Downtown Presbyterian Church, Nashville
Walking into the Downtown Presbyterian Church sanctuary for the first time it is hard to say which is more striking: the Egyptian Revival motif or the organ. Both the art and the organ come with a long and rich history.A visit to Downtown Presbyterian Church represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Nashville trip app to plot your vacation.
The church has burned down twice, the second time in 1849. When the church was rebuilt (1849-1851), an organ was not affordable. However, one was purchased in 1858 and installed in the gallery at rear of the sanctuary. During the Civil War, the Union Army occupied the total building and removed everything including the organ. A second organ was purchased and installed in the front of the sanctuary in 1874.
In 1913, the current pipe organ was built and installed by Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Connecticut. It contained 37 ranks with 2,130 pipes and a chime system as well as an echo organ located in the northeast corner of the balcony.
By 1972 it was time for extensive renovations. This was done by the Milner Organ Company and required removing most of the old pipes and replacing them with smaller pipes in front to give better sound quality. The organ now has a total of 47 ranks plus extensions and 2,709 pipes.
In 2008 the organ was again renovated by Milner. This renovations included re-leathering 250 manual motors, 40 stop actions, 20 pedal borrows, 85 large and small pedal pouches and the internal parts of the echo organ. The new leather used is a chrome-tanned pneumatic leather, guaranteed to last for at least 50 years.
Clearly, the pipe organ is an important part of who DPC is. It has tolled at funerals, rejoiced at baptisms, and ushered in the bride at countless weddings. It has guided our praise to God and reminded us of the depth and power of our music and our faith. The organ is a key touchstone to our past.
But the organ is not just a relic from our past. We know it will also play an important part in our future. More and more we are finding that younger worshippers appreciate music that has a past, that has the strength of tradition. Also, organ music can be as lively and engaging as an electric guitar. In other words, organ music has a wide appeal. It is not the sole domain of musical snobs or "the older generation." Organ music provides an entrance to our faith that is accessible to young and old, the musical elite and the musical neophyte. We pray that our organ will help us grow in faith and ministry for many years to come.
You can hear the organ by joining us at Sunday Worship when it is played by our Musical Director and Organist Dr. William Taylor and accompanied by our choir.
We also hold annual organ recitals and other special events that draw organ players and enthusiasts from far and wide.
Downtown Presbyterian Church Reviews
Without a doubt, one of the most unique Protestant Churches you’ll ever step foot in. Very well done. Tremendous history. It initially seemed so bizarre to step into a Christian church and see what aw... more »
If you are able to try to attend the Sunday Church service. The Egyptomania abounds and the church itself is beautiful but the people of the congregation outshine them all. more »
I LOVE this church. I got married in this beautifully historic sanctuary, and also was so blessed to use almost all of the building for my wedding portrait. Michael Arwood, the wedding coordinator, was amazing, as well as Dena Swoner, who helped us with the contracts, scheduling, and many other details. The people here are so very kind and welcoming. We would not have wanted anything more for our special day. We also love to come here for speakers and live music. I have met Nadia Bolz-Weber here, as well as some of the most eclectic underground jazz pianists and instrumentalists. Patty Griffin recorded her album 'Downtown Church' in the sanctuary. The acoustics are incredible there and in the chapel. Many other artists have recorded in this sacred space, but the Patty one is extra special because my husband and I claim one of the songs, 'Little Fire' as our song. When we got married, I was able to sing it right where Patty did. And that's just a few of the great things about this church...LOVE. (Photo credit David and Bradley Thomas)
Very cool building, but it's locked and you can't get inside.
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