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Tonal Philosophy

The Wicks Organ Company strives to fulfill the needs of its customers by creating tonal designs which will successfully bestride the ages. The pipe organ is beset with more agents of trend than any other musical instrument. Knowing that an ebb and flow in stylistic trends will continue to exist, Wicks has always persisted in a tonal philosophy which is sensitive to, but not a slave to trends. Wicks will always be a custom builder, and, it will always draw upon its rich history to create the very best instruments, regardless of style, era, or school.

One great advantage of working with the Wicks company is the longevity of the Wicks electro-mechanical chests with DIRECT-ELECTRIC® action. In that this system has an unprecedented, unmatched life-span, musicians can visit complete, working Wicks organs from 1915 to the present, whereby, they can study and critique living instruments from virtually every trend in 20th Century American organ building. By visiting a representative cross-section of Wicks organs from ten decades, it is possible to get a basic understanding of the many trends which have come in and out of fashion in American organ building as a whole.

With such a diverse, living opus list of instruments, it is truly impossible to place a "label" on the Wicks tonal stance. Indeed, the Wicks firm has built instruments of every style to be found in 20th Century American organ building, from the grand Willis-influenced organs of the 30’s and 40’s and the Theater Organs of the same era, to the Neo-Baroque instruments of the 60’s and 70’s and the "American -Classic" instruments of the 80’s and 90’s; and, the pendulum continues to swing!

Regardless of stylistic disposition, every Wicks organ is loyal to several grounded premises:

  • An adherence to the needs of the program it will serve
  • A devotion to the concept "Quality before Quantity"
  • Artistic execution of the given tonal style within the framework of the acoustical setting.
  • Intelligent design of tonal specifications, and learned construction and voicing of pipework , drawing from decades of empirical knowledge about every style and trend.
  • Extensive research into "special" designs which might not be common practice.
  • Close collaboration with physical designers, ensuring optimal tonal success and serviceability upon installation.

It is not for Wicks Pipe Organ Company to judge the tonal and mechanical work of others. Actually, the Wicks firm takes a great deal of pride in knowing that its progressive attitude through the years has helped the entire industry to advance, both tonally and mechanically. Organ builders far-and-wide have certainly tapped into Wicks’ courageous innovations, and they have also learned, not only from the adopted, tried, and true successes, but also from countless other experiments which have been improved and re-developed to perfection over time. Indeed, the tonal and mechanical lessons Wicks has yielded to the organ building industry are far reaching.

Recent News:
Aug 25
St. Vincent de Paul Concert
Aug 3
Wicks Opus 2735 Restoration Completed
Aug 3
Used Parts
Jun 17
Opus 5668, 4377 Complete Installation
May 26
Current Projects Updated
Recent Installations & Rebuilds:
FBC Simpsonville, South Carolina
6442 Cathedral of St. Helena, Helena, Montana
4400 Bethel Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minnesota
6435 First Presbyterian Church, Pitman, New Jersey
6434 First United Methodist Church, Hampton, Virginia
6430 St. Cecilia's Convent, Nashville, Tennesee

All text and images Copyright 2014, Wicks Organ Company Highland, Illinois

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