Organs and Keyboards

OrganIn Christian worship, organs are primarily used to provide service music, such as hymns, preludes, offertories and postludes. They accompany both instrumental and vocal soloists in worship, weddings, funerals and memorial
services. Organs are also an effective tool in leading congregational singing.

The Sanctuary's Aeolian-Skinner organ
First Lutheran Church's sanctuary organ was designed by representatives of the Aeolian-Skinner company of Boston in consultation with First Lutheran Church organist Dr. Merle Pflueger and was paid for through the church budget at a cost of $52,000. It was designed to lead the congregation in singing hymns and liturgy and to express the music of all periods of organ literature. The organ was dedicated on Nov. 21, 1959.

The present three manual and pedal organ consists of 39 ranks (sets of pipes) totaling 2,446 pipes and 32 tonal generators. It has electric-pneumatic action and is played from the drawknob console located in the east balcony.

The Great and Pedal divisions are located in the open area of pipes. The Swell division is on the north side and the Choir division is on the south side behind large pedal pipes. These divisions are enclosed with louvers to control dynamics.

In 1964, the Festival Trumpet and Zymbelstern were added as a memorial to Ruth Borgwardt by Pastor Robert Borgwardt. A pedal reed rank was added in 1994 consisting of a 16' Bombarde, 8' Trompette and 4' Clairon. A 32' electronic Bombarde was also added. In addition, there was a tonal regulation of the complete organ. This work was paid for with gifts and memorials to the organ fund.

The organ is still not complete. The builder prepared the console and space for an additional 709 pipes. The addition of three more pedal ranks and the Positiv division will complete the tonal design. The finished organ will consist of 53 ranks and 3,155 pipes plus 32 generators. View the Aeolian-Skinner stoplist here.

Christ the Victor Chapel's Alfred Fuhrer organ
Alfred Fuhrer OrganChrist the Victor Chapel is home to an Alfred Fuhrer organ. The four-stop organ, built in 1968, was purchased from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, Iowa. The organ was used for the first time at vespers on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008.

In order to make the Fuhrer organ fit the acoustical environment of Christ the Victor Chapel (a much different room than its prior home at Good Shepherd), and to help lead congregational hymns and sung liturgy two considerations came before the organ committee:

The first was the need to lower the pitch series of the two-rank Mixture stop. A Mixture is a compound stop, meaning that for each note, two or more pitches sound at the same time. The Mixture was rescaled and 18 pipes were added.

The second addition was to the pedal division (the lowest notes played by the organist's feet). This division of the organ functions in a similar way to the bass section of a choir. It provides warm foundation tones for hymn singing and service music. This additional stop consisting of 27 pipes is invaluable in leading hymns and liturgy and expands the possibilities for organ repertoire.

The installation of the Fuhrer organ signifies the commitment of First Lutheran's music ministry to a higher standard of excellence.  As an expression of outreach and evangelism to the community, First Lutheran has an opportunity and obligation to share this great heritage not only with children, but the entire community.

Read more about the organ in this brochure. View the organ stoplists here.

The Sanctuary's Steinway Piano
Residing in the Sanctuary, First Lutheran's Steinway piano is an integral part of worship. It is used regularly for anthem accompaniments, service music, special music and everything in between.

The instrument is a Steinway and Sons Model B Piano. Purchased in 2003 with money from anonymous donors, it was dedicated in 2004 by then Director of Music Brian Johnson.

The Model B is six feet 10.5 inches in length, 58 inches wide and 760 pounds.
From the Steinway & Son's website, please visit this link for more information:

The rim is made entirely from maple with 16 laminations. It is 2 ¾ inches thick.
There are four solid spruce braces with a volume of 2,265 cubic inches. Spruce provides tensile strength with less weight. Maple dowels fasten braces to rim producing a single homogenous foundation upon which the entire tonal component is built. A cast iron treble bell, affixed to rim's underside at treble bend, holds plate firmly in position by means of a steel bolt.

The soundboard, created like the soundboard of violins, gives a free and even response throughout the entire scale, it is eight millimeters thick in the center and tapered to five millimeters as it approaches the rim and outer case before being double crowned. Close-grained, quarter-sawn Sitka spruce, a wood having unusual stability and vibrance under stress and vibration, is used exclusively for the soundboard.

The ribs are made from durable, resinous sugar pine to assure strong and constant support of string down-bearing on the soundboard. Rib ends are hand-fitted into their mounting surfaces virtually locking in the important soundboard crown.

The treble bridge is constructed from hard rock maple vertical laminations capped with solid hard rock maple, which are planed to prescribed height, graphite coated, drilled, and notched by hand for precise individual string bearing. The bass bridge is continuous with the treble and is made from maple, then doweled, glued, and screwed to soundboard.

The treble strings are twelve whole and one-half sizes made from high-tensile Swedish steel. The bass strings are Swedish steel core wire wound with pure copper. The longest string, from agraffe to bridge is 59 ¼ inches.

The hammers are 16.5-pound premium wool top felt over premium wool under felt.
The keys are made from Bavarian spruce, and individually weighed-off.
There are three pedals soft, sustaining, and full sostenuto.

Music home 

1st-grade through 8th-grade music opportunities
Carol Choir
Good Vibrations
Jubilant Singers

High school music opportunities
Belle Campane

Adult music opportunities
Agape Ringers
Adult Choir
Women's Choir

Contemporary Bands

Community Outreach Piano Laboratory

For more information, please contact:
Michael Elsbernd, Director of Music Ministry
(605) 339-1983, ext. 260
melsbernd [at] flcsf [dot] org