Instruments at Ascension
The Martin Pasi Organ, Opus 16
Pasi Organbuilders, Inc., is located south of Seattle in Roy, Washington. The firm specializes in building fine mechanical action organs and restoration of historic instruments. Martin Pasi oversees all phases of building his organs, including design, manufacturing, voicing and installation. All components of the instruments are built in his shop. Working with a small group of fine craftsmen, the shop builds one organ at a time, crafted by hand from natural materials using reliable and historical organ building methods.
Opus 16 from the Pasi workshop, has two manuals (keyboards) and a pedal keyboard controlling 21 stops. The lower manual is referred to as the Great and the upper manual called the Swell. The Great has ten stops: Bourdon 16, Principal 8, Suavial 8, Rohrfloete 8, Octave 4, Spitzfloete 4, Quint 3. Octave 2, Tierce 1 3/5 and Mixture IV. The Suavial is a celesting Principal stop, used only with the Principal 8, to produce a beautiful singing quality.
The Swell organ is located behind the Great and is “enclosed” by “shutters” or “shades”, that open and close by means of a “swell pedal”, thus allowing the organist to change the volume of the sound. The Swell consists of seven stops: Gamba 8, Celeste 8, Bourdon 8, Principal 4, Gemshorn 2, Bassoon 16 and Trumpet 8.
The Pedal controls four stops, two which are transmitted from the Swell and two from the Great. The transmissions allow the versatility of an independent pedal division although space limitations precluded inclusion of separate ranks.
The free standing casework is constructed of old-growth Douglas fir, which has been hand rubbed and oiled to harmonize with other woods found in the church. Pipes for the façade of the organ are made from a 97 percent lead-tin alloy and the wooden pipes from Tulip Tree. The wind system is by an electric blower and wedge shaped bellows.
Other materials used in the construction of the organ include Maple and Rosewood for the Pedalboard, Butternut for the hand-carved pipe shades, Cocobolo wood for the music desk. Other woods include Rosewood, Maple, Sapele, Tulip Tree, Redwood, Noble Fir, Walnut, Sugar Pine and Hornbeam. Finally there is Ebony for the stop knobs with handwritten scripts on glazed porcelain and also Ebony inlay set in the manual key cheeks.
The Hand-carved pipe shades include symbols representing our worship tradition. Facing the organ and “reading” from the left to the right-hand upper portions of the case the following images can be found: the Greek letters Alpha (the beginning) and Omega (the end), a lamb with a staff representing the Good Shepherd, grapes, a dove representing the Holy Spirit; and even a musical pig playing a harp – the logo of the Ascension’s annual Boar’s Head Festival. The shades on the lower portion of the façade have a shell on the left, a symbol for baptism and on the right there is a chalice, symbolizing the common cup we share in the Eucharist.
The Great Principal 8 pipes speak from the façade of the organ. They are placed in front of the windchest due to their size and tonal importance, in addition to establishing the architectural design for the remaining organ pipes behind. Within the case the pipework stands upon the windchest which is connected to the manuals and pedalboard by a completely mechanical means known as tracker action. The wooden strips called “trackers” connect each key to a “roller” on the rollerboard, thus transmitting vertical motion to lateral, and consequently connecting the key to the correct pallet (pipe valve) within the windchest. Stopknobs placed adjacent to the keydesk (console) are also mechanically activated and cause “sliders” (stop action) to be in either an “on” or “off” position, thus offering the organist a choice of individual and/or combined tonal colors. Slider windchests possess the merit of not only being mechanically superior to other types but also afford the best conditions for producing beautiful, unforced pipe speech while occupying a minimum of physical space.
Tuning has been accomplished by a method known as “cone-tuning” whereby the tops of all “covered” pipes (Bourdon 16, Rohrfloete 8, Bourdon 8) are soldered fast while the open pipes are cut to length and tuned with metal “cones”. Hence the instrument will need tuning only every few years or so with the exception of the two reed stops, which due to their nature require more frequent attention.
“Voicing” is a process by which the pipes are made to speak or sound. This involves adjusting each pipe mouth so that it will speak with clarity and purity of tone throughout the entire rank in addition to blending well with all of the other registers of the organ. Mr. Pasi has voiced the entire organ himself here within the church, thus assuring optimum aural results.
These and many other similar refinements make this a distinguished instrument of lasting tonal and visual beauty, exempify an elegance and inherent integrity characteristic of the greatest traditions of the organ builder’s art – Soli Deo Gloria!
Martin Pasi and Associates, Roy, Washington – Opus 16
2 Manuals & Pedal – 21 stops
|Bourdon 16'||Gamba 8'||Subbass 16' (GT)|
|Principal 8'||Celeste 8'||Octave 8' (GT)|
|Suavial 8'||Bourdon 8'||Bassoon 16' (SW)|
|Rohrfloete 8'||Principal 4'||Trumpet 8' (SW)|
|Octave 4'||Gemshorn 2'|
|Spitzfloete 4'||Bassoon 16'|
|Quint 3'||Trumpet 8'|
|Tierce 1 3/5'||Zymbelstern|
Compass: Manuals – 58 notes, C-a’’’ Pedal – 30 notes, C-f’ (flat pedalboard)
Couplers: I+Pedal, II+Pedal. II+I
Tuned in Herbert Anton Kellner’s “Bach” Temperament of 1975
Yamaha Grand Piano
We are also fortunate to own a six-foot Yamaha Grand Piano which is used in the Nave.