A Little History…
January 1983-1984: Long-Range Planning Committee recommended the renovation of the sanctuary and repair of the organ.
May 1989: “A Celebration of Ascension” requiem service raised questions about the reliability of the pipe organ installed in 1969. Dean James G. Allen began a campaign to replace the organ which led to discussions of sanctuary renovation.
February 1990: Administrative Council appointed a special committee to study the organ project and interview architects to design a new sanctuary.
Spring 1990: Various organ builders visited Saint John’s.
July 1990: Richard Boner, Austin acoustician analyzed Saint John’s acoustical problems. Holtkamp Organ Company was recommended as builder for project. Joe McKay was contracted as architect.
August 3, 1990: McKay, Holtkamp and Boner met with the special committee and members of the Administrative Council.
September 1990: Various all-church information and discussion meetings. Building Committee assumed steering of project.
October 21, 1990: renovation of Sanctuary and purchase of the Holtkamp approved in Church Conference.
January 20, 1991: Financial plan approved in Church Conference.
February 13, 1991: Ash Wednesday, last service in old sanctuary.
February 14, 1991: Knox, gailey & Meador, general contractor, began demolition.
May 19, 1991: Pentecost, first service in the renovated sanctuary.
May 2, 1991: Holtkamp Organ Company began installation.
June 30, 1991: Independence Sunday, first service with the Memorial Organ.
The Holtkamp Organ Company is the oldest pipe organ firm currently active in the United States, having begun as G.F. Votteler and Company in 1855 and operated continuously since that time. Through two generations of Vottelers and four generations of Holtkamps this small Cleveland firm has been known for high quality in both workmanship and tonal integrity.
The St. John’s Memorial Organ was designed specifically for the church by organist Dr. Wayne Hobbs, Walter Holtkamp, Jr., president of the company and his son, F. Christian Holtkamp. Installation was headed by crew chief and master carpenter, John York; the instrument was voiced by Michael Shofar. It has 2,357 individual pipes (45 ranks), 33 stops, three manuals (keyboards), mechanical key action, electric stop action and solid state combination action. Both the swell and the choir are under expression. It was the cover instrument for the September, 1991 issue of The American Organist.