Pepper’s own Rocco Richardson had a chance to speak to Scott Fredericks, minister of music at St. Matthew Lutheran about their famous Austin organ, the eighth largest organ in the world. Enjoy!
The first time I was in the presence of the Austin Organ at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, I was taken aback by the sound and the size of this magnificent instrument. It was January of 2010 and I was recording the Music in the Valley reading session, an annual event presented by J.W. Pepper, Hal Leonard and Shawnee Press. Hearing the sound of this organ fill up the nave of the church and seeing how it called the many attendees of the event to rise up and sing was awe inspiring. It was this inspiration that led me to find out more about this great instrument, and the history it unveiled was as amazing as the instrument itself.
To our surprise and delight, when we approached Scott Fredericks, the minister of music at St. Matthew about featuring this organ, he informed us that the organ is undergoing a 1.3 million dollar renovation, which includes an entirely new console as well as new pipes, wires, and add-ons. The renovation is being handled by the original installers, Austin Organs, Inc.
The organ was built in 1924 to be part of the structure of the St. Matthew Lutheran Church. It is currently the eighth largest playable pipe organ in the world. However, after this renovation that ranking may change. At the time of our interview, the organ had 14,341 pipes, with 231 ranks of pipes making up its instrument pallet.
Mrs. Clara Glatfelter Moul paid for the original 5000-pipe organ, as well as all the enlargements and upkeep until this renovation. When Mr. Fredericks needed funds to renovate this instrument, those who have been inspired by this wonderful organ answered the call. The parishioners of the church have donated and raised 100% of the money needed for the renovation. Even some of the children of the church donated a quarter or anything they had, just so they could be a part of it. It truly speaks to the power of this instrument and the importance it plays in the lives of the people of Hanover, whether they attend St. Matthew or just live in the area, as the organ can be heard across the town when it is played through the church tower.
J.W. Pepper is proud to showcase this national treasure. It is truly one of the most magnificent instruments in the entire world, well worth taking the time to experience in person. For now, however, please enjoy our video showcasing a taste of the splendor this organ has to offer.