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Riverside Presbyterian

Jacksonville, FL
III Manual Customer Drawknob Console
143 Stop Controls
31 Couplers
105 Ranks

This stunning installation is the result of a strong cooperation between the church, the organ consultant and ourselves. The previous Moller installation was viturally unservicable due to the split chancel placement in a design that did not consider long term service. When the windchests came due for releathering, the organ maintenance man said that it was nearly impossible to complete and they would be much better off considering the replacement of the instrument. This began a multi-year journey of seeking a solution as well as a builder to execute the plan.

R.A. Colby was chosen from a field of five builders to be contracted for the installation of an instrument that would provide mechanical reliability, tonal variety and superb quality. The first and foremost consideration was to get proper egress of harmonically balanced sound into the room without forcing the pipework to "overspeak" in the chancel. We immediatly recommended that the Great division be brought out from the chamber and placed on the main axis of the room. There it would be allowed to speak freely and sing into the room. This initially met with some resistance due to perceived interference with the chancel stained glass window which is a focal point of the church. The final, simple design of the Great organ provided a complement to the window and enchanced the chancel area itself. The carved case was in keeping with the balance of details in the chancel. With this bridge crossed, we were next asked "what would be the best stop we could add to the organ that you have not already included." Our answer was a challenging statement, "access to the room."

At the time, the organ chambers were still speaking only into the chancel area and we explained that this was an extremely difficult scenario to offer a balanced instrument to both the Choir and the congregation. Our suggestion was that the chambers be opened on the front as well as the sides to speak direclty into the Nave. While the logic was understood, that fact that this was a 10" thick brick and block bearing wall posed a major concern. With the help of a member who was part of an architectural and construction firm, the option was explored in depth. The research indicated that this could be done on both sides of the chancel but with a rather substantial cost estimate. The committe chair was committed to making this the best possible installation and managed to move forward with the opening of the walls. Fortunately, the cost came in under the estimate and the end result was an immeasurable improvement in the presence of the instrument. The opening of the walls now allows the organ to properly, "surround" the congregation in the nave.

The organ was also designed with independent tonal and mechanical "levels" to allow for ease of service. This not only provides for keeping mechanical noise to a minimum, it also allows quality service in the future. It dramatically reduces the cost of future service as all components of the instrument are very easily accessible.

The tonal result in the room is excellent and we invite you to visit Riverside and play this wonderful instrument.

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