The Walker Pipe Organ
The magnificent J. W. Walker & Sons pipe organ at Hitchcock, installed in 1990, is recognized as one of the finest tracker-action pipe organs in the Northeast. The organ has proven itself time and again as a versatile and artistically superb instrument. In addition to being splendid for service playing, it is a wonderful concert instrument—having hosted some of today’s most noted organists in recital and ensemble.
The firm of J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd was selected in 1988 to build the new instrument for the newly designed sanctuary of Hitchcock Presbyterian Church. The name J. W. Walker & Sons was established in 1828, though the origins of the firm go back to the illustrious sixteenth century organ builder Thomas Dallam, whose exquisite organ case still graces the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. Recognition came from the English Royal Family in 1880 when the Prince of Wales ordered the new instrument for the Royal country estate in Sandringham, and later as King Edward VII, commissioned a larger instrument. The Royal Appointment has continued by King George V, King George VI and currently by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Worldwide commissions throughout their history have given Walker organs renown for their quality and durability in the minds of discerning musicians. The Walker Organ at Hitchcock, built right after the one at St. Martin’s in the Field’s, London, is tonally in a style that comfortably embraces all schools of music. The 2 manual and pedal, tracker-action instrument has 29 stops comprising 36 ranks and 1,798 pipes grouped into distinct harmonically complete divisions within the case.
The Hitchcock organ had many people involved in its building process. In conjunction with Michael Butler, then Walker voicers, Mark Lively and Paul Fulcher designed the technical details and were responsible for voicing the instrument. Organ cases serve to focus and project the sound thus serving a musical as well as a visual purpose. The organ case at Hitchcock was designed by the architect who designed the sanctuary, Peter L. Gluck and Partners and manufactured By Walker.
Hitchcock Presbyterian Church is renowned for its acoustics. The combination of this splendid acoustic and the J. W. Walker & Sons instrument is what makes this organ so special. Through worship and concerts, this magnificent instrument will inspire hope, consolation and joy for generations to come!