Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:59

New York, Church of the Holy Apostles (32/III/P, 1994)

It is not often that an individual decides to build a castle with a cathedral styled great hall large enough for a pipe organ. In November of 1991, Dutch-born American Joseph Mooibroek and his wife Marla from Fairview (near Dallas), Taxas, U.S.A., contracted the Dutch company J.L. van den Heuvel to build a classic instrument with French voicing, with 32 stops.
After three years, in July 1994, the mastercraftsmen completed the building and installation of the instrument . The organ was at that moment the focal point of the great hall at Castle Shiloah (God's sustaining power).


In 1996 the Mooibroeks subsequently decided to sell the Castle, and offered the organ for sale; Manuel Rosales suggested it to the Church of the Holy Apostles. After lengthy negotiations, Holy Apostles purchased the organ.


At the re-inauguration of the organ at the Holy Apostles Church, at which the Van den Heuvel brothers were present, it became very clear that the dismanteling and re-assembly of the organ wasn't done at Van den Heuvel's level of craftsmanship: the list of technical errors found was almost endless.
Wiring wasn't disconned but simply cut and twisted together during re-assembly without any insulation or soldering. The case work was put together with as less as possible screws causing an instable case. Even the carvings of the lower mid tower were put the wrong way: the upper carvings were put at the pipe's feet and visa versa (compare the two photo's above). One of the four stop action power supplies was wired incorrect causing it to burn-out. The remaining three couln't handle large stop changes causing sliders opening partly which results in insufficent airflow for the pipes. The stop crescendo wasn't working even as the displays for the combination action. The action was put together but wasn't regulated at all. The level of the moveable decks of the (traditional) folding bellows (with inwards hinged folds) were not regulated and for only 50% up: this resulted in an instable wind. From about 580 pipes the expressions and tuning slides were removed. Parts of the upperwork weren't placed back at all causing top octaves being mute. Several pipes of the Plein-Jeu were closed with cotton wool and even one pipe of the first F note rank was missing. Some flue pipes of the pedal were put at the wrong places (C pipes on C# sides etc). The doors in the back-wall of the Positif (swell) division were not installed and found on top of the organ case.
At the re-inauguration by Ben van Oosten, in March 1997, it became already clear that the organ's quality wasn't as it was.

'While to the naked eye the Van den Heuvel organ may seem to be all there, many of its pipes have actually gone to and returned from Holland where they were restored. Of the organ's 32 stops, only 18 remain functional while the rest have been at least partially removed. The reason for this is that when the organ was relocated from Texas to New York, tonal changes were made and many of the pipes were altered in ways which have contributed to instability of pitch and tone.'

Already in spring 1998 Van den Heuvel started with the first phase of technical repairs. In the summer of 2000 the 580 damaged pipes were shipped to the Netherlands to be restored. In August the pipes were placed back on the chests and a complete revoicing was performed.

'SAME ORGAN, A BRAND NEW VOICE. Peter van den Heuvel and Gert-Jan van Egmond have completed the restoration and tonal finishing of the organ and returned to the Netherlands. This work was begun last Spring and Peter and Gert-Jan have worked late into evening each day making the necessary fine adjustments to every pipe for optimal tone and blend in the unique acoustics. The revoiced instrument is both richer, warmer and brighter in sound and it now has much more the tonal cohesion and symphonic character originally intended by its builders. We are sure that this enhancement of the organ will further enrich the music of our worship together and heighten the organ's effectiveness as a concert instrument.'
 David J. Hurd, organist and director of Music , September 2000

The name plate with additional text by Rosales was replaced by the original one.

The organ

The organ has 3 manuals of 61 notes and a pedal of 32 notes, controling 32 indepentend stops. The Grand-Orgue has 9 stops, the Positif 10 stops including the horizontal Trumpet Royal with brass resonators, the Récit 7 stops and the Pédale 6 stops. Also a Zimbelstern was added. The Chimes of 25 notes are playeble from the Positif manual.

The scales for the pipework are related in such way that all harmonics of each stop fuse into the fundamental. A high tin content is used for principals, strings and most of the reeds. Larger pipes of the flutes are made of mahogany.

Some details

The organ case

The case is made of African Mahogany with hand carvings of French Linden. The mouths of the display (facade) pipes are guilded with 23.5 carat gold leaf overlay.

Key- and stopaction

The key action is mechanical and the stop action is electronic wich gave the possibility to add the ICMI combination action system to the organ with 15 general pistons and 32 channels of memory. Additionally, the organ's capability is futher enlarged by various cancellers, adjustable Tutti four programmable Crecendi presets and "up/down" sequencing pistons.


The naturals of the of the balanced keyboards recieved an overlay of ebony and the sharps are from maple with an overlay of bone. The stop knobs are made of coromandel wood and porcelain designation plates onto which the inscription is glazed. The cheeks are made from rosewood. The pedal board is made of oak.

Additional Info

  • Location: New York City (USA)
  • Inauguration: Friday, 01 July 1994
  • Activity: Nieuwbouw
  • Stoplist:
    Pédale, C-g1
    Bourdon 32'
    Soubasse 16'
    Flûte 8'
    Violoncelle 8'
    Basson 16'
    Chalumeau 4'

    Grand-Orgue (I), C-c4
    Bourdon 16'
    Montre 8'
    Flûte Harmonique 8
    Flûte à Cheminée 8'
    Prestant 4'
    Doublette 2'
    Plein-Jeu 3-5r.
    Cornet 4r.
    Trompette 8'

    Positif (II), C-c4
    Bourdon 8'
    Salicional 8'
    Unda-Maris 8'
    Flûte à Fuseau 4'
    Nasard 2 2/3'
    Flageolet 2'
    Tierce 1 3/5'
    Piccolo 1'
    Clarinette 8'
    Trumpet Royal 8'
    Récit (III), C-c4
    Flûte Traversière 8'
    Viola 8'
    Voix Céleste 8'
    Flûte Octaviante 4'
    Octavin 2'
    Basson-Hautbois 8'
    Voix Humaine 8'


    Crescendo Général (4 programs)
    Expression Positif
    Expression Récit

    Memory system (480 combinations)

    Mechanical key action and electrical stop action.

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