The hand-crafted tracker pipe organ of First Presbyterian Church, was custom-designed for the congregation by Dan Jaeckel, of Duluth, MN. The instrument was constructed at Jaeckel’s shop in 1997-99, dismantled, shipped to Portland, and installed in the church sanctuary from August 1999 to February 2000. The formal Service of Dedication was celebrated on April 30, 2000.
The Jaeckel organ has 52 stops, 69 ranks, 3 manuals, and 3,515 pipes. Several hundred pipes from the church’s previous organ were rebuilt and revoiced to become part of the new one. The mechanical workings of the instrument are based on the great European organs of the 17th and 18th Centuries. The console action uses red cedar strips, called trackers, to connect the keys to each of the pipes.
J.S. Bach would be comfortable with the style, craftsmanship, and sound of the instrument, but he would be surprised by the six flat-screen video monitors built into the case! These monitors ensure the organist and choir can see the pulpit and coordinate music in the worship service.
Jaeckel’s craftspeople, created the main case of cherry and alder woods to match the 19th Century Carpenter Gothic sanctuary. The new instrument restores the basic appearance of the church’s original 1890 Ryder organ, which was replaced by a Möller organ in 1929.
The project was made possible by a generous leadership gift from Sally and Cecil Drinkward, and donations from the congregation and friends of music at First Presbyterian. Dan Jaeckel was chosen to construct the organ after an extensive nationwide search. Jaeckel impressed the church’s Organ Committee with his capacity to design instruments uniquely suited to acoustically-challenged spaces and to embrace the history and musical heritage of the First Presbyterian congregation. Through its singing beauty and visual splendor, the Jaeckel organ inspires each of us to seek and worship the living God. It serves as a gift to the congregation and the community through the years.
To learn more about the extensive history of First Presbyterian’s organ, take a look at these resources:
First Presbyterian Church
1200 SW Alder Street
Portland, Oregon 97205
Tel: (503) 228-7331