2872, Holtkamp, Cincinnati, OH
Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati (Opus 1695), III/54 Walter Holtkamp, Sr., 1957
This organ is one of the last, and largest, to be built by Walter Holtkamp, Sr., a leading figure in the mid-twentieth century American organ reform movement. Holtkamp was a proponent of a clean, neo-classic sound that spoke directly into the room without the assistance of a case. The organ contains 54 stops in five divisions over three manuals and a pedal board, plus a horizontal trumpet in the Spanish style, totaling roughly 4,000 pipes. Recently, a zimbelstern, or “bell star,” was added to the instrument. This organ, an icon of its time, has served the congregation for over fifty years.
Besides its obvious artistic distinction, Christ Church is where "Uncle" Gerre Hancock began his professional career. Gerre's widow, Judy, tells us that this was his first job after studies at Union Seminary: "We were very happy there where we began our family and Gerre began his career!" Especially notable from Gerre's time in Cincinnati was the annual Boar's Head Festival.
OCH executive director, John Bishop's, father was an Episcopal priest who grew up at Christ Church, and owned several vinyl LP's of that colorful festival, which included some of Gerre Hancock's earliest improvisations. As a young teenager, John was in the thrall of that sound. Imagine that. He made it up.