Music at Christ Church
John Brombaugh & Associates Pipe Organ, 1979; enlarged 1989 Christ Church, Episcopal, Tacoma, WA.
On October 19, 1979, our magnificent hand-crafted pipe organ was dedicated during a festival Eucharist. Through the vision of church leaders and Director of Music Ministries, David P. Dahl, the instrument was commissioned from the renowned American organ builder, John Brombaugh & Associates of Eugene, Oregon.
Built with mechanical key action in the great historic tradition of liturgical instruments, the Brombaugh organ, Opus No. 22, is based on models from Europe's golden age of organ building in the 17th and 18th centuries. The organ is housed in a free-standing case made from hand-planed white oak and western cedar and is adorned with hand carved pipe shades of yellow cedar.
The case design is a modern adaptation of the famed 1483 organ by Lorenzo di Giacomo da Prato that is still playing in the church of San Petronio in Bologna, Italy. The keyboards, made from bone and ebony, are connected to the valves (pallets) under the pipes by slender wooden "trackers;" this provides a direct and sensitive control over the key action for the performer. A single wedge-shaped bellows, located at the side of the organ, supplies a traditional flexible, "living" resilient wind. The only electricity needed for the organ is for the small blower and light bulbs illuminating the music desk.
The organ is voiced with a vocale tonal ideal, in which both blend and tonal color are optimally realized in a vocal manner. This is accomplished in part by using hammered high lead content pipework as found in historic organs. In 1989 the organ was enlarged with new "string" pipes (The Erzähler 8' + Erzähler Celeste) as well as a full-length Posaune 16' (Trombone) in the pedal, replacing a cylindrical-resonator Fagott 16'.
Since its installation, more than 150 organ recitals have been performed on the organ by local, national, and international artists. Begun in 2001, Third Fridays at Noon is a year-around organ recital series that features monthly 40-minute programs. A major organ recital is also presented each year as part of Music at Christ Church, our annual concert series. The Brombaugh organ has been featured in national and regional conventions of The American Guild of Organists, The Organ Historical Society, The American Institute of Organ Builders, and the Westfield Center.
Christ Church welcomes visitors to the organ. Please contact the parish administrator (253 383 1569) to arrange a visit.