The Organs of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church occupies a unique position in the history of organ building.

The will of Barbara Schmidt, dated January 7, 1795, bequeathed…”that part of the money arising from the sale of my Estate be applied as follows: part thereof towards purchasing an organ for said Congregation….”  Sometime between the death of Barbara Schmidt in 1798 and 1803,  Christ Church commissioned David Tannenberg, famous American organ builder of  Lititz ,  PA , to build the organ specified in the   York  widow’s Will.  In the spring of 1804, the completed instrument was brought to   York  where Tannenberg and his assistant worked five weeks to install it.  This was Tannenberg’s 35th organ…and his last…for the famed organ builder did not live to see it completed. While tuning the organ, which was installed on the rear gallery, David Tannenberg suffered a stroke, fell from the scaffolding, and died three days later on May 19, 1804. The instrument was first played at his funeral services and Tannenberg was buried in  York . 

Moved several times to different parts of the church as the congregation and the church itself grew, the Tannenberg organ was kept in playing condition until 1945 when it was given to The York Heritage Trust. The organ was restored and erected at the York Heritage Trust’s headquarters on East Market Street , where it may be seen and heard today.

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In 1880, the congregation contracted for the installation of an organ to be built by Derrick Felgemacher of Erie , Pennsylvania .  This instrument was installed in chambers divided to right and to the left of the chancel of the church, and served until 1926 when the Möller Company rebuilt and refurbished it with the inclusion of new wind chests and a new console.

In the fall of 1968, a number of organ companies made surveys and recommendations regarding the possibility of a new instrument for Christ Church .  At this time, the Möller Company recommended an entirely new instrument to be placed in the gallery as being the liturgically and historically correct position for the choir and organ. Such placement of the organ also guarantees ideal projection for music.

During the spring and summer of 1969, a specification was determined, along with a physical design.  The entire instrument was to be encased to insure a cohesive ensemble sound; a special encased division (called a “Rückpositiv”) was to be placed on the gallery rail which would provide special support for the congregation located below.  The design of the Rückpositiv was to be inspired by the case of the Tannenberg organ originally installed on the gallery at Christ Church 150 years earlier.

The organ reflects a renaissance in American organ building.  It follows the “Werkprinzipal” specification design in that the principal pitches are placed on the 16’ level in the pedal; the 8’ level in the Great; the 4’ level in the Rückpositiv; and the 2’ level in the Swell, allowing the tiered effect and clarity of line so necessary for polyphonic music.  The organ is totally unenclosed with the exception of the expressive Swell which is fitted with shades that open a full ninety degrees allowing for maximum egress of sound.  This is the first instrument in central Pennsylvania to adhere to these strict principles of organ building first expressed following the Reformation in North Germany .  The organ was dedicated in 1971.

The Möller Company was committed to the crafting of a useful, beautiful adornment for Christ Church – an instrument which would provide enrichment to the musical life of York and central Pennsylvania as well.  We trust that the result of these labors will long enhance the worship life of Christ Church and inspire all who experience it in both sight and sound.

The organ may be heard in many recitals and in the nearly two-hundred worship services each year.


The Harpsichord make is: Hannover                                                                Yamaha C2, 5’8”



Opus 10681

                     GREAT ORGAN                                                                                    RŰCKPOSITIV

                              UNENCLOSED                                                                                              UNENCLOSED                                 

Prinzipal                                8’                            61 Pipes                 Holzgedackt                         8’                            61 Pipes

Bordun                                  8’                            61 Pipes                 Prinzipal                                4’                            61 Pipes

Oktave                                   4’                            61 Pipes                 Blockflöte                             2’                            61 Pipes

Weitprinzipal                        2’                            61 Pipes                 Quinte                                    1 – 1/3’                  61 Pipes

Mixtur (1-1/3’)                     IV Ranks               244 Pipes               Zimbel (1/2’)                        III Ranks              183 Pipes

Trompete                              8’                            61 Pipes                 Krummhorn                         8’                            61 Pipes


         SWELL ORGAN                                                                                       PEDAL ORGAN


Rohrbordun                       16’                             12 Pipes                 Prinzipal                             16’                             32 Pipes

Rohrflöte                               8’                            61 Pipes                 Rohrbordun                       16’                             12 Pipes

Gemshorn                             8’                            61 Pipes                 Oktav                                     8’                            32 Pipes

Gemshorn Celeste (T.C.)    8’                            49 Pipes                 Rohrflöte  (Sw)                     8’                            12 Pipes

Spitzflöte                               4’                            61 Pipes                 Choralbass                            4’                            32 Pipes

Prinzipal                                2’                            61 Pipes                 Rauschquinte (2 – 2/3’)     II Ranks                    64 Pipes

Sesquialtera (2 – 2/3’)        II Ranks                  98 Pipes                 Aculta (1 – 1/3’)                  II Ranks                   24 Pipes

Scharf (1’)                             III Ranks              183 Pipes               Posaune                              16’                             32 Pipes

Trompette                             8’                            61 Pipes                 Krummhorn (Pos.)              4’

Schalmei                               4’                            61 Pipes


                ACCESSORIES                                                                                                  COUPLERS

Pistons No. 1-6 affecting Great                                                                                         Great to Pedal                     

Pistons No. 1-6 affecting Swell                                                                                         Swell to Pedal

Pistons No. 1-6 affecting Positiv                                                                                      Positiv to Pedal

Pistons No. 1-12 affecting full organ (duplicated by toe studs)                                 Swell to Great 16’

Toe Studs No. 1-2-3-4 affecting Pedal                                                                            Swell to Great 8’

General Cancel                                                                                                                    Positiv to Great

Sforzanado (duplicated by toe stud)                                                                               Swell to Positiv

Balanced Crescendo Pedal                                                                                                Swell to Swell 16’

Zymbelstern                                                                                                                         Unison off (Sw.)

99 levels of memory                                                                                                           Swell to Swell 4’