The Parsons Organ

Organs have been in the church since the colonial period. The organ committee led by Erik William Suter then organist at the National Cathedral met after 2002 to decide about whether the church should embark upon procuring a new organ or renovating what was here. They decided the existing 1875 organ supplemented by an additional organ from Mary Washington College should not be renovated but that a new organ be purchased. In this case it would be custom built

After a review of organ builders, the committee settled on  Parsons Organ Builders of Canandaigua, NY. The firm is owned and operated by two brothers, Richard “Ric” and Calvin “Cal” Parsons, both of whom are fourth generation organ builders..

During the design process, Parsons worked closely with our architect to incorporate design elements of St. George’s architecture into the organ case.  The goal was to create an organ that blended well with the interior of our nave and looked like it had always been there.   

These elements include:

1) Three large arches that reflect the Ascension window over the altar,

2) Columns with carved capitals similar to those in the sanctuary,

3) Lower case grillwork to match the grillwork in the gallery rails, and

4) A rich walnut case built in the Italianate style, with polished tin façade pipes.

The details of the organ is as follows:

  • Parsons Opus 29
  • 3 Manual and Pedal
  • 44 ranks—47 Stops
  • 2667 pipes

In 2007, St. George’s signed the contracted and advanced funds to purchase funds in Europe to take advantage of the exchange rate. The organ was under construction until the summer of 2010 and then in the fall of 2010 was taken down from the Parson’s studio in New York and reassembled at St. George’s and completed by Christmas of 2010.

The Great, or main division of the organ is located in the center of the case.  The Positiv division is split on both sides of the Great, with the Swell division inside the tower.  The Pedal pipes will be located both in the tower and inside the main case.

The Parsons organ was dedicated Friday, May 6, 2011 by the Right Reverend Shannon Johnston, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Immediately following the formal dedication ceremony was a recital by critically acclaimed international concert organist Ken Cowan.

16’ Praestant 8’ Viola 16’ Lieblich Gedeckt 32’ Contra Bourdon
8’ Principal 8’ Gedeckt 8’ Geigen Principal 16’ Open Wood
8’ Harmonic Flute 8’ Spitz Flute 8’ Bourdon 16’ Praestant
8’ Gamba 4’ Principal 8’ Voix Celeste 16’ Bourdon
4’ Octave 4’ Koppel Flute 4’ Principal 16’ Lieblich Gedeckt
4’ Spire Flute 2 2/3’ Nasard 4’ Harmonic Flute 8’ Octave
2 2/3’ Twelfth 2’ Block Flute 2’ Doublette 8’ Open Flute
2’ Super Octave 1 3/5’ Tierce IV Plein Jeu 8’ Bourdon
IV Mixture III Scharff 16’ Bassoon 8’ Gedeckt
8’ Trumpet 8’ Cromorne 8’ Trumpet 4’ Choral Bass
8’ Festival Trumpet 8’ Festival Trumpet 8’ Oboe 4’ Gedeckt
Swell to Great Swell to Positive   16’ Posaune
Positive to Great     16’ Bassoon
      8’ Trumpet
      4’ Clarion
      Great to Pedal
      Swell to Pedal
      Positive to Pedal