The Létourneau Opus 55 Organ

Mounted horizontally outside the case, the Trumpet en chamade required thirty-seven hours of labor for its voicing in the factory.

This instrument includes the first full-length metal 32-foot reed stop built by Orgues Letourneau. (They have built four 32-foot metal reeds of half-length.)
Forty artisans who worked on this instrument range in age from 18 to 64; more than half have Letourneau organ building as their first and only career.

On completion of First United Methodist Church's instrument in 2000, Kalamazoo became the first city in the United States with two new organs built entirely by Létourneau. Other cities with two or more already exist in Australia, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Quebec.

Fewer than 3% of the total number of pipes are visible from the pews; the others are behind the facade of the organ case.  The 3,638 pipes constitute a small proportion of the roughly 100,000 wood, metal, and other components of the organ.  Each large facade pipe required the efforts of two men a full day to polish it.

Robert Jordan at the OrganThe largest 24 pipes of the 32-foot reed and the largest 12 pipes of all the sixteen-foot reeds have boots made of wood for endurance and stability over the decades; the largest 12 pipes of all the sixteen-foot metal ranks have double-thick metal in the foot to support the pipe's weight in coming generations.

The most important "stop" on any organ is the room in which it is placed; the last and most important 30% of pipe voicing is done on site to fit the room's acoustics.

Opus numbers correspond to accepted design proposals, not contract or completion dates. This organ, Opus55, was finished in 1998; Opus 51 at First United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo was installed in 2000, while the four-manual Opus 50 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton was completed in 2001.

Custom-designed, each organ is completely erected and playable in the builder's shop before it is disassembled and shipped for installation. After most parts were already made, erecting this organ in the shop took four months; re-erecting it in the church took three weeks.

Pipes and other parts were transported from the shop to the church in two fully packed 47-foot semi-trailers; three weeks later another 53-foot semi-trailer returned the empty crates to the shop.

Raw materials such as metal and wood used in the organ come from Brazil, China, and the USA; stop-action parts come from Germany, Maryland, and California.

The coloring of dark naturals and light sharps in the manual keyboards follows historic tradition and affords best visual clarity in all types of light.

The largest pipes weigh 450 pounds, the smallest less than a pencil. The whole organ weighs about twelve tons.

This is the largest new organ built by Orgues Létourneau in this century, although a university concert instrument nearly twice its size was completed in 2001.

Létourneau employment has more than doubled within the past five years, including 6-8 apprentices in various stages of training, but cannot keep up with demand; current contracts will require three years to complete.

Letourneau has been selected to build new instruments in Oxford University, the Tower of London, and Vienna.

Organ Specifications

GREAT (61 notes)

Stop Pitch Pipes
* Principal 16 61
* Principal 8 61
  Harmonic flute 8 61
  Chimney flute 8 61
  Erzähler 8 61
  Octave 4 61
  Spitz flute 4 61
  Quinte 2 2/3 61
  Octave 2 61
  Mixture IV 1 1/3 244
  Cornet V (tenor C) 8 245
  Trumpet 16 61
  Trumpet 8 61
 SWELL (61 notes, expressive)

Stop Pitch Pipes
  Bourdon 16 61
  Principal 8 61
  Bourdon 8 61
  Viole de gambe 8 61
  Voix céleste (1st G) 8 54
  Octave 4 61
  Harmonic flute 4 61
  Block flute 2 61
  Mixture IV 2 244
  Bassoon 16 61
  Trompette 8 61
  Oboe 8 61
  Clairon 4 61
  Voix humaine 8 61
POSITIV (61 notes, expressive)

Stop Pitch Pipes
  Holzgedackt 8 61
  Gemshorn 8 61
  Gemshorn céleste 8 61
  Principal 4 61
  Koppel flute 4 61
  Nazard 2 2/3 61
  Flach flute 2 61
  Tierce 1 3/5 61
  Larigot 1 1/3 61
  Sifflet 1 61
  Scharf III 1 183
  Dulzian 16 61
  Cromorne 8 61
§ Trompette en chamade 8 61
 PEDAL (32 notes)

Stop Pitch Pipes
* Subbass 32 32
  Principal 16 32
  Open wood 16 32
  Subbass 16 12
  Principal 8 32
  Bourdon 8 32
  Choralbass 4 32
  Nachthorn 2 32
  Fourniture IV 2 2/3 128
  Contrebombarde 32 12
  Bombarde 16 32
  Trompette 8 32
  Clairon 4 32
*   Polished façade pipes
§   Mounted horizontally outside the case, polished