Adult Music | Youth Music | Children's Music | Organs | South Main CDs
Great traditions have flourished at South Main over the past 100 years, and the organs at the church are no exception. Our sanctuary organ is the Thad Roberts Memorial Organ. This Original Kilgen Organ was installed in 1934, rebuilt by John Fort of Dallas, Texas, in 1987, and has since undergone significant work. The original chapel organ was built by the John Fort Organ Company in 1965.
In 2005, South Main installed a new organ in the Westmoreland Chapel, a process which has made possible the viewing of the chapel's entire stained glass window. Three presentation concerts introduced the new organ, beginning with Daryl Robinson's Friday March 11th concert (7:30 p.m.). Dr. Joyce Jones presented the dedication concert on Friday April 15th (7:30 p.m.). The series concluded when the Sanctuary Choir, accompanied by Daryl Robinson, presented a concert on Sunday May 22nd (6:00 p.m.).
|Sanctuary Organ (Specifications)
The original organ was installed in 1934 by The Kilgen Organ Company of St. Louis, MO. The installation was one of Kilgen’s largest in the Southern United States and was featured in a 1946 catalogue that featured numerous major installations around the country, including the famous organ of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, NY. The instrument was designed in consultation with South Main Baptist Church (SMBC) organist Haydn Roberts, who incidentally served as the first dean of the Houston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The organ featured many color stops that were common in the period in which it was built: orchestral style reeds, smooth and bubbling flutes and strings, and broad Diapasons. As with many things, organ building has gone through many stylistic changes in this country, and in 1987 the organ was rebuilt and added to by the John T. Fort Organ Company of Dallas, TX, under the guidance of Charles Lively (Organist) and Greg Berry (Associate Organist). The organ now features many colors of the German school of organ building. This rebuild expanded the organ to its current size of 63 ranks across four manuals (keyboards).
The organ contains many stops from the original Kilgen instrument along with pipe work from the Orgelbau Laukhuff of Weikersheim, Germany. With the expansion of the organ also came the addition of a façade which is crowned by the Trompette en Chamade (Horizontal Trumpet). In 1983, prior to the expansion of the Chancel Organ, a new Gallery Organ was added in the balcony and replaced the Echo Organ that was located in one of the balcony chambers and had suffered water damage over the years. The Gallery Organ features a beautiful Baroque-style case and contains a one manual and pedal console. Several additions have been recently made to the organ to restore some of the orchestral reeds that were removed in the rebuild; further plans are underway to update the organ.
Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, the church continued to expand and grow, partly thanks to the Music Ministry under the leadership of Thad Roberts. In 1963, a new chapel was erected on the north end of the campus and was originally planned to include an electronic organ. The Westmoreland Chapel and pipe organ were dedicated in 1965 with Dr. E. Hermond Westmoreland present for the ceremonies. The organ was built by John Fort of Dallas, TX, and featured two manuals and 33 ranks of pipes.
The organ served the congregation well for 40 years. However, due to several causes, the organ was in much disrepair. The chest design that was used in the organ was an experimental “membrane” chest that caused many problems from early on. Other issues included collapsing pipe work due to the heat generated by the number of windows in the chapel and mechanical problems within the console.
In 2004, it was decided to replace the organ, which was made possible through a generous gift by the South Main Baptist Foundation and the Mary Lucille Stroud family. A new Rodgers organ was selected for the new console and would contain three manuals. In the summer of 2004, SMBC became aware of a local organ that was for sale that contained high quality pipe work. The decision was made to purchase parts of that organ to use in the chapel. The organ now features 20 pipe ranks and 112 digital ranks. New wind chests, blowers, and electrical relays were included in this project. The six 16-foot pipes around the stained glass window are the only pipes that were retained from the previous organ and serve only as display pipes. The archway façades are made up of pipes from the purchased organ and new pipes from the A. R. Schopp’s & Sons, Inc. of Alliance, OH. The pipe work was made by the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, IL, and dates from both 1953 and 1975.
The Organist of South Main
Daryl Robinson, Organist of Houston's South Main Baptist Church since 2003, has performed throughout the United States and in England, France, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic. A student of David Higgs, Robert Bates, Matthew Dirst, Joby Bell and Jo Deen Blaine Davis, he was awarded a scholarship to the 2007 Summer Institute for French Organ Studies and won top prizes in repertory and hymn playing in the 2009 William C. Hall Organ Competition. A recent graduate of the University of Houston, he served as collaborative keyboard artist for the Moores School Concert Chorale and the Texas Music Festival.