St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Washington & Poplar Sts.
Newport, RI 02840 US
Organ ID: 7919
The 2008 console was not built to AGO specs and was uncomfortable for tall organists, plus the electronic control system was notoriously unreliable. In March 2020, a new console built to AGO specifications by J. Zamberlan & Co. was installed, with on-site wiring of the new Solid State Organ Systems combination action and control system by Richard Houghten. Replacement of the chronically unreliable control system was a long time coming. The new console was designed by the church's Director of Music, Peter Stolzfuss-Berton and has an expanded compliment of stops to cover the planned addition of digital voices and an antiphonal division. The new compliment of combination pistons, reversibles, and control accessories is extensive. The Odell console was sold to a private individual and is planned to become part of an in-home Hauptwerk digital practice machine. The new console is on a raised platform which can be moved forward and back for service access. The 2008 console was placed in the same position as the 1934 Hook drawknob console at the altar end of the rear row of choir pews, but the new console was placed at the nave end of the same row, allowing choristers to turn towards the congregation in order to see the director-organist, rather than away from them and facing towards the altar.
Updated by Scot Huntington, the builder. This is believed to be the last project H&H completed before closing their doors. The quality of the electrification and rebuilding was marginal at best. By the late 1990s the console had almost completely failed, and was ultimately replaced with a new solid-state console having terraced jambs by JH & CS Odell, with an Artisan solid-state system. Odell also replaced the original 1894 pedal chest which contained the Bourdon 16' and Violoncello 8'. Hook & Hastings installed a Spencer blower in 1934. Also in 1934, Hook & Hastings replaced the entire wind system, removing the large double-rise reservoir (feeders were originally powered by a water motor) with multiple reservoirs, including several operating on a higher blower static pressure which powered the new pneumatic pulldown and stop action machines. H&H added an orchestral Gamba to the Great and Swell Vox Humana on unit chests, a unit chest holding super octave extensions for all the Swell stops, and several unit offset chests for extending the pedal pipework. The bottom 18-notes of the Great Trumpet were moved to a unit chest and expanded with a 12-note 16-foot extension to create the Pedal Trombone 16'. At some point after I examined the organ in 1997, the 16' octave was acquired by Paul Delisle, and following his untimely death, sold through an estate auction. Fifteen years later, through a circuitous set of circumstances, the provenance of the pipes was recently identified, and acquired by the church for eventual restoration and reinstallation.
The new 1934 drawknob console had 61-note manuals in spite of the original chests having 58-note compass. The pipe decoration of both the chancel and nave facades is extant- the decoration of the nave-facing facade (Violoncello basses) was restored by Odell. The 2008 console stopjambs were replaced by Dick Houghten in 2014, making preparations for the addition of an antiphonal division.
In the Spring of 2016, S.L. Huntington & Co. of Stonington, Connecticut rebuilt the Swell pulldown machine. In 2017, the windchests are badly in need of restoration and the pneumatic mechanisms are becoming unreliable.
Updated by Scot Huntington, the builder.
In the 1960s, the church's organist repitched the Swell Oboe to 4' and the basses were tossed into the cellar. The Great Mixture was recomposed higher, removing the Tierce pitch but reusing the pipes along with spurious fill pipes to complete the composition.
In the Fall of 2015, S.L. Huntington & Co. of Stonington, Connecticut restored the Oboe to 8-foot pitch. The bass octave was so severely damaged as to be practically unusable, but the resonators were well restored by Trivo.
Updated through on-line information from Edward Odell. -- Organ is tonally extant and currently receiving ongoing restorative work. New console specifically designed by J.H. & C.S. Odell to match existing sanctuary appointments.
Status Note: There 1996.
The church previously had Hook & Hastings Op. 1075, 1882 (2-man., 18-reg) which went to Trinity Episcopal in Newport, RI., then St. Mary's Episocpal in Portsmouth, RI. Then Hook & Hastings Op. 1611, 1894 (2-man., 30-reg) was installed.
Chamber facade: Photograph by J.H. & C.S. Odell Co., submitted by Jim Stettner. Taken approx. ca. 2008
New Odell console: Photograph by J.H. & C.S. Odell Co., submitted by Jim Stettner. Taken approx. ca. 2008