From the mid 1930 though the 1960s the Aeolian Skinner was the top of the line in American pipe organs. Donald Harrison, an Englishman, ran Aeolian Skinner from 1935- 1956 when he died. Other American organ makers tried to copy old styles from European makers. Harrison studied those designs but in the end gave them up for his own artistic touch and inspiration that became the most respected and sought after American organ – the Aeolian- Skinner Organ.
Roy Perry (1906-1978) was the Texas representative for the Aeolian- Skinner Company and was responsible for 25 % of all sales. He had been quoted that the organs sold themselves (there was often a 3 year waiting list). But more than this Roy was a largely self – taught artist for determining the final tonal personalities of the organs he sold. “He was a master at figuring out dimensions and adjustments of pipes to produce the desired sounds. The organs he voiced have a fine balance of warmth, clarity and color with great finesse.”
Fifth Church’s pipe organ, installed in 1955, is Opus 1279 of the Aeolian Skinner Organ Company. It was one of the last instruments designed by the legendary Donald Harrison. The tonal finishing was done by Roy Perry. In 1968 the company installed an additional four stops. From 2010 to 2012 five stops were added using period Skinner pipework. The two manual organ now has 27 ranks with 1530 pipes. Though it is unique as an accompanying instrument since all divisions are enclosed it is a fully developed specification that can play literature from all time periods.
You are warmly invited to hear this beautiful instrument played expertly by Bob Winn every Sunday morning at our Church services held at Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist 5655 W Northwest Highway Sundays at 10:30 am.
Resources: Dallas Morning News “Celebrating a Great legacy of Texas Pipe Organs.” By Scot Cantrell.