Organs at Saint John's Cathedral
Platt Rogers Organ
Saint John's Cathedral's pipe organ was given "To the glory of God and in loving memory of Platt Rogers (1850-1928)" a former mayor of Denver, by his daughter, Mrs. Lawrence C. Phipps. It was dedicated at a recital by Palmer Christian on 18 May 1938.
The organ, built specifically for Saint John's by the W. W. Kimball Company of Chicago, Illinois, has been cited by the Organ Historical Society as "an instrument of exceptional historic merit, worthy of preservation", a citation that has been granted only to about 350 instruments out of some 8,000 historic pipe organs that have been catalogued by the society. The Platt Rogers organ has been regularly maintained by Norman Lane and Co., especially important since many of Kimball's beautifully crafted pipe organs built between 1896 and 1942 have been destroyed or neglected beyond repair. It is the largest intact American cathedral organ in use built before World War II and the largest organ erected before the Kimball Company suspended their organ-building operations at the outbreak of the war.
The organ consists of ninety-six ranks of pipes, totaling 5,961 individual pipes. It plays sixty-one harp notes and twenty-five chimes and is powered by a 25 horsepower motor. One of the unique features of the organ is the placement of the pipes on the opposite side of the nave from the organ console.
Please click here for organ specifications.
The completion of the Platt Rogers Organ
When I first heard the Kimball organ in 2007, I was standing in the chancel and was washed over by the heroic sound of this great Kimball organ, one of the last big instruments the company built. As I walked toward the back of the Cathedral, however, I began to realize why Kimball went through the extra work of preparing the already large four-manual console with the knobs necessary for an Antiphonal division. In the chancel, the instrument is full, clear and powerful, but as one moves into the nave and toward the west gallery, what once was grand loses power and clarity. This phenomenon became even more apparent when the Cathedral was full of parishioners trying to find support while singing hymns.
As we finished our work on the front organ, it appeared to me that any restoration of the chancel instrument could endeavor to complete what Kimball started nearly 80 years ago. By finding pipework from an earlier Kimball organ, we were able to put together a concept for the Antiphonal that both complements the front organ and stands well on its own. In collaboration with J. Zamberlan & Co., new mechanism and two cases were designed and built that do more than merely house the Antiphonal. They offer a framework for the great west window, and even seem to complete the gallery.
We are honored to have been chosen to complete this fine instrument and could not have done it without many dedicated and skilled hands including the following: Jonathan Ambrosino, Aravinda Ananda, Christopher Broome, William Catanesye, Richard Cutler, Matt Gardner, Richard Houghten, Sam Hughes, John Kennedy, Daniel Kingman, Josh Lawton, Martin Near, Peter Rudewicz, Erik Spooner, Jim Steinborn, Walt Stromack, Tom Tiffany, Vladimir Vaculik, David Young, Joe Zamberlan, Joey Zamberlan and Lisa Zamberlan.
Now, after many decades, this organ is complete. May it sound in this Cathedral for decades to come.
- Joseph Rotella
Antiphonal organ stoplist.pdf
Saint Martin's Chapel Organ
Originally an Aeolian Residence organ with complete roll-playing mechanism (circa 1910, E/P, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 4, 8, 8, duplexed on 2M, Pd 16). It was given by Leila and Eugene Kinney, the roll-player removed, and installed in Saint Martin's Chapel at the chapel's completion (1928). While purposed as a Children's Chapel, this intimate but aesthetic chapel became a virtual Lady Chapel in its wide range of use. An artistically inadequate attempt was made c. 1978 to expand the organ to 15 rks., 3M.
A gift in memory of Edward S. Johnson, M.D. made possible the commissioning of Casavant Freres, Opus 3298, built 1976. This one manual organ, often called a "trunk" positive, separates into upper and lower sections for transport by two persons. While small (8 Gedeckt, 4 Gedecktfloete, 2 Principal, 1 rk. Quinte, 4 x 50 pipes total) its clarity and mechanical keyaction are well suited to Renaissance and Baroque basso continuo and keyboard music.
Hear the Kimball organ: