Church Works Seven Years To Purchase New Pipe Organ

Patrick A. Scott will perform on the new pipe organ in May. (Photo: Bianca R. Montes)

The call to worship is sounding a bit sweeter at Royal Lane Baptist Church.

“We had our first meeting seven years ago,” music director Harry Wooten said about plans for the church to purchase a new pipe organ. At the time, he said the house of worship had an old pipe organ that was in disrepair.

The final pledge was paid off a few months ago., marking the actual ownership of the instrument The grassroots-like effort included 175 individual donors.

The church has planned a May concert to celebrate and dedicate the pipe organ.

Patrick A. Scott, the assistant organist-choirmaster at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Philip in Atlanta will perform.

The new pipe organ is about twice the size of the former one. The main windchests are installed one above the other to take advantage of the ceiling height – and a towering trumpet climbs the back wall of the building.

Harry Wooten stands among thousands of pipes. (Photo: Bianca R. Montes)

Built by Dan Garland, of Fort Worth, the pipe organ incorporates 50 ranks of pipework – some new, some completely revoiced, and some rescaled – and seven digital voices. At Royal Lane, with small chambers, there was no possibility of installing pipework in place of the digital voices. The builder said the voices greatly enhance the tonal ensemble adding to the excitement and flexibility of the instrument.

“I love that they took such care for this to be perfect, and no one ever sees it,” Wooten said as he walked through the church’s small chambers, pointing to the thousands of pipes that filled the space.

For example, Wooten pointed to some vintage pipework reclaimed from old churches.

“While searching, I found this set of pipes that had been in storage for decades,” Garland, the builder said. “The pipework was built by Hook and Hastings in 1915 for First Christian Church in Fort Worth.

“After listening to these pipes in the voicing room in our shop, we realized they were simply extraordinary. The tone produced by this pipework truly sounded like an orchestral flute.”

Other pipework dates back to an organ that was dismantled in the 1920s from East Dallas Munger Place.

Wooten, who calls the pipe organ an integral part of worship at Royal Lane, said he is very pleased with the end result.

“This is our call. This is our purpose,” Garland said about the construction. “We feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to build such an instrument.”


IF YOU GO:

What: Pipe Organ Dedication
When: 7:30pm, May 8
Where: Royal Lane Baptist Church

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Preston Hollow People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.