The Diapason, January 2007

Cover feature

Lewtak Pipe Organ Builders, Camillus, New York: Holy Trinity Church, Utica, New York

Lewtak Pipe Organ Builders, Camillus, New York
Holy Trinity Church,
Utica, New York

The pipe organ at Holy Trinity Church is, without doubt, a real treasure—not just for the parish community of Holy Trinity, but for the greater Utica area as well. It is a splendid instrument originally built in 1923 by Clarence E. Morey and his firm, located in Utica, New York. The organ has 29 speaking ranks divided among three manuals and pedal. Two of the manual divisions are enclosed in expression boxes. Interestingly, the original “identity” of this organ has been very well disguised. Previous restorers took down the plaque with the builder’s name, and only after opening the windchests did we discover the name of the original maker. The pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Rev. Arthur Hapanowicz, took it upon himself to find some information about the original builder. Since little is known about this builder, it is worth providing a bit of history. Following is the obituary from the Utica newspaper, The Observer-Dispatch, June 22, 1935:

March 31, 1872–June 20 1935



Clarence E. Morey, 63, 1537 Oneida Street, organ builder, died in his home Thursday night after an illness of several months.  Mr. Morey was born in Little Falls, March 31, 1872. He was educated in the public schools and in Fairfield Seminary, and then came to Utica. He worked in the office of Edward D. Mathews, attorney, for a short time. Next he worked in the office of Crouse & Brandagee, clothing manufacturers.

Bought Equipment
In 1893, with A. L. Barnes he formed the firm of Morey & Barnes and bought the equipment of the organ factory of the late John G. Marklove and continued the manufacture of organs. Three years later Mr. Morey bought out the interest of his partner and continued the business alone. In 1901 he built a new factory at 305 Niagara Street and moved his business there. In 1925 Mr. Morey sold this building and built a new factory at 1024 Champlin Avenue. He has since continued his business at this location. During his long career in the business Mr. Morey had constructed a great many organs and while they are in use in various parts of New York and adjoining states, about a score of them are used in Utica. Mr. Morey had been from its organization in 1917 a junior member of the firm of Earl B. Worden & Company, dealers in pianos and talking machines.

Active in Organizations
Mr. Morey was a member of Utica Lodge 47, F. & A.M Rotary Club, Utica Council, Boy Scouts of America, Winchell Camp 43, of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Oneida Historical Society, and the Commercial Travelers Mutual Accident Association of America. He attended Westminster Presbyterian Church. February 10, 1897, Mr. Morey married Miss Jean H. Brockett, who is living. He has two sons, Frank B. of Albany, NY and Nathaniel B. of Hamburg, NY. Five grandchildren.

In many ways the organ at Holy Trinity Church is a special and valuable instrument. Many of the pipes have outstanding sonic qualities, rarely found in other organs. Among stops that deserve special mention is a Double Flute 8′ (Concert Flute) on the Great, wooden pipes, each pipe having two mouths. It was originally voiced with very natural, open and unobstructed sound of an unusual strength. Another stop of particular beauty is the Mixture III in the same division, which adds brightness to the overall sound, but without the unpleasant shrillness so often found in other instruments of lesser quality.
The organ at Holy Trinity Church was originally built with tubular-pneumatic action, with its complicated array of lead tubing. Many years later, probably in the 1950s, the action was electrified. This system, even though much better than the original purely pneumatic arrangement, requires careful maintenance and complete renovation after a certain number of years. Also, as time goes by, every organ naturally goes through the process of aging—dust accumulates, leather deteriorates, air conduits start leaking, and many other elements of the inner structure call for some serious attention. The organ had been renovated in 1972 by Bryant Parsons & Sons (currently Parsons Organbuilders) of Canandaigua, New York. The work performed was good, but some 30-plus years later the instrument was obviously in need of serious repairs.

In the spring of 2006, Holy Trinity Parish contracted Lewtak Pipe Organ Builders of Camillus, New York, to carry out all necessary work in regards to both the internal technical problems and the external new appearance of this aging instrument. A total overhaul was performed, and a new façade was built over the past six months. The work done was truly all-encompassing: the organ was completely disassembled; all pipes were taken out for thorough cleaning and repairs of scrolls and stoppers; windchests were thoroughly repaired, including some releathering; nearly all air conduits were replaced; the entire pipe support was renovated and enhanced.

There was a big problem with the structural support of the Great windchest, which rested on one of the 16′ pipes from the Pedal! We had no choice but to design and build a new support for this part of the organ. Twelve new pipes for the lowest octave of Bourdon 16′ were added to improve the bass range of the Great division. Several ranks of the original pipework were revoiced to make them stronger in sound. The electrical system was also carefully checked and repaired, all contacts cleaned, and the combination action repaired.
In addition, we added a completely new appearance to this organ by building a new façade. The cabinetry is made of solid white oak. Original pipes were stripped of the several layers of old paint and cut to new dimensions. The dynamic configuration of the new design is the original creation of my brother, architect Pawel Lewtak. The colors on the new front of the organ were carefully selected from the two predominant shades of the stained glass windows and the entrance doors.

It is with great joy that we present this organ back to Holy Trinity Parish. We are confident that the beauty of the King of Instruments will enhance all liturgical celebrations and will serve this church community for many years to come. It is truly gratifying to know that there are still people who believe in the value of a real pipe organ. During his rededicatory message, the church’s music director and organist, Stephen Zielinski, stated: “There was never a doubt as to what to do with our aging pipe organ. The electronic substitute was never an option. This is because we know that the pipe organ fills our church with beautiful sound, and the electronic organ would simply fill it with noise . . .” To this, we just say AMEN.

Tomasz Lewtak

The rededication ceremony and organ recital took place on Sunday, October 29, 2006 at 5:00 p.m. The performance featured Gail Archer, who serves as Chair of the Music Department at Barnard College, Columbia University, and Professor of Organ at Manhattan School of Music. We are most grateful for her gracious acceptance of our invitation.

The following craftsmen took part in the restoration of the organ at Holy Trinity Church in Utica, New York:
Tomasz Lewtak—mechanical design, voicing, woodworking
Pawel Lewtak—façade design, woodworking
Janusz Rutkowski—general construction
Iwona Henschke—pipe stenciling
Gerry DeMoors—electronics and electrical components
Rita Ostrom–tuning and voicing assistance
Photo credit: Tomasz Lewtak

1923 C. E. Morey organ

16′ Bourdon
8′ Open Diapason
8′ Viola da Gamba
8′ Concert Flute
8′ Dulciana
4′ Octave
4′ Flute d’Amour
III Mixture
8′ Trumpet
Chimes (21 tubes)
Gt 16′–UO–4′
Sw/Gt 16′–8′–4′
Ch/Gt 16′–8′–4′

8′ Open Diapason
8′ Stopped Diapason
8′ Aeolian
8′ Salicional
8′ Quintadena
8′ Vox Celestis
4′ Harmonic Flute
2′ Piccolo
8′ Oboe
8′ Vox Humana
8′ Cornopean
Sw 16′–UO–4′

8′ Geigen Principal
8′ Melodia
8′ Dolce
8′ Unda Maris
8′ Flauto Traverso
Ch 16′–UO–4′
Sw/Ch 16′–8′–4′

16′ Double Open Diapason
16′ Bourdon
16′ Lieblich Gedact
8′ Flute
Gt/Ped 8′–4′
Sw/Ped 8′–4′
Ch/Ped 8′–4′

Source: THE DIAPASON January 2007 Volume: 98 Number: 1
Copyright © 2007 Scranton Gillette Communications