The Gallery Organ: Laukhuff/Salmen
The architects of the present church had intended that a pipe organ would fill the church’s nave with music. A letter of record indicates that Otto Hofmann removed a small Hook and Hastings pipe organ of the Civil War period, consisting of one manual of 58 notes and a pedalier of 27 notes, from the original church and stored it in a warehouse in Kyle, Texas, just South of Austin. The pipes of this small organ were to be included in a “new” larger pipe organ scheme for the new church. The pipes and organ parts were unfortunately destroyed in a fire. The new enlarged pipe organ was intended for the north side of the sanctuary above the choir. In the 1980’s the parish replaced a Conn electric tube organ with an Allen digital organ. Sometime prior to the 1980’s the choir was moved to the gallery on the east end of the church, but in the fall of 1999 the choir was returned to its original location while the rear gallery was prepared for the choir and the new pipe organ.
In 1997, the parish contracted for a new organ and in the summer of 1999 the organ was dismantled from the workshop and delivered on Labor Day September, 2000. The temperature that day registered 112 degrees when a stalwart army of 90 parishioners arrived to unload the unassembled organ parts from the moving van and to store the parts of the instrument in both the first floor of the rectory and in the gallery. Some pipe work was taken off site for voicing and modification.
The organ was re-assembled in three days beginning on January 1, 2001 and the first notes sounded on January 3rd. The instrument was used for its first liturgy on January 6th for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord with only four stops in service. The final voicing and tonal work was completed in March of 2001. The “full” organ was played for the first time in the liturgies on the First Sunday of Lent, 2001.
Much of the organ was designed and built by the well-respected 125-year-old German firm of August Laukhoff with some of the metal pipe work by Gustav Bier, also of Germany. The original intent of the organ builder was to replicate the tonal ambience of the 18th Century South German Organ School. The installation and re-working was performed by David Salmen (www.salmenorgans.com) including revoicing, altered tuning and other modifications to render it more appropriate for the needs of contemporary Catholic
The casing is a light-weight American pine painted black with gold trim. Red highlights accentuate the carved portions on façade. The pipes are made of metal alloy and some pipes are made of pine including the large Trombone 16’ pipes against the East wall. The keyboard desk has includes inlaid decorative woods and carved keys. The chest, blowers, and framework consist of heavy German oaks. Light balsa woods and metal trackers connect the keyboards and pedal board to the chest and the pipe work. The only portions of the organ powered by electric are the blower and lights. There are approximately 1100 pipes. The size of the pipes range from little metal pipes as small as a pencil to the large 16 feet tall wooden pedal pipes that reach to the ceiling. David Salmen finished the project, voiced and installed the instrument.
All together, the pipe organ represents the vision, hands, hearts, and love of many dedicated individuals that have given “a new voice” to St. Austin Catholic Parish. Dr. Betty Lousie Lumby played the dedication recital on Sunday, October 21, 2001.
Manual I C-1 to F-5
Voce Umana 8
Twelfth 2 2/3
Cornet III (Beginning at C-3)
Manual II C-1 to F-5
Pedal C-1 to F-5
Manual compass 54 notes
Pedal compass 30 notes
Couplers, I-II, I-P, II-P