St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.

Schlicker Organ at St. John's

Organ 1.jpg

A new organ was installed as part of a major renovation in 1997. An interesting account of what went into the organ design follows:

Features of the Organ

  • Pipes in free standing ornamented wooden casework designed to match the reredos.
  • Movable three manual console with draw knob stops and a digital stop read out 
  • Electric slider chests 
  • Four divisions: Great (divided), Swell, Positiv, and Pedal 
  • Fifty-four Ranks 
  • Fifty-seven Stops 
  • Forty-two Registers 
  • Three thousand and fifteen Pipes 
  • MIDI capabilities and interface connections 
  • Trompette en Chamade (horizontal trumpet pipes) in the organ façade 
  • Zimbelstern (bell star) in the organ façade 

Two special needs that the organ was designed to address were:

  • The need for varied and effective accompaniment of choirs.
    This is accomplished by having both the Swell Division and a portion of the Great "under expression". This allows for a change of dynamics on a greater number of stops or "tone colors" that can then be used for accompanying. 
  • The need for solid congregational support for hymns and liturgy. 
    This is achieved by placing one division of the organ actually on the balcony rail. This division, the Positiv, has the lighter sounds of the organ in it along with some very clear solo stops. Placing this division close to the congregation – almost in the midst of the assembly – puts it where it can do the most good in supporting hymn singing.
Organ 4.jpg

The tonal design of the instrument is closely based on the fine specifications submitted by the organ consultant, Mr. Scott Reidel. This specification, along with careful consideration of information gathered from on site visits and discussions, are the foundations of the design concepts constructed in the St. John’s pipe organ.

The physical surroundings of the organ, and the position of the organ in the balcony made it clear that a balcony rail, or "Rück" position for the Positiv division is absolutely essential for clarity and immediacy of sound required for effective leadership of congregational singing. While this division faces forward, its position on the rail will materially aid in leading that part of the congregation seated in the rather large area under the balcony. The physical arrangement of the balcony permitted this division to be placed quite low in relation to the balcony floor and risers, thus minimizing any blockage of view. The Great and Swell occupy the main case, and the large pedal pipes occupy their space along the main case.

This location of both cases also recreates the very audible spatial relationship between the Positiv and the Great that is common to many historical styles of organ building.

Organ 2.jpg

Mr. Reidel’s suggested enclosure of selected Great stops within their own swell box has great musical validity, and this will greatly enhance the tonal flexibility of the organ. We constructed these stops with their own chests, the Great is treated as Great I (unenclosed) and Great II (enclosed, with Great II having its own special couplers. This allows the enclosed Great II to be played from the Positiv, much in the manner of a traditional American Choir division, allowing greater dynamic flexibility for accompaniment purposes. This arrangement and the additional couplers associated with the divided Great, makes available some very interesting uses for this division.

The design, prepared by the engineering department specifically for St. John’s is a rather exuberant, gothic-inspired design incorporating traditional moldings, crowns and pointed towers projecting from the case front. It forms a very dynamic, vertically oriented composition, yet close examination will reveal that many shapes in the pipe shades and also in the decoration of the case posts are drawn directly from the altar reredos.

Organ 3.jpg

The three manual console is a typical English drawknob console. The case is made of red oak, and the interior woodwork is hand rubbed black walnut. The Manual keyboards are covered with bone and ebony. The pedal keys are rock maple and walnut, and drawknobs are cocobolo. These types of consoles have won critical praise for their comfort, solidity, reliability and flawless joinery.

Stoplist

Great

1

2

3

4

5

6

Great

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Swell

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

Positiv

32

33

34

35

36

37

38

39

40

41

Trompeta

42

43

44

Pedal

45

46

47

48

49

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

I

8'

4'

2 2/3

2'

IV

8'

II

16'

8'

8'

8'

8'

4'

16'

16'

8'

8'

8'

8'

4'

4'

2 2/3'

2'

1 3/5'

IV

16'

8'

8'

4'

8'

8'

4'

4'

2'

1 1/3'

II

III

8'

16'

8'

4'

32'

16'

16'

16'

16'

8'

8'

8'

4'

4'

IV

32'

16'

16'

8'

4'

Manual II

Principal

Octave

Quint

Super Octave

Mixture

Trumpet

Manual II - enclosed

Gemshorn

Hohllflöte

Viloa

Flute Celeste TC

Gemshorn

Sptizflöte

Dulzian

Chimes

Zimbelstern

Manual II

Bourdon

Geignen Principal

Rohrflöte

Gamba

Celeste

Principal

Nachthorn

Nasard

Doublet

Tierce

Sharf

Fagott

Trompette

Oboe

Clarion

Tremolo

Manual I

Paestant

Gedeckt

Octave

Koppelflöte

Gemshorn

Larigot

Sesquialtera

Zimbel

Krummhorn

Tremolo

Floating

Trompette en Chamade

Trompette en Chamade

Trompette en Chamade

Resultant

Principal

Subbass

Gemshorn

Bourdon

Octave

Bourdon

Gemshorn

Octave

Rohrflöte

Mixture

Contra Bassoon

Posaune

Bassoon

Trumpet

Clarion

Pipes

61

61

61

122

244

61


61

61

61

49

12

61

61

12 ext. #18

61

61

61

49

61

61

61

61

61

244

61

61

61

61

Pipes

61

61

61

61

61

61

122

183

61

--from #43

61

12 ext. #43

---

12 ext. Pedal #50

32

--- from Great #1

--- from Swell #16

32

12 ext. Pedal #47

--- from Great #1

32

--- from Swell #16

122

12 ext. Swell 27

32

--- from Swell #27

12 ext. Pedal #57

Couplers

  • Swell to Great Sub
  • Swell to Great Unison
  • Swell to Great Super
  • Positiv to Great Unison
  • Great II Unison Off
  • Great II to Great Super
  • Trompeta on Great
  • MIDI on Great
  • Swell to Swell Sub
  • Swell Unison Off
  • Swell to Swell Super
  • Trompeta on Swell
  • MIDI on Swell
  • Swell to Positiv Sub
  • Swell to Positiv Unison
  • Swell to Posiitv Super
  • Great II to Positiv Unison
  • Great II to Positiv Super
  • Trompeta to Positiv
  • MIDI on Positiv
  • Great I to Pedal
  • Great II to Pedal
  • Swell to Pedal
  • Positiv to Pedal
  • Trompeta on Pedal
  • MIDI on Pedal

Mechanicals and Accessories

  1. Three Manual and pedal all-electric drawknob console
  2. Simulated "tracker touch" applied to manual keyboards
  3. Glass music rack with light
  4. Pedal keyboard light
  5. Bench with backrest and blocks for height adjustment
  6. Organ-On indicator light
  7. Full organ indicator light
  8. Balanced adjustable Cresendo Pedal

Combined Action

Great

Swell

Positiv

Pedal

General

General Cancel

Great to Pedal Reversible

Swell to Pedal Reversible

Positiv to Pedal Reversible

Zimbelstem Reversible

Setter

Full Organ Reversible

Eight Levels of Memory

1-2-3-4-5-6

1-2-3-4-5-6

1-2-3-4-5-6

1-2-3-4-5-6

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

Thumb Pistons

Thumb Pistons

Thumb Pistons

Toe Studs

Thumb & Toe

Thumb Pistons

Thumb & Toe

Thumb & Toe

Thumb & Toe

Toe Stud

Thumb Pistons

Thumb & Toe

Thumb & Toe

Organ 5.jpg

Schlicker Organ Company

The Schlicker Organ Company was founded in 1930 by Herman L. Schlicker, a third generation organ builder, who apprenticed with firms in Germany, France and Denmark before emigrating to America in the late 1920’s.

During this period of apprenticeship, the organ building world was undergoing a reexamination of itself and how the organ could best function in a modern liturgical setting. This was the infancy of a world-wide trend in organ building that has come to be referred to as the "Organ Reform Movement". Herman Schlicker took the ideals of the this movement and began building instruments in America. Since its inception, the artistic direction of the company has continually evolved to what we presently term "American Eclecticism." This, an enlightened approach, with genuine musical integrity, is no small part due to the growth of interest in, and appreciation for the music of all historic and modern periods as valid portions of the organ’s literature.

Herman Schlicker always strove to train organ builders with an overall understanding of the total art-craft of organ building rather than be content with factory workers who knew little their art. Long after Mr. Schlicker’s death in 1974, this team effort of artisans and craftsmen continues in the building of each instrument.

Today, 24 dedicated craftsmen, with a total of over 500 years experience, make up the staff of the Schlicker Organ Company, each working in the area of their specialty, yet they enjoy an open shop environment where each employee frequently works in other areas as the need arises.

There are over 900 Schlicker organs in use in churches, concert halls and residences throughout North America and numerous others restored by the Schlicker Co., or that draw their character from the use of historic materials. Careful attention to even the smallest of the vast number of details to be considered in either new construction or restoration of a historic instrument has solidly placed the company in the top percentage of American organ builders in terms of design, construction and tonal quality. This standard of quality is a hallmark of every organ built by the Schlicker Company.

 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America