The church’s pipe organ was constructed and installed in 1960 by the Schantz Organ Company, with renovations and additions made in 1989 by the Bunn-Minnick Organ Company of Ohio and by the Walker Technical Company of PA. The Jeffri W. Bantz Memorial Antiphonal Division was added in December 2012 by R.A. Colby Organbuilders of Johnson City, TN and the Walker Technical Company. The original 1960 instrument of 44 ranks was designed by then organist Dr. Arden Whitacre. The original specification and console included provision for the antiphonal division which was installed some 53 years later. The dedication recital was played by world famous Belgian organist Flor Peeters in 1961.
The instrument presently comprises six divisions: Great, Positiv, Swell, Solo, Antiphonal and Pedal, containing over 4000 metal and wood pipes ranging in size from smaller than a pencil to more than 16 feet long. The main organ’s pipework, chimes, percussions, electronics and blower are located on three stories (levels) at the west end of the sanctuary, in several chambers hidden behind acoustically transparent fabric at the rear of the chancel surrounding the Sea of Galilee stained glass window. The chamber is accessed through a door into the blower room on the west side of the building and by climbing a 22 foot ladder. The organ relays are located three stories above the Chancel floor.
The Trumpet Heroique originally played from the chamber on the back wall where the Antiphonal is now located but was moved to the front Solo Chamber several years ago.
The organ is controlled by a large four manual drawknob-style console, located at the south side of the chancel area. It is on a movable platform and can be positioned in the center of the chancel for concert events. The console contains 146 drawknobs, 45 toe-studs, and 33 couplers controlling approximately 120 ranks. The wind chests are operated by electromagnetic valves, and pressurized air for the pipes is supplied by a 25 horsepower blower and an extensive system of ductwork, regulators and reservoirs.
The Antiphonal Division is powered by a smaller blower located in the original chamber two stories above the Narthex. Located more than 200 feet from the main organ, the antiphonal division’s speech is heard after a delay of one sixth of a second. The crowning voice of the antiphonal is named the Phyllis Phelps Tuba in recognition of her 50 years of service to the Music Department. The antiphonal organ was provided by a generous gift from Dr. and Dr. James and Elizabeth York, and was named to honor and memorialize our Director of Music Emeritus, the late Jeff Bantz. Interestingly, Jeff received his very first organ lesson on the original 44-rank instrument in 1969 from Dr. Whitacre. Phyllis Phelps was here to greet him on that day!
The organ is valued in excess of one and a half million dollars and is considered to be one of the largest and finest instruments in the southeast and the third largest instrument in South Florida. The 1960 console is being replaced and the new console being built by R. A. Colby Inc., is excitedly anticipated for an early 2017 installation and dedication.
The small pipe organ which is located on the Sanctuary floor beneath the Antiphonal Organ is a three rank instrument built by the Noack Organ Company of Georgetown, Massachusetts in 1969. It has two 56- note manuals and a 32- note AGO standard specification pedalboard. It contains 4 registers, 136 pipes and a mechanical (tracker) action.