Underwood Memorial United Methodist Church - Atlanta
The historic Underwood Memorial United Methodist Church has been located in Atlanta, at Howell Mill Road and Holmes Street, for almost 100 years. In the 1970s, the church purchased a modest pipe organ, which consisted only of seven ranks of non-expressive pipe work, and one 32-note pedal rank. The two-manual console did not have a combination action.
The inability to control the volume of the sound due to the lack of expression, and the limited specification (no reed stops, mixtures, or celestes), restricted the use and effectiveness of the organ for choral accompaniment and worship service. The organ also had problems associated with damage caused by a roof leak which affected both the console and organ relays.
The church leadership appointed an organ study committee to entertain proposals for rebuilding the organ, making additions to the organ, and replacing the organ with a new digital instrument. After much study and visits to local organ installations, the committee chose Chapel Music Company for the organ project. They decided to replace their original console with a new custom Rodgers Model 797 digital organ, designed to interface with their existing pipework, and to renovations to their pipe organ.
A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, the parent company of Rodgers Organs by Chapel Music Company, was responsible for designing and engineering the pipe organ relays, the pipe organ renovation, and tonal finishing of the organ pipes.
During the study, selection and installation process, the church was fortunate to have supporters for the organ project, who included: Mr. Fay Pearce, consultant, fundraiser, and substitute organist; Mr. Charles Loudermilk, a generous contributor; and Mr. Laurence Manous, who was appointed organist by the music committee during this project.
Underwood Memorial Methodist Church thanks God for their wonderful instrument and all those who made it possible, leaving a rich legacy. It is the church’s hope that this instrument will continue to be a part of the worship experience and ever stand as a tribute to the goodness of God.