The Organ

The Organ

A brief history

The first organ installed for the Congregation of St. Andrew’s dates back to 1879, and that organ was installed by the S. R. Warren & Son organ builders from Toronto, Ontario. That organ had to be shipped to Victoria by sea around the Cape Horn and was reported to be the finest and largest in the Province at that time. From its earliest home to the present, the organ has undergone a number of revisions, rebuilds and upgrades.

St Andrew's first organ
The first organ (St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Archives)

Those revisions and upgrades saw the transformation of the original organ, wind powered by a water-engine and with a disposition of 21 stops to its current version of 72 speaking stops of which 37 are pipes and the remainder digital, all available through a beautiful Rogers Organ console installed in 2001.

Current organ console (SAPC Archives)

The organ contains 2190 pipes, and the latest rank installed was the Trumpet 8′ built by Casavant Organ builders in Quebec, Canada. The pipe work still uses 3 ranks from the original Warren organ and was built by the Walker organ company in 1872.

Magnificent pipes (SAPC Archives)

St Andrew’s was fortunate to be able to obtain a number of ranks of pipes from Christ Church Cathedral as the Cathedral replaced their organ with a new tracker instrument. Those ranks were from the English organ builder Hill Norman and Beard and added greatly to the current ensemble.

The organ is cared for and maintained by Jason Barnsley.

Do you want to read the whole story? There is a comprehensive document that encompasses key characters, precise dates, relevant events and additional photographs that will give you the reader a vivid picture of the organ’s history; find it below.