Largest Instrument in Florida Being Installed at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee

By Cristi McKee | Photo: Josh Applegate

St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral is welcoming their newest addition to their music program with the installation of a grand pipe organ. With 131 ranks of pipes when completed, this impressive instrument will be the largest instrument found in the state of Florida, one of the largest pipe organs in the southeast, and the 46th largest instrument in the world overall. The installation of this record-breaking organ is scheduled to be partially completed prior to St. Peter’s 14th anniversary in October of this year. 

Located in the gallery and chancel, this organ will be installed in several phases involving different parts of the instrument. The A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company has completed a portion of Phase I, which involves creating a gallery organ.

Currently, the console (the portion of the pipe organ that holds the keyboards, stop controls, and pedals), is completed and is in the gallery of the cathedral. A twin console will be placed in the front left transept of the building so that the organ can be played from the back and the front of the cathedral. Chris Garven, the Director of Music at St. Peter’s, says that, “The 2nd console on the nave level will enable organ recitals, orchestra with organ, and choir with organ, all of which people will be able to watch.” Both of these consoles have an oak exterior and a mahogany interior that feature African Blackwood accents, and carvings of the orange blossom, which is the state flower of Florida. 

Up in the choir loft, expression boxes mark the first steps in installing the actual organ. Expression boxes, which will be covered with organ casement of oak, and feature exposed pipes, have been built already. When completed, these boxes will house over 1700 pipes and moving louvers (these control the volume of the organ). The installation of windblown pipes is to be done next, and after that, the installation of over 1400 pipes into the organ’s interior will be completed.

Digital portions of the organ, such as stops, will be set to be replaced with real windblown stops when the installation is nearing completion.

The installation of this organ will not only affect the worship within the congregation, but hopefully, the entire Tallahassee community. “I think the instrument will help build more community relationships, certainly within the larger music community, but even beyond that,” Garven says.

The dedication of this organ will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. at the cathedral, and will be followed by a recital by Garven, and an evensong service. The beautiful instrument will add very much to church services, and overall, in the words of Garven, “will be glorious.” 

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