Bethel A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Julia Manzerova)
 
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First A.M.E. Church: Bethel

52 West 132nd Street
New York, N.Y. 10037
http://www.famebethel.org/


Organ Specifications:
52 West 132nd Street (since 1912)
III/35 Southfield Organ Builders, Op. 93 (2010)
III/22 Casavant Frères, Op. 1516 (1935)
• II/33 M.P. Möller, Op. 2835 (1920)
239 West 25th Street (1894-1912)
• II/23 George Jardine & Son (1878)
214 Sullivan Street (1862-1894)
• unknown
2nd Street between Avenues B & C (c.1826-1862)
• unknown
Mott Street (1819-c.1826)
• unknown


Bethel A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Byron Company, 1897)  
239 West 25th Street (1897)
 
Bethel A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Byron Company, 1897)  
239 West 25th Street (1897)
 
The First African Methodist Episcopal Church: Bethel was organized in 1819 when Bishop Richard Allen sent the Reverend William Lambert of the Philadelphia Conference to New York City to establish an independent church that would be directly controlled by African Americans. Twenty individuals united with Reverend William Lambert to lease a schoolroom on Mott Street for seven years, and thus, Bethel A.M.E. Church was organized. Bethel experienced some challenges in getting permanently situated. After moving several times to other rooms, the faithful members secured property on Second Street between Avenues B and C. The church was consecrated and it flourished for a time. In 1851, the Reverend J.B. Campbell was appointed to Bethel and it was at this time that African Americans began to migrate northward. Because modes of transportation were limited, African Americans could not easily or conveniently reach the church.

In 1862, the congregation purchased the former Sullivan Street Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1839 at 214 Sullivan Street, where they remained for the next three decades..

The congregation moved in 1894 to West 25th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the "Tenderloin district" of the city. The Gothic Revival building was erected in 1878 for the First Free-Will Baptist Church.

Bethel moved to its present location on West 132nd Street when it joined the exodus of African Americans to Harlem. Designed by Wengenroth & Matsin, the neo-Gothic brick sanctuary features a rock-face façade with a large window above the entrance.
             
  Casavant Freres organ, Op. 1516 (1935) in Bethel A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Casavant Freres)
   
  Southfield Organ, Op. 93 (2010) in First AME Bethel Church - New York City (photo: Dave Schmauch)
Southfield Organ Builders
Springfield, Mass. – Opus 93 (2010)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 43 registers, ~35 ranks









The present organ is the work of Southfield Organ Builders of Springfield, Mass., who in 2010 tonally and mechanically rebuilt the Casavant Frères organ that had been installed in 1935. Southfield added several new stops and updated the console with a solid state combination action.

Following are the specifications taken from photographs of the updated console. Pipecounts and extensions are suggested, based on the previous Casavant organ, and do not indicate any digital stops that may have been installed.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
68
2
  Fifteenth
61
8
  Rohrflute
68
1 1/3
  Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Gemshorn
68
8
  Trumpet
68
4
  Octave
68
  Chimes
CH
4
  Harmonic Flute
68
     
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Gedeckt
68
1
  Plein Jeu III ranks
183
8
  Diapason
68
8
  Trompette
68
8
  Bourdon
68
8
  Oboe
68
8
  Viola
68
8
  Vox Humana
68
8
  Voix Celeste
68
  Tremolo
4
  Principal
68
  Swell 16'  
4
  Waldflute
68
  Swell 4'  
2
  Flautino
61
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Geigen Diapason
68
8
  Clarinet
68
8
  Gedeckt
68
  Tremolo  
8
  Dulciana
68
8
  Harp (TC)
8
  Unda Maris (TC?)
68
4
 
Celesta
61 bars
4
  Spitzflute
68
 
Chimes
25 bells
2 2/3
  Nazard
61
  Choir 16'  
2
  Principal
61
  Choir 4'  
1 3/5
  Tierce
61
     
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Untersatz
32
  Bombarde
16
  Principal
16
  Posaune
16
  Major Flute
32
16
  Basson (ext. SW Oboe)
12
16
  Subbass
44
8
  Trompette
16
  Gedeckt
SW
  Blank
8
  Octave
4
  Clarion
GT
8
  Flute (fr. Subbass)
4
  Oboe
SW
4
  Choralbass
   
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8'   Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
               
Adjustable Combination Pistons
   
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6 (toe)
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (thumb & toe)
  General Cancel (thumb)
  Setter (thumb)
               
Reversibles
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)   Choir to Pedal (toe)
    Swell to Pedal (toe)   Full Organ (thumb & toe)
               
Expression
    Balanced Pedal – Swell   Balanced Pedal – Great
    Balanced Pedal – Choir   Crescendo Pedal
               
Indicators
    Crescendo          
    Wind          
                
  Casavant Freres organ, Op. 1516 (1935) in Bethel A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Casavant Freres)
Casavant Frères, Limitée
St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada – Opus 1516 (1935)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 24 registers, 22 stops, 22 ranks


The Casavant Frères factory specifications (Aug. 27, 1935) indicate that the detached console was of black walnut with interior fittings of polished mahogany. Casavant did not provide a case, display pipes or a screen, retaining those from the previous Möller organ.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
68
4
  Harmonic Flute
68
8
  Hohl Flute
68
8
  Trumpet
68
8
  Gemshorn
68
    Harp
CH
4
  Principal
68
  Chimes
CH
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Gedeckt
68
2
  Flautino
61
8
  Open Diapason
68
8
  Oboe
68
8
  Stopped Diapason
68
8
  Vox Humana
68
8
  Viola da Gamba
68
  Harp
CH
8
  Voix Celeste
68
    Chimes
CH
4
  Wald Flute
68
    Tremulant  
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Geigen Principal
68
8
  Harp Sub (TC)
8
  Melodia
68
4
 
Harp
61 bars
8
  Dulciana
68
 
Chimes
25 bells
4
  Dolce Flute
68
  Tremulant  
8
  Clarinet
68
     
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
16
  Major Bass
32
8
  Stopped Flute (fr. Bdn.)
16
  Bourdon
44
  Chimes
CH
16
  Gedeckt
SW
     
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal 8', 4'   Great 16', 4'
    Choir to Pedal 8', 4'   Swell 16', 4'
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir 16', 4'
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'    
               
Adjustable Combination Pistons
   
Great & Pedal Organs Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (thumb)
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3 (toe)
  General Release (thumb)
               
Reversible Pistons
    Great to Pedal (thumb & toe)  
    Swell to Pedal (thumb)  
    Choir to Pedal (thumb)  
               
Balanced Pedals
    Swell Pedal to Swell  
    Swell Pedal to Choir  
    Crescendo on all stops and couplers  
               
Indicators
    Crescendo          
    Wind          
    Voltmeter          
               
Previous organ in current church:

M.P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 2835 (1920)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 33 registers


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
               
  George Jardine & Sons organ (ca.1894) in Bethel A.M.E. Church - New York City (photo: Byron Company, 1897)
  Jardine Organ (Byron Company, 1897)
Organ in church located at 239 West 25th Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (1878)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 23 stops


The organ in the former First Free-Will Baptist Church on West 25th Street was built by George Jardine & Son of New York City, and was probably contemporary with the opening of the building in 1878. The two-manual organ had 23 stops and was located in the rear gallery, as seen in the 1897 photo above. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
               
Sources:
     Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     First A.M.E. Church: Bethel web site: http://www.famebethel.org/
     Scheer, Stanley. Factory Specification (Aug. 27, 1935) of Casavant Frères Organ, Op. 1516.

Illustrations:
     Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). 1897 photos of exterior; interior; gallery showing George Jardine & Son organ (1894).
     Casavant Frères Archives. Interior showing Casavant Frères organ, Op. 1516 (1935). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Manzerova, Julia. Exterior of present building.
     Schmauch, Dave. Chancel and console of Southfield organ, Op. 93 (2010).