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).
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 Archive, mixer board, and system
of Velodyne powered subwoofers, one of which was to come into the possession of Dr. Monrotus, were removed.
To learn more about this digi instrument, please use this link:
Baldwin C500 Specs
The original 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.