Garland Pipe Organs



Dan Garland, President & Tonal Director


Builder’s Notes on West University United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas

West University church was built in the mid 50’s as a neighborhood church in an area of Houston that was and is to this day vibrant and active. The Sanctuary seats approximately 600 and incorporates the typical Colonial design. The organ and choir are in the Chancel with the choir speaking directly toward the Nave and the organ located on both sides of the choir. The building was designed and built for an electronic organ with no provisions made for a pipe organ. As part of a major renovation of the Sanctuary the decision was made to purchase a new pipe organ. The church entered into a Contract with my firm to build and install a new instrument.

This project was like building a ship in a bottle. The chambers are extremely small having been designed for speakers. Additional floor space was not available so the only modification completed to the chambers was to raise the ceiling to eight feet. New casework was placed in front of each chamber housing part of the 8’ Principal from the Great and Pedal 8’ Octave. As one is facing the Chancel the Great is on the right and Swell on the left. The Great Principal chorus is installed unenclosed directly behind the Great facade with the remaining Great stops placed in an expressive chamber. The entire Swell division is expressive.

The three manual drawknob console is located near the Great division. The Choir division is derived from the Great and Swell. This was included to increase the flexibility of the instrument.
The console is in a shallow pit containing a hydraulic lift. When desired the console can be raised up to the floor level and is moveable within the Chancel area. The action of the instrument is electro-mechanical with large Pedal pipes being electro-pneumatic.

Included in the Great division is an 8’ Hooded Tuba. This is a powerful stop playing on 10” wind pressure. Being located in the Great expressive division it also serves as an ensemble reed.
Also in the expressive Great division is an 8’ Doppelflute. This stop works well as a solo flute played with various ensembles.

As part of the renovation the acoustic of the room was greatly improved. Even though this is not a large instrument the ensemble whether loud or quiet works well as a service and recital instrument.

— Dan Garland
(also see stoplist)