Skidaway Island United Methodist Church is blessed to have one of the finest organs in Savannah.
In December of 1995, our church purchased a state-of-the-art, Allen Computer Digital Organ. The organ was originally installed in Bailey Hall, and then moved to our current sanctuary upon its completion in 2000.
In December of 2010, we began to notice minor problems associated with the age of the instrument. Most of the problems were repaired, but maintenance of the organ proved to be an ongoing and expensive endeavor. After speaking with multiple technicians, and dealing with numerous disruptions in our worship services, it became apparent that the organ in our sanctuary was nearing the end of its lifespan. Upon receiving this information, Jim Giddens charged the Trustees, along with members of the Music and Finance Committees, to explore options for a suitable replacement.
We first considered an organ similar to the one we currently owned. But once we took into account the growing needs of our congregation, and the quality of programs being offered by our Music Ministry, the decision was made to seek an instrument that would mirror those attributes. We then investigated the possibility of installing a full pipe organ in our sanctuary. However, after talking with several companies, we soon realized that this was not a reasonable solution due to financial restrictions and structural limitations.
It was then that we began to entertain the idea of a combination instrument (part pipe and part digital). Upon doing some research, we discovered the R.A. Colby Company of Johnson City, Tennessee. The Colby Company is a leader in the industry of combination instruments, and is known for their work on organs in such places as The Naval Academy.
The new instrument was painstakingly designed by Roger Colby and Justin Addington to meet certain criteria. First, it was important that the organ be of the highest quality possible; in both materials and sound. Second, it was imperative that the pipe display complement the architecture of our building and not distract from the cross at the front. Finally, the organ was to cost under $400.000. After months of planning and negotiation, Mr. Colby presented us with a very impressive proposal that met all of our requirements. The total cost was $369,000.
On December 13, 2011, the Church Council unanimously approved the organ proposal, and the congregation quickly raised the funds for the new instrument. The organ was installed in August of 2012. The English-style pipe work was voiced on site, and the organ was dedicated in a recital by Dr. Timothy Albrecht on October 21, 2012. In 2016, two stops were added to the organ (a Trumpet 8 in the Antiphonal Division and an English Horn 8 in the Solo Division) in memory of Music Associate Anne Bowen’s late husband, Jim Bowen.