Garland Pipe Organs



Dan Garland, President & Tonal Director


Builder’s Notes on University Christian Church, Austin, Texas

University Christian Church is located on the campus of the University of Texas. The exterior of this building blends well with that of the University. The building was built in the mid 50’s with the assumption that they would always have an electronic organ. Both the choir and organ are located in the Chancel. The choir faces straight toward the Nave and the electronic organ speakers were in small rooms above the choir. There were no organ chambers and no space for a free standing instrument. When we were invited to submit a proposal for a new pipe organ I visited the facility and quickly realized that this was going to be a challenging instrument to design, build, and install. After close examination I found that the small electronic speaker rooms directly above the choir and baptismal were actually divided horizontally by a concrete floor. The lower area was accessible from a hallway directly behind the Chancel on the second floor and the upper from the third floor. We made the decision to have this floor removed thus creating an organ chamber approximately 6’ deep and 20’ wide and 20’ tall. With the instrument installed in this chamber it would have excellent tonal egress to the Sanctuary.

Due to the shallow depth of the chamber it made it necessary to install the instrument on two levels. As you are facing the organ chamber the Great Principal chorus is lower left and the Great flutes and Hooded Tuba are installed directly above. The Swell enclosure is on the right side with the Principal chorus and reeds on the lower level (same level as the lower Great) and the flutes, strings, and Vox Humana on the upper level. My reason for this layout was to keep the primary stops from the Great and Swell on the same level to ensure cohesive tuning. The Pedal 16’ Bourdon is installed on a concrete ledge even higher than the upper Swell or Great.

New casework was designed to match architectural elements within the Sanctuary. These cases contain a portion of the Great 8’ Principal and the Pedal 8’ Octave. The action is electro-mechanical with the exception of the large pedal pipes which use electro-pneumatic windchests. There is a complete Principal chorus in both the Swell and Great as well as various flutes, mutations, and strings. The instrument contains an unenclosed English Hooded Tuba installed high above the upper Great which in turn places it at the very top of the tone opening into the Chancel. The three manual drawknob console is moveable within the Chancel area. The Choir division is derived from other divisions containing mainly ranks that would be useful as solo stops. All the string stops are also duplicated in the Choir division. This is really a large two manual organ playing on a three manual console. This arrangement is extremely helpful in regard to ease of registration and makes this thirty rank instrument flexible for the player.

The Great contains an 8’ Doppelflute which is of sufficient volume to play above other ensembles. Dr. George Baker played the dedication recital to a full house. After the recital a well known organist asked me how do we make a 30 rank organ sound like 60. My answer was shallow chambers and generous scaling. Although smaller than our instrument at University Presbyterian in Austin it has been well received and is a significant addition to the musical community in Austin.

— Dan Garland
(also see stoplist)