St Clements Church Ewell July 2017
The Envoy 35-F is on 4 external speakers and a sub bass.
St Clements current church is just over 50 years old and was built in a traditional style with organ gallery / choir space in an upstairs loft. Sadly it was completed just before the new approach to worship ushered in by Vatican II reached town. A pipe organ possessing around 14 stops, was built by a local manufacturer. Although (on what must have been a tight budget) as much as possible was put in, two manuals with only a crescendo pedal and no presets had severe limitations.
To deal with a choir now placed downstairs to support and encourage congregational singing, an Omegan 7100 was made available several years ago. It was always an interim solution, relying on internal speakers whose sound could not fill St Clements. It had restricted keyboards and pedals. In December last it went beyond further use, the organist declining to play it when its expression pedal finally failed.
We needed an instrument which can cope with both traditional and modern music, accompany choir and congregation, offer the versatility needed for instrumental pieces and provide the range of technical features which will encourage younger musicians to take on the role of organist: to say nothing of good quality sound.
We explored three manufacturers initially with a third party Abinger Organs acting as midwife. One manufacturer was eliminated when we discovered that they do not supply trial organs! A rival manufacturer’s used instrument was first installed with external speakers, but it was decided that we needed to hear a suitable Viscount. A trial installation of the Envoy 35F ensued.
This two manual instrument (we felt three manuals would be pretentious given the size of church 250 seats and its musical tradition) with 32 note pedal board and 35 stops offered a range of sound which the existing pipe organ could not match and with which the Omegan could not stand comparison!
Not only does it have an authentic “English” sound, but a range of playing aids to die for (presets, expression pedals, transposition, recording). To say nothing of other voicing styles immediately available as a menu option on the control panel.
It was the mix of realistic “pipe organ” sound, versatility (from gentle Taizė chants to full bore “Guide me O thou Great Redeemer”) and ten year warranty support from Viscount (on a new instrument) that swung the deal.
Both before and during the purchase the attention given to the voicing was impressive. Indeed part of the support is the adjustment of the voicing after organist, congregation and choir have had time to learn what is available. The organist wanted a “trumpet” sound in the swell register and the congregation wanted a not quite so loud overall sound: both requests were accommodated.
We look forward to a future without the need for routine tuning and with the prospect of zero maintenance.
John Farrell Organist
|Sub Bass||32||Double Diapason||16||Geigen Diapason||8|
|Open Wood||16||Open Diapason I||8||Chimney Flute||8|
|Open Metal||16||Open Diapason II||8||Echo Gamba||8|
|Bourdon||16||Claribel Flute||8||Voix Celeste||8|
|Principal||8||Stopped Diapason||8||Geigen Principal||4|
|Bass Flute||8||Principal||4||Wald Flute||4|
|Choral Bass||4||Harmonic Flute||4||Flageolet||2|
|Great to Pedal||Tremulant||Tremulant|
|Swell to Pedal||Swell to Great|