About the Sanctuary Organ at First Baptist
The first organ housed in the present building of The First Baptist Church of Henderson was a 9-rank Austin organ installed in 1926 to coincide with the dedication of the sanctuary. By the late 1960’s, the growth of the First Baptist Music Ministry had exceeded the usefulness of such a small instrument. The installation of the present Möller organ was combined with renovation and expansion of the Sanctuary Chancel, completed in 1968. The resulting instrument was both eclectic and versatile, including an exposed German positiv, a motorized hydraulic lift for console maneuverability, and a high-pressure English Festival Trumpet. On October 31, 1999, the instrument was dedicated to the memory of the church’s long-time and beloved Organist and Music Associate Mary Lou Young, who served this congregation faithfully from 1959-1998.
The only additions made to the instrument over the next several decades were in the late 1970’s: at 32’ Untersatz resultant, a composed 32’ Reed Cornet, and a Zimbelstern. By the beginning of this decade however, deterioration in the organ’s original pneumatic switching system had progressed to a near-critical point. In late 2001, Minster of Music Phil Young and Associate Minister of Music Mark Hopper began to design a series of additions to the instrument, which, coupled with a control system renovation, would not only expand the capabilities of the organ in recital, but would open a new world of possibilities in service playing. This dream became reality in late 2003 with a generous gift from Hallie Frank Mills Pegram to underwrite the entire project.
The final design would address several deficiencies in the organ. The existing swell would be completed with a new 4’ principal and a full reed chorus at 16’, 8’, and 4’ pitch levels. A new expressive choir division would add many color and soft expressive stops. This division would be made up of antique pipework from several sources, including a french horn from the 1920 Æolian organ at Mt. Sinai Temple in Stamford, Connecticut, and an open wood flute from an 1892 organ. The great division would be expanded to include a reed chorus and a 16’ violone to round out the principal chorus. A contract was signed in March, 2004, with Grooms and Payne, Ltd., of Louisa, Virginia. Replacement of the control and console system took place during Lent, 2005. The reconfigured swell and choir divisions were installed in the fall of the same year, and additions to the great division were installed in spring, 2006. Final work on the instrument was completed in May, 2006.
FBC Henderson Organ Stoplist (pdf)
First Baptist Henderson also has a full complement of pianos. Children’s ensembles enjoy the 5’3” Boston grand in the Children’s Music Room. A 6’1” Boston grand serves both as the rehearsal instrument for the Adult Choir Room and as a performance instrument for the Clyde A. Jeffcoat Memorial Assembly Room. The Sanctuary houses a 7’ Baldwin grand given by the Wester family. The church has also preserved and maintained one of its original instruments, a 19th Century Knabe cabinet grand piano.
Worship is also enhanced by a Zuckermann kit harpsichord, built in 1972 by First Baptist’s long-time Minister of Music Philip M. Young.