The organ at First Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was constructed by Nichols & Simpson, Inc., Organbuilders of Little Rock. The contract for the new instrument was signed in September 1992. The new instrument replaced a 1920's Estey organ, incorporating about 30% of the Estey pipework, though in a radically altered form. Significant structural changes were made to the front of the Sanctuary to allow the organ pipes to have optimum placement. The renovation of the Sanctuary, as well as the construction and voicing of the instrument, required a period of two years and was completed in the fall of 1994. The instrument was dedicated on February 26, 1995. Russell Hodges, Professor of Music at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, played the dedicatory recital. At that time, the organ consisted of 37 stops, 47 ranks and 2,635 pipes. In January 2000, a contract was signed for the addition of 3 prepared stops. These additions enlarged the organ to 40 stops, 53 ranks and 2,989 pipes.
The outer shell of three-manual console is walnut; the interior is made of burled walnut. The natural keys are made of bone, and the sharps are of rosewood. The draw knobs were individually turned of rosewood with bone faces inset. The combination action has ninety-nine levels of memory and a four-level adjustable crescendo system. The windchests are pallet-and-slider with electric key action and pneumatic-cylinder stop actions.
Those who contributed to the realization of the organ are: Wayne E Simpson III (case design, installation, voicing), C. Joseph Nichols (engineering, installation, tonal finishing), Michael P. Snoddy (construction and installation), Christopher B. McKinney (windchest construction, installation), Bryan K. Gray (computer-aided design), R. A. Colby, Inc. (console), Woodunique (facade case work, choir loft paneling, doors and choir modesty railing).
First Presbyterian Church
213 Whittington Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 71901
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