This is the historic Church of the Gesu on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, a
building designated as a State landmark and having a splendid acoustical setting. This recording of Toccata Festiva by Richard Purvis was made in 1992 on its then Kimball/Kilgen electro-pneumatic action pipe organ by then Principal Organist John Weissrock (1938-2018) and was posted on YouTube by organist
William "Will" Schlueter, another pupil of his.
In this photo the console of the five-manual Baldwin C500 digital organ which Mr. Weissrock played and from which he taught while the Kimball/Kilgen pipe organ (center console) was down for renovation is visible in the lower left of the photo behind
the balcony rail. This instrument actually belonged to Mr. Weissrock, but he had it installed in the Church to serve as a back-up for the pipe organ. He expanded it with several add-ons which included an Ahlborn-Galanti Archive Classic module,
a mixer board, and fifteen 18" Velodyne 1000W powered subwoofers. Upon completion of the Schantz rebuild the Baldwin and its system of Velodyne powered subwoofers, one of which was to come into the possession of Dr. Monrotus years later, were removed.
To learn more about this digi
instrument, please use this link:
Baldwin C500 Specs
Kimball instrument of about 50 ranks was built around 1899 for the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago. From the time motion pictures first appeared in 1895 and continuing all through the next decade the pipe organs being built for theatres looked like, sounded
like, and were little different from church organs. This Kimball was acquired by the archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1908 and moved to Gesu Church that same year. In 1955 it was rebuilt and enlarged by the Kilgen Company. Most of the early Kimball
pipework was incorporated into the new and substantially larger Kilgen. In 2011 the Schantz Organ Company finished a complete renovation of this organ, enlarging it to 115 ranks but retaining only about 50 ranks of Kimball/Kilgen pipework, whereupon
it became the largest pipe organ in Wisconsin.
One notes in this recording the highly effective accents
introduced, the impeccable sense of rhythm, the elastic tempos, the skillful changing of manuals and stops including the strategic adding of a glorious 32' reed near the end, and everything kept clearly audible throughout, always listening for the listener
and never leaving the listener behind. These were all trademark methods of Mr. Weissrock who in 1960 was the first and youngest performer ever to win the National Organ Playing Competition in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and with whom Dr. Monrotus studied Organ
in Milwaukee from 1998-2001.
Gone, but not forgotten.