Architect C.P. Drewett drew on his steadfast faith, passion for music and gift for design to provide a new home and a facelift for Fisk Opus 67a, a pipe organ at Camelback Bible Church.
For over four decades, the Paradise Valley, Ariz., church was without a pipe organ, although the building was designed specifically to accommodate one. However, due to the tremendous cost of purchasing such an elaborate instrument, the church opted for an electronic organ instead.
As long-time church members, the architect and his musically gifted family have sung in its choir for years. For Drewett, seeing the space where a pipe organ should have been was like looking at an unfinished project. A fresh search for an organ soon commenced.
In 2022, Camelback Bible Church was informed that Fisk Opus 67a was available for purchase from a church in Indiana. Designed by Charles Brenton Fisk, considered the finest pipe organ builder in the world, it was the answer to a prayer. Although the organ hadn’t been used in years, it produced a sound so beautiful it reminded Drewett of a chamber choir.
With its purchase made, the instrument was shipped for repair—piece by piece—to the Fisk headquarters in Gloucester, Mass. In the meantime, Drewett began designing its enormous case. Similar to the construction of a building, it started with the structure’s skeleton, followed by the assemblage of the organ parts. Once in place, the final casework would be installed.
While traditional organ cases are often ornate, this one is clean and modern so as not to overwhelm the sanctuary’s design. Cut from oak, the case consists of three components representing the Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Wood pipes on either side are joined together by tin pipes that reach upward like hands in prayer.
In the center of the framework and above the console’s keyboard is an inset of ornamental spalted wood. When a tree becomes subjected to fungal growth, it produces unusual colorations and patterns as it decays. The result is a remarkably beautiful grain that adds decorative detailing.
As this majestic work of art comes together and the pipes are tuned, church members will finally have a completed sanctuary that supports choral and congregational singing, as well as visiting choirs, fine arts performances, musicals and a possible PBS documentary.