TN Valley Unitarian Universalist

TN Valley Unitarian Universalist

Knoxville, Tennessee (1998)

Hear the Tennessee Valley B. Rule Organ Opus 8

tn-valley01This organ utilizes some components of a tracker organ built by Henry Pilcher’s Sons Company for the First Baptist Church of Griffin, Georgia in 1891. The original disposition was two manuals, 16 stops, compass 58 / 27. The organ was taken in trade by Pilcher about 1926, and sold to University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee in 1928. At this time the center flat of Facade pipes was cut shorter and the Swell division lowered and moved back.

In 1963, following a massive enlargement of the chapel at Sewanee, students moved the instrument to the campus theater. This move required drastic changes to the instrument, and much of the case was either battered or lost in the process and the ensuing years. The organ never played after it was moved, and every stop except the pedal Bourdon was subsequently “recycled” into other local organ projects. After years of neglect and vandalism, the organ was slated for destruction in 1995.
Under the recommendation of B.Rule and Company, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church purchased the instrument from Sewanee in 1997. Pipework sources include the Organ Clearing House, B.Rule & Company, and new pipes from Paul Byron, Pipemaker. Remarkably, several ranks of the original pipework were tracked down by contacting local organbuilders. The ends of the case are entirely new, as is much of the case front. The facade was decorated by Will Dunklin. He closely followed the faint patterns discovered on the pipe metal; the pipes were evidently stripped in 1928. Thirteen colors, in conjunction with numerous stencils, pin-striping tools, and free-hand brushes were used to recreate the original designs where possible. The color pallet was chosen to harmonize with the church’s color scheme.

The dedication was played by Theresa Pepin on January 10, 1999. The inaugural recital was played by James G. Garvey on January 16, 1999.



16 Bourdon 8 Violin Diapason
8 Open Diapason 8 Stopped Diapason
8 Ducliana 8 Celeste TC
8 Doppel Flute 4 Principal
4 Octave 4 Harmonic Flute
2 Fifteenth 2 Octavin
Mixture III 2 2/3 Nazard
8 Trumpet Cornet II
8 Oboe



16 Bourdon Great Forte/Great Piano
8 Principal Great/Pedal reversible
4 Choral Bass Three usual Couplers
16 Trombone Tremolo
8 Trumpet Compass 58/30

Posted on

August 30, 2015