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Möller | Op. 4925 | 1928 | 4/28

New York Military Academy

ABOUT THE ORGAN

Nestled up in the scenic hills of Orange County, New York, just North of West Point, sits another prestigious military campus. The New York Military Academy (NYMA) located in Cornwal-On-Hudson, NY, is one of the oldest military schools in the United States. Founded in 1889 by Charles Jefferson Wright, an American Civil War veteran, he believed that a military structure provided the best environment for academic achievement. The co-ed college prep academy is for grades 8-12 and hosts students from around the world. 

In 2015, the school faced financial difficulties and was headed to bankruptcy auction. In September of that year, a group of Chinese investors led by Vincent Tianquan Mo, Chairman and CEO of SouFun Holdings, purchased the school for $15.825 million and reopened the school two months later in November. Since then, the school has been working to recruit new students and repair/update its campus. 

Most of our readers know NYMA for something much more than its academic history. Inside the Davis Chapel sits the second largest theatre pipe organ in New York; the 1928 4/33 Moller Opus 4925. Designed by H.Leroy Baumgartner of Yale University and built by the M.P. Moller, Inc firm of Hagerstown, MD, this one of a kind organ was dedicated to “Ours Who Served”. 

 

In the design phase of the instrument, Mr. Baumgartner realized that the demand for an Organ for NYMA covers “A wider scope than has ever been made for a Pipe Organ Before”


From the brochure, it continues, “The Organ will be used for Chapel Services as well as for Organ Recitals which demand all of the requisites of a Church and Concert Organ in tonal variety, power and dignity. It will also be used to accompany motion pictures and other forms of entertainment, which made it requisite that additional stops, Traps and other effects be included, so that every mood of the motion picture could be properly accompanied by the Organ, from the most sublime scenes through all the gamuts of human life and experience to harsh comedy. In fact, the Organ must contain all the requisites of the best in the Church and Concert Organ as well as the musical requirements of the modern Theatre Organ, and yet these have all to be developed and blended together so that if Full Organ was played the musical results would be the same as that of a Symphony Orchestra, with no strident or outstanding effects or tones.” 
Quite a tall order for a Chapel organ in 1928! 

TONAL ANALYSIS

Great

16’      Bourdon           

8’        1st Diapason       

8’        2nd Diapason           

8’        Double Flute

8’        Concert Flute        

8’        Soft Viol

8’        Gemshorn          

4’        Octave

4’        Flute

2 2/3’   Twelfth

2’        Fifteenth

1 1/3’    Nineteenth

1’        Twenty-Second

8’        Harmonic Trumpet  

          Xylophone (Single)

          Xylophone (Repeating)

Pedal

16’       Diapason  

16’       Bourdon

16’       Soft Viol

16’       Gedeckt

8’        Solo Flute

8’        Solo Viol

8’        Soft Viol

8’        Gedeckt

16’       Tuba

8’        Tuba

4’        Tuba

          Bass Drum (Stroke)

          Snare Drum (Roll)

          Small Cymbal

Swell

16’       Gedeckt     

8’        Diapason    

8’        Harmonic Flute   

8’        Gedeckt       

8’        Viole d’Orchestre  

8’        Viole Celeste     

8’        Salicional    

4’        Harmonic Flute

4’        Salicional

2 2/3’    Twelfth

2’        Piccolo       

16’       Oboe (TC)

8’        Tuba      

8’        Oboe       

          Tremolo

          Sub

          Super

          Orchestra Bells (Single)

          Orchestra Bells (Repeating)

Echo

8’        Echo Flute        

8’        Muted Viole   

8’        Muted Celeste  

4’        Echo Flute         

4’        Muted Celeste II

8’        Vox Humana 

          Tremolo

          Chimes     

Choir

16’       Soft Viol        

8’        Diapason      

8’        Concert Flute

8’        Soft Viol

8’        Celeste     

8’        Gemshorn

4’        Flute        

4’        Celeste II

4’        Gemshorn

2 2/3’    Nazard

2’        Flautino

1 3/5’    Tierce

16’       Clarinet (TC)

8’        Clarinet    

          Tremolo

          Sub

          Super

          Celeste

          Celeste Sub

          Snare Drum (Tap)

          Snare Drum (Roll)

          Snare Drum (Muffled Roll)

          Tambourine

          Castanets

          Tom-Tom

          Indian Block

ABOUT THE ORGAN

For the history of NYTOS’s involvement in the NYMA Moller, Tom Stehle tells the story best. I was hired in 1967 to teach English at NYMA, and of course, that's when I discovered the organ.  I continued working at NYMA (got my Masters in guidance in 1969 and was appointed Director of Guidance in 1976) until 1983, when I was hired by Goshen Central HS as a guidance counselor (later became Director of Guidance).   I served as organist at NYMA from the mid 1970's until 2014. 
 
I was already a member of NYTOS and ATOS when I started working at NYMA.  A good friend of mine introduced me to ATOS (then AATOE-- American Association of Theatre Organ Enthusiasts) and NYTOS (then NYTOE).  By rare coincidence, another AATOE member, John Caruthers, was also hired by NYMA in 1967.  At that time only part of the organ was playing due primarily to blown pneumatics (none of the ranks in the solo chamber were working), but it was used for Sunday Chapel services, both Protestant and Catholic.  In 1969 the blower motor burned out and the organ was dead.  John and I convinced the superintendent that we could restore the organ if the Academy would buy a new motor for the blower, which they did, and we began the process of replacing the blown leather pouches in the chests.  Hank Van Seters was the next door neighbor to our band master and also lived in Cornwall, and he introduced me to Hank when he learned that we were interested in repairing the organ.  Hank had maintained the NYMA organ back in the late 1940's and into the '50's, and was very familiar with it.  Besides working at West Point, Hank had his own pipe organ maintenance business. 

Beginning in the early 1970’s the Academy along with NYTOS began to present a series public concerts on the NYMA Moller, starting first with organist Lee Erwin (Lee returned regularly to perform) that attracted audiences from the neighboring mid-Hudson region and from the greater tri-state area.  Other organists who performed in concert have included Jeff Barker, Juan Cardona, Jr., Cameron Carpenter, Frank Cimmino, Dennis James, Bob Maidhof, David Messineo, Ashley Miller, Allen Mills, Ralph Ringstad, Jr., and Paul Roberts, among others.  In 2009 the Academy announced that it would close at the end of the academic year due to declining enrollment and financial problems, and we engaged Ralph Ringstad, Jr. to perform a “Grand Finale” concert in June 2010 which attracted a large audience.  Sadly, it proved to be Ralph’s last public concert before his accidental death later in the year.  Interestingly, Ralph had played his first public concert on the NYMA Moller in 1980.

Unfortunately, four years ago a leak in the chapel roof resulted in water damage to several pipe chests and a relay in the Swell chamber, and water found its way across the ceiling and leaked onto the console, causing serious damage, and rendering the organ essentially unplayable.          
 

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