One of the striking architectural features of the sanctuary at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church is the pipe organ’s façade (visible pipes) behind the pulpit and choir loft. Designed in the contemporary French sawtooth style, the façade helps to lift the congregation’s eyes upward, symbolically representing the direction of our attention during worship.
The three bays of the façade contain the pipes that sound the pedal’s Principal stop. The remaining pipes are situated in wind chests located in a chamber behind the visible pipes of the façade. Each pipe has a separate valve that opens by an electronic signal when the proper key is pressed, allowing air to blow into the pipe, which makes it sound. The length and diameter of a specific pipe determines its pitch. The largest pipe is nearly 19 feet tall. The smallest is smaller than a pencil. The larger the pipe, the lower its pitch is and vice versa.
There are 1456 pipes in total, and they are grouped into 26 full ranks, which each have a characteristic sound and dynamic level connected to a stop on the console. In addition, one group of ranks is enclosed in a compartment called the Swell Box that has shutters that can be opened and closed with a pedal, allowing for gradual softening and brightening of sounds. The pipes are played in various combinations from the two 61-note manuals (keyboards) and the 32-note pedalboard.
Our organ was designed and built for our sanctuary by Joe E. Lee of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was installed in the spring of 1979. Over the years it has served the congregation well by leading and supporting vibrant and meaningful hymn singing, providing instrumental music, and accompanying choral anthems. With proper care and maintenance, this wonderful and valuable asset can continue to serve Greenwood Forest as we lift our hearts and voices in praise to God. The church is currently fundraising for a full-scale renovation of the organ with organ builder Grooms & Payne. The renovation will fix the organ's flaws, expand its sound, and ensure that it will remain a vital part of GFBC's worship into the future. If you would like to donate to the Organ Fund or would like more information on our organ, please contact Rev. Stephen Stacks.