complete Principal chorus. The Great has a variety of flutes including a bold large scale Harmonic Flute. This powerful stop is designed to be a solo flute to be heard above other ensembles. The Choir is home for two unusual stops, a Doppelflute and a Concert Flute. The Wood Concert Flute was built by Pilcher becoming harmonic at G32. All who hear this extraordinary stop say it is the closest match to an Orchestral Flute that they have ever heard in a pipe organ. It was actually one rank of a set of Flute Celestes. Both ranks were identical. These were built long before Ernest Skinner invented what we now call Flauto Dolces or Flute Celestes.

The instrument has a dramatic effect in the room positioned front and center and speaking directly down the axis of the Nave. The drop sill four manual console is prepared for a Gallery division which will be home on the fourth keyboard. At present the top keyboard serves as a Solo division utilizing stops from all divisions. This arrangement allow the organist great flexibility in regard to registration. This is an instrument that is exciting to see and hear. CD’s of this instrument are available through our office.

— Dan Garland
(also see stoplist)