Broadway United Methodist Church, Indianapolis

Cohesion Through Diversity

 

Broadway United Methodist Church is an inner-city congregation, located in the heart of Indianapolis. Housed in a cavernous gothic structure built in 1927, Broadway has met the challenges common to such churches, and has become a strong anchor in the local community.

 

Fulfilling its mission statement to be a congregation that “seeks and values all people,” the big church on Fall Creek Boulevard has become a hub of activity in the Mapleton neighborhood of north central Indianapolis, ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of people from a wide range of economic levels, ethnicities, and lifestyles. There is a pride in this congregation – a pride in what it stands for, a pride in its message, and a pride in the quality of spiritual experience it offers.

 

Today, as in the past, music is a vital part of spiritual life at Broadway. An active music program, as diverse as Broadway’s congregation, is supported by a large chancel choir, bell choirs, instrumentalists, and children’s choirs, as well as a program of concerts, recitals, and other musical events. Much of this music-making centers around two pipe organs, in the sanctuary and chapel.

 

As we began to plan a comprehensive project for Broadway, we needed to consider both instruments, as both had developed serious mechanical problems. In our view, these mechanical problems, together with the musical limitations of each instrument, suggested a project that would result in new pipe organs in both locations.

 

Broadway’s organ committee worked tirelessly for many months. During that time, they considered possibilities that ranged from merely repairing the organs to replacing them with pipe organs, electronic substitutes, or hybrid instruments. As part of a larger capital campaign that included costly major repairs to the structure and systems of the building, the organ project had to be considered along with other needs. With these factors in mind, we were able to design a unique project that provided new pipe organs in both rooms at a cost that met the church’s financial requirements.

 

Clearly, a sanctuary organ with a wealth of tone color would best serve the musical needs of the church. Chris Schroeder, organist at Broadway, felt that an instrument designed along Romantic lines would offer variety of sound, and be in sympathy with the architecture of the building.

 

The tonal design that emerged includes a full Principal chorus from 8’ through mixtures in each manual division. The Principals of the Great and Pedal divisions are cantilevered in a central position over the choir loft, giving its sound an unobstructed projection down the nave. The Great Principal chorus, of 70% tin, uses variable scaling to meet the acoustical needs of the room.    

 

For color, the organ contains a wide range of flute stops, including several period ranks dating from the 1880’s and 1920’s, along with string ranks in each division. The organ contains two string celestes in the Swell, an Unda Maris and a Flauto Dolce with Celeste in the Choir division, as well as a quiet Gemshorn in the Great. A Pedal division that includes three full-length 16’ flue stops and two full-length 16’ reeds underpins the instrument. Both the Swell and Choir contain chorus and solo reeds.

 

The “glory reed” of the organ is a Bombarde that was crafted from a period Tuba stop. This reed was completely rebuilt with new parallel shallots and harmonic resonators from C25, and a new full-length extension to 16’, allowing it to be used in the Pedal. Voiced on 13” windpressure, the stop is located in the Choir chamber and affected by its expression shades.

 

Along with new pipework and period pipes, we were able to preserve a significant portion of the pipework from the 1968 instrument. These pipes were completely reconditioned and revoiced, and placed in ensemble positions where their smaller scales are appropriate. Retaining these pipes saved the church over $35,000, more than the entire cost of the 1968 instrument, thereby protecting the church’s entire investment made almost four decades ago.

 

The organ contains a combination of electropneumatic pallet and slider windchests and electromechanical chests with channeled toeboards. Build of solid hardwood, these new chests were custom designed for the Broadway organ, and were constructed using a highly accurate computer-controlled manufacturing process.  It is all controlled by a Peterson ICS4000 control system. The system, which includes a 100-level combination action and full MIDI capability, has a host of programmable features. These features give both the organist and the organ builder the ability to customize the instrument, and to make additions and changes quickly and easily.

 

The new chapel organ is based on a small instrument that was constructed in 1968 for a church in Ohio. After purchasing the organ, we completely renovated it and added pipes to nearly double its resources. Since no finish voicing had ever been done to the original organ, we were able to voice and finish the pipes appropriately.  An ICS4000 system also controls the chapel organ. The MIDI features of the system, together with its easy programmability, are especially useful in a small unit organ.  The chapel organ was actually completed first, and was installed in the balcony of the sanctuary, where it served the congregation during the months the sanctuary organ was being completed. Following completion of the sanctuary instrument, it was moved to its permanent home in Broadway’s beautiful chapel.

 

There is an eloquent message in the two new pipe organs at Broadway Church. It is the blending of diverse sonorities, old and new, of many styles and colors, that gives these organs their depth and character. In this way, they reflect the values of the congregation for which they were built.  During the nearly two years of planning, and many months of construction and installation, we came to know BroadwayUnitedMethodistChurch as a very special place. The enthusiasm and the generous, welcoming spirit of Broadway have been a source of delight to us throughout the project. It is our hope that these new organs will serve the church for generations, and give added voice to its spirit and its ministry.

  

PHP Warning: PHP Startup: Unable to load dynamic library 'C:\PHP\ext\php_curl.dll' - The operating system cannot run %1. in Unknown on line 0 PHP Warning: PHP Startup: Unable to load dynamic library 'C:\PHP\ext\php_mssql.dll' - The specified procedure could not be found. in Unknown on line 0 PHP Warning: PHP Startup: Unable to load dynamic library 'C:\PHP\ext\php_msql.dll' - The specified module could not be found. in Unknown on line 0 PHP Warning: PHP Startup: Unable to load dynamic library 'C:\PHP\ext\php_openssl.dll' - The operating system cannot run %1. in Unknown on line 0