Originally acquired in commemoration of the Church’s Sesquicentennial year, the organ was shipped to Salt Lake City some time ago but could not be installed until the Assembly Hall renovation was completed. At work on the organ’s assembly now are organ designer and builder Robert Sipe and his wife Susan, who moved with their children from Dallas, Texas several months ago to undertake the project.
Tabernacle organists Robert Cundick and John Longhurst describe the process used to select an organ builder. “As members of a committee of Church musicians, we listed a few individuals unanimously considered to be worldclass builders. Then we did some traveling to play recent installations of these builders.
“Our selection of Mr. Sipe was, first and foremost, for the meticulous care that he exercises in voicing; that’s the adjustment of each individual pipe so that it sings—and his pipe work does sing. There are many pipe organs that do not sing; but we wanted a singing organ.”
Brother Cundick reflects on the selection of the organ itself. “It was essential that we select an organ that would complement the Tabernacle organ, while maintaining its own individuality and integrity.”
“Both instruments are very eclectic,” adds Brother Longhurst, “in that they will perform with credibility a wide variety of organ literature, accompany congregational singing, and choirs, and soloists. Not all contemporary organs do that, nor are they designed to do that. But we had to have that capability because of the diversity of musical performances that we’ll have in the Assembly Hall.”