Pipe Organ Makes Shenandoah University its New Home


WINCHESTER, Va. - While students moved on to Shenandoah University's campus this week, so did another unique resident. After making a 300 mile journey, SU’s Conservatory is the proud new owner of a pipe organ.

"There is a chapel across campus which has a large organ, which is certainly suitable for concert work. But we've never had what you might call a studio organ,” said Dr. J. Thomas Mitts, associate professor of organ and director of Church Music at SU.

The studio organ, which is about three to four times smaller than a typical organ, came from the Church of St. Joseph in New York City. The organ is no stranger to students, as it shared the West Village neighborhood with New York University, and was often used by NYU’s music students.

"There was some work on the university's part. But it was because of the donor that the project was really made possible. So we are really grateful to ‘anonymous’ for donating the organ," said Mitts, with a grin.

The pipes produce the organ's sound and are made up of different materials like wood and metal. Different shapes and sizes contribute to different pitches and tones.

"So the organ can mix and match [sounds]. You can use one [sound] by itself, another one by itself, or in combination, and so forth," said Mitts, playing a number of different combinations on the keys and pedals as he spoke.

The pipe organ has 714 individual pipes, all which contribute to that distinct pipe organ sound.

"The more different sets of pipes you have, the more versatile it becomes. [It’s] just like an artist with different color paints on a palate," said Mitts.

For more info on SU’s upcoming concerts, click here.

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