Among possible builders for a new organ, the Canadian, Karl Wilhelm, was considered, but the contract went to the American builder, John Brombaugh, a pioneer in the organ reform movement.
This organ was a gift to the university from the late Margaret Miller Gilson through Miller Group Ltd. of Appleton. Others contributed funds for a complete renovation of the stage, along with proper humidification.
The 33-foot-tall Brombaugh stands at the back of the stage in a free-standing, elaborately carved wooden case atop a three-step platform. The fumed-oak case, trimmed in gold leaf, red, and Lawrence blue, is inspired by an organ built in 1685 (the year of Bach's birth, incidentally) for Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, England, by the great post-Restoration English builder "Father" Bernard Smith. The organ looks to be a very old instrument, but it is all brand new and even houses a computer to assist the organist with preset combinations of stops. The main portion of the case houses the pipes for the Great and Pedal divisions. The Rückpositive is cantilevered forward of the Great division, and the Swell division is behind the main case. This is the first organ in the Chapel to have a full-length 32-foot pipe.
The opening recital by Professor George Damp on May 5, 1995, had to be given twice, such was the demand for tickets to see and hear this magnificent addition to the college and to the community. The Post-Crescent, in an article on May 3, said: "There it stands on a three-step platform, awesome even in silence, an engineering and architectural marvel by any standards." This world-class instrument has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio's "Pipedreams," three CDs have been recorded on it, and it was the featured instrument at the 1997 convention of the American Guild of Organists Region Six.
John Brombaugh, Opus 33, Eugene, Oregon
49 ranks; 2,496 pipes
Three manuals, tracker action
* Great stops that transmit to Pedal
# Notes of the same pitch share common pipes
Ý Some bass tones common with another stop
|Great Organ||Swell Organ|
|8*||Spielflöte||56||8||Vox Celeste (tc)||44|
|Mixture IV-VI ranks||2||Waldflöte||56|
|8*||Trompette||56||Willis Mixture III ranks|
|Scharff IV-V ranks||32#||Contra Posaune (wood)||30|