Hall Pipe Organ Competition
The William C. Hall Pipe Organ Competition
The William C. Hall Pipe Organ Competition was founded as the “San Antonio Pipe Organ Competition” in 1970 at University Presbyterian Church, largely through the efforts of Mr. William C. (Bill) Hall who originally conceived it out of his great love of church music. His purpose was to ensure the future of organ music by encouraging the study of organ by students who would later become professional organists in churches. For the first 16 years he almost single-handedly brought it into being by organizing the many necessary volunteers, raising money for cash prizes and securing prominent organists from across the country to serve as judges. Following his death, as a tribute to him, the title of the Competition was officially changed in 1986 to reflect his name.
The full-day competition is held in the Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio and has gained a reputation as one of the most outstanding organ competitions in the country. Contestants consist of both graduate and undergraduate status and are limited to only organ students from Texas universities.
Contact Tom Dooling for more information on the pipe organ competition.
The Robert L. Sipe Organ of First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church’s Robert L. Sipe organ, completed in March 1999, is an instrument of 55 ranks of pipes, many of which came from the preexisting 1968 Holtkamp instrument, but which have been rescaled and revoiced. The detached, three-manual console is built from mahogany and rosewood with sharps from ebony and natural key coverings carved from 100,000 year-old mammoth tusks. Each of the pipes is handmade to specific requirements, some of metal, some of wood. All the pipes have been carefully voiced for the acoustics of First Presbyterian Church.
All the pipes in the façade are speaking pipes. Visible from the chancel are Pedal Principal pipes and horizontal Festival Trumpet pipes. The upper center section behind the façade contains the Great organ. The enclosed Swell division is positioned behind the Great. The enclosed Choir division, decorated with Scottish thistles, is beneath the Great division. The Pedal division is divided on both sides of the organ. The Festival Trumpets may be played either from the Choir, the Great or the Pedal divisions.
The instrument contains a number of special features. It has two consoles, each with 24 Solid State Logic computerized memory banks, a programmable Crescendo pedal and Sforzando, MIDI capabilities and a transposer.