The William G. Kibitz Memorial Organ

Christ Church is blessed with the glory of a majestic new pipe organ. The much needed new instrument is dedicated to the glory of God as a memorial to the long serving rector of Christ Church, the Rev'd William G. Kibitz (1910-2002). Coming to Christ Church as a seminarian and then curate throughout the 1940s, Fr. Kibitz served faithfully as the eighth rector of the parish from 1950 until 1978. His influence was felt throughout the national Episcopal Church for decades as generations of new priests, seminarians, and students of Yale University were guided under his tutelage. Fr. Kibitz was an organist himself and oversaw the last refurbishment of the parish organ. Fr. Kibitz departed this life in January 2002 at the age of ninety-two and his ashes are interred in the Memorial Garden of Christ Church. The new Lively-Fulcher instrument makes a fitting tribute to a significant and beloved figure in our parish history.

Many years of meetings, discussion and design are behind the new Lively-Fulcher masterpiece. It exhibits superb craftsmanship, magnificent tonal voicing, careful dedication to the acoustic of the church building, and an overall capability of meeting the needs of an Anglo-Catholic parish and its liturgical and artistic requirements. The organ is Lively-Fulcher's first installation in New England.

The partners of Lively-Fulcher Organbuilders have a collective experience of over 75 years of organ building. Mark Lively, Paul Fulcher, and Patrick Quigley have been involved in the construction and installation of organs all over the world, from small residence-sized instruments to large cathedral and concert hall instruments. Their purpose is to offer a unique style of voicing and building and to produce organs, one at a time, that are of the highest artistic equality using the finest materials available.

The Great Organ, installed behind the glorious wooden case designed by church architect Henry Vaughan, consists of 59 stops, 63 ranks, and 3752 pipes. The organ speaks from high above the choir stalls on the south side of the choir and into the south transept. It is played from a three-manual and pedal console installed at the east end of the choir stalls on the north side of the choir.

The work of Lively-Fulcher is characterized by large scaling of pipework and an abundance of rich fundamental (i.e. 8-foot) tone. The new instrument for Christ Church utilizes all of the best components of the former instrument, including the E.M. Skinner Clarinet and warm, lush strings. The softest sounds of flutes and strings are ethereal, the foundation stops envelope the listener, and the glory of the tuba thrills with its blazing, emphatic power.

This new instrument serves many different purposes. It possesses all the sounds and tonal colors necessary for the organist to lead the hearty and enthusiastic congregational singing with a great deal of variety, and it is particularly suited to accompany Christ Church's beautiful Anglican liturgy. Organ literature from many different countries, spanning all centuries, is playable with authenticity on this magnificent instrument: organ music of the North German school (Bach and Buxtehude), the French Classical school (Couperin and de Grigny), and the great French organ symphonists (Vierne and Widor), as well as contemporary organ compositions of the 21st century.

This stunning new instrument has enlivened the musical life of our worship community as well as that of the New Haven arts community. Organists have been coming to New Haven to concertize and record on this instrument, and degree recitals from Yale students and recitals from the distinguished Yale faculty have been a regular occurrence. The Christ Church community takes great pride in this new addition to the life of our church and in the opportunities it presents for us to share this new musical treasure with the wider community.

Specification of the William G. Kibitz Memorial Organ at Christ Church [pdf]