The Sanctuary Organ

The sanctuary pipe organ at First Baptist Chattanooga was built by the renowned orchestral organ builder, Aeolian-Skinner, in 1968. This organ was one of the last by this firm which had been in existence since 1901 and had built more than 1000 pipe organs.  With a length of 200 feet and a height of over 70 feet, the large volume of the sanctuary and hard sound-reflecting surfaces create a splendid acoustic for music and spoken word. 


The Aeolian-Skinner organ is installed in stacked chambers to each side of tall and narrow central window. The Trompette-en-Chamade, Great 16′ Quintaton and Pedal 8′ Principal frame the bottom of the window. The organ
is small for the vast nave, however, it still sounds glorious in the room and is arguably the most elegant-sounding organ in the city. A. E. Schlueter of Atlanta rebuilt the console, converting it to Peterson, in 2002. At that time, preparations were made in the console for an 11-rank Antiphonal. The chimes from the Hillgreen, Lane in
the old sanctuary had been kidnapped and taken to Alabama when that organ was removed. They were eventually returned to the church and connected to the Aeolian-Skinner.

Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Opus 1476, 1968, 3/52


Dr. Sarah C. Harr became church organist in October of 2014. Sarah, a native of Memphis, TN, completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance with Dr. John David Peterson at the University of Memphis in 2012. During her doctoral studies, her primary focus was on liturgical reform and liturgical organ playing in France in the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Church Music from Valparaiso University and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Emory University. She has studied organ with Dr. Martin Jean, Dr. Lorraine Brugh, Dr. Timothy Albrecht, and Dr. Jane Gamble. Sarah has taught undergraduate and graduate-level Music Theory and Aural Theory at the University of Memphis, Queens College in Charlotte, NC, and Cleveland State Community College. She is an AGO Associate and an active member of the Chattanooga AGO chapter.  Sarah's husband, James, is on the music faculty at The McCallie School, and they have a son, Oliver Michael, who was born on Christmas Day 2012.