The Sanctuary Organ

(Please note: the Sanctuary Organ has been dismantled and removed for the duration of our renovations.  After construction is complete, it will return after a major refurbishment.)

Pipe OrganThe sanctuary organ at First Presbyterian Church was built by Casavant Freres, Lte., St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. The instrument is dated 1963 and was designed by the influential organ designer Lawrence Phelps. Mr. Phelps had recently arrived at Casavant to assume the post of tonal director after a number of years with the legendary Aeolian-Skinner Company of Boston. David Brandt, organist and choirmaster of First Presbyterian from 1956 to 1989, was in charge of design negotiations for the church.

The instrument includes 56 ranks of pipes which play from a console of three manuals and pedal. It is installed on the large, open shelf which defines the chancel of First Presbyterian and speaks directly down the central axis of the sanctuary – an ideal position for the instrument

In 1993, a new console was installed by the R. A. Colby Company of Johnson City, Tennessee. The new keydesk retained the style and design of the original Casavant console, but it is designed with the latest in electronic control systems and replaced the original mechanical controls. Included is a memory system with 99 levels of memory capacity for the various pistons and controls of the organ. Also in the early 1990’s, a Trompette-en-Chamade stop was added to the instrument. This stop was designed by the church’s organist at that time, Stephen McKersie, an experienced organ builder in his own right. The chestwork was built by B. Rule and Company of New Market, Tennessee, and the pipework was imported from the Killinger firm in Germany. Mr. McKersie personally installed and voiced the stop. The design of the sanctuary has not allowed this beautiful, flamed copper stop to be open to view. It is located behind the organ screen in the traditional horizontal en-Chamade position.

The Casavant organ is currently undergoing a major renovation.

Listen to our Sanctuary organ (J. Ashley Burell, organist)

Tu es Petra (Thou Art the Rock)-Henri Mulet


The Chapel Organ

(Please note: the Chapel is inaccessible during our renovation.  Once construction is complete, we will once again be able to hear this beautiful instrument.)

Chapel OrganUnder the direction and leadership of former Pastor, Head of Staff, Dr. G. Carswell Hughs and Organist-Choirmaster, J. Ashley Burell, the Chapel organ was installed in 2005 as a part of the Trinity Capital Campaign. Built for a room with excellent acoustics, this superb instrument was built by Taylor and Boody Organbuilders (Opus 52).

The nine stop mechanical action instrument is built after an 18th c. English Chapel organ design (with a small additional pedal division) of George Frideric Handel.  At the request of the Organ Committee, the solid walnut case is marked by the image of turnips carved into the woodwork specifically for First Presbyterian, which was built on the turnip patch of James White, the founder of Knoxville.  The organ was one of two featured instruments of the 2007 AGO National Pedagogy Conference.

Listen to our Chapel Organ (J. Ashley Burell, organist)

Voluntary in a-John James


The Portativ Organ

The Portativ organ (1983) is a three-stop instrument built by The Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company, Inc. of St. Louis, MO. It was given by Eula Lee Roberts in honor of longtime Organist-Choirmaster, David Brandt. It is used, most frequently, as a continuo instrument to accompany choral works.

Listen to our Portativ Organ (J. Ashley Burell, organist)

Où s’en vont ces gais Bergers-(Journey of the Happy Shepherds)-Jean-François Dandrieu