Pedals and Pipes: A Great and Swell Renovation


Fantasia on Viva La Vida from FBC Griffin on Vimeo.

A Renovation for Future Generations

Thanks to generous funding from the Finance Committee, Trustees, and individuals, a substantial portion of the renovation has already been gifted to jump start the process.

An additional $100,000 was needed to complete the renovation. To date, approximately $16,000 remains to finish the organ fund campaign.

You can be a part of preserving our past and ensuring music for future generations by giving to the Organ Fund. To give, simply click on the button below, then select “Organ Fund” from the drop down menu.

April Organ Update

Where are we now?

We have almost completed our fundraising for the organ renovation!!  We are about $16,000 away from our goal!!

Fun Terminology: Antiphonal

When you think of the word choir, you automatically think of people, right? People make up a choir, they sit in the choir loft, they sing choir music. At First Baptist, we have two choirs – one made up of people, the other made up of pipes. The organ has a division of pipes called the choir as well. The bottom keyboard on the organ is called the choir division. The choir division contains pipes that make up a broadened sound on the organ, including solo stops and accompaniment stops. It’s useful for adding a festive trumpet to a hymn or processional as well as general congregational accompaniment. When the organists hands are on the lowest keyboard, you’ll know he or she is playing on the choir division of the organ!


You can be an Organ Donor:

We’d like to reach our full fundraising goal by May 31st, and we’re only $16,000 away from that goal!! Thank you for your support as we enhance the organ for generations to come!  Click here to give! 

March Organ Update

Where are we now?

Since our last update, the parts have been ordered, and we are on the build schedule! We do not currently have a scheduled final date of completion.

Fun Terminology: Antiphonal

What in the world is an Antiphonal? In a nutshell, it consists of pipes that make sounds from the back of the Sanctuary. An antiphonal adds a section of the organ to another space in the sanctuary, which can create a “call and response” to one another, creating a rich and immersive worship or concert experience. 


You can be an Organ Donor:

We thank you for the donations that have come in over the last several months! We are now looking to raise the last $29,070! Your generosity is helping us acquire a new organ console, work in the organ chamber, and a brand new antiphonal. We’ve made significant progress toward our goal, but we are still in need of additional funds. The final payments will be due in the months to come. Every gift – small or large – will make a difference! This organ will be enjoyed by generations now and to come.  Click here to give now.

February Organ Update

Where are we now?

Since our last update, we have worked with Schlueter Pipe Organs to make a few console changes. The design looks great! Now that the design of the console is finished, Schlueter will begin ordering parts to begin the console build. All paperwork has been approved and submitted… we’re on the schedule to have it built!

Next Month’s Update: Historic Antiphonal Tour

Next month’s update will be very interesting! We will take you on a tour of our Historic Antiphonal, located above the soundbooth in the Sanctuary. We’ll even play a pipe for you! The historic antiphonal was part of the main church organ from 1926-1966.  We are so excited about re-imagining our antiphonal for the future!

Fun Terminology: Wind Chest and Motherboards:  

It’s hard to imagine a pipe organ with motherboards, right? Did you know that pipe organs are electronic instruments?! Many people don’t. Sometimes it is assumed that because there are many pipes, that it runs acoustically. That is not the case, however. In a nutshell, the pipe organ is in some ways a complex computer that sends a signal of wind to the pipes, which produce a sound. The Wind Chest generates a windspeed that goes to the pipes when it is being played. Oh, and the choir room is very noisy when the pipe organ is on!


You can be an Organ Donor:

We are on the last leg of the journey! As we near the final stages of our fundraising efforts, we are just over $35,000 from reaching our goal! Our pipe organ holds a special place in the heart of our church and our community. For many years, it has provided the backdrop of music in our sanctuary – whether in worship or in community concerts and ceremonies.  Your donation, no matter the size, will make a significant impact on this journey to reach our goal! Every dollar brings us one step closer to ensuring that the music of our pipe organ continues to resonate throughout our church for generations to come. Click here to give now.

January Organ Update

A Renovation for future generations

The First Baptist pipe organ has a rich history, dating back to the 1800’s with a foot-pumped organ. From Pilcher to Moller to Schantz, First Baptist has held to exceptional quality organs. The vision for the current organ’s renovation is to replace the console, whose combination action has long ceased to be reliable, rebuild the historic antiphonal, and expand the capabilities of the current organ. The master plan is to utilize all existing pipes – as they all work very well, replace what can’t be fixed – and in doing so – expand the capabilities of the console. This renovation will support music well into our future at First Baptist!

Where are we now?

Schlueter Pipe Organs is in the process of making some slight design changes to the original console design submitted to us with the original proposal. While the new console will be a couple of inches taller than our existing one, the new design is due in January and will include better sight lines than the original proposal.

Next Month’s Update: A Tour of the Organ

Be sure to catch next month’s Organ Update! We will provide you a virtual tour in the organ chamber and antiphonal space, and we will show you some really awesome things that even a non-organist will find interesting!


When did the Organ Fund come into existence?

The Organ Fund was set up in 1988 by the Finance Committee and Organ Study Team as a campaign to generate funding for the 1990 Organ Renovation. The necessary funding was raised – over and above what was needed then. The leftover Organ Fund monies received in 1988 have been used to fund any required maintenance on the Organ.

How much do yearly tunings cost?

The Sanctuary is set to a constant temperature in order to minimize the required tunings per year. In general, the organ should be tuned at least once a year, but sometimes twice a year is necessary (just like pianos). Tunings cost approximately $1500 per tuning.

Fun Terminology: Great and Swell

Great:  The middle keyboard on the organ. It plays lots of hymn accompaniments, as it has a full sound built in to it.

Swell: The top keyboard on the organ. It plays a lot of solo instruments, like a bassoon or a standard trumpet. It also has beautiful chamber strings and flutes, which are great for softer pieces and choir accompaniments.

Bach’s Toccata in D Minor, BWV 565

Played by Ellee Hilley 

The Proposal

You may also view a pdf version of the Organ Proposal.

While we have been good stewards of our funds, the proposed solution for our organ will still require us to raise money. If you would like to donate to the Organ Fund, you may do so using the link below, or by scanning the QR code to the right with your tablet or phone. Thank you for considering this special project as you plan your giving.