A Dream Comes True

September 28, 2003

     The dedication of The Harrah Symphonic Organ is the realization of a dream for many memhers of Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church. Several members of the congregation and the United Methodist Women of Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church had for several years desired to have a pipe organ in the sanctuary.

In 1997, Allen Harrah began attending Forrest Burdette. Mr. Harrah expressed a desire to build a memorial pipe organ at Forrest Burdette. The United Methodist Women were sure that God had brought this blessing to our church as an answer to many prayers. At the request of the United Methodist Women, Mr. Harrah made a proposal to the trustees in the year 2000 to build a combination Pipe and Digital organ. The proposal included remodeling the chancel area to accommodate the pipes, the organ console and also to enhance the acoustics of the music area.

work crew
     The United Methodist Women took on the task of being the primary fundraisers for this project. They were not only successful, but raised an amount in excess of their original commitment. All gifts have been given to the Glory of God, in recognition of His blessings and in hopes that this church and the community at large will enjoy the fruits of this project in the years to come. It is fitting to "Give God the Glory - For the Things He Has Done."

     The remodeling work was concluded in October of 2000. Mr. Harrah designed the console and chose R. A. Colby, Inc. of Johnson City, Tennessee to build the console in June, 2001. The Walker Technical Company of Zionsville, Pennsylvania was chosen to supply, install and voice all the digital components of the organ. Mr. Harrah handcrafted the balance of the organ. He had several loyal volunteers who provided many hours of labor in the installation. Approximately three years of his life are invested in this organ in addition to a lifetime of knowledge.

     The organ is a six manual and pedal organ with 456 draw knobs. It has 2600 actual pipes and more than 20,000 digital pipe notes. It is the largest draw knob console in the world. The digital reproduction of sounds in this instrument brings to life the great works and sounds created by various pipe artisans, living and dead. This creates a pallet of sounds that seldom exists in a single instrument. The use of computers provides the ability to graft the best of all pipe organ parameters together, making the reproduced sounds of various builders work together in one magnificent intstrument. This organ is an example of the melting pot of nations with German, French, English and American.

Organ Console
The Harrah Symphonic Organ Console