Two magnificent organs!
The University of Chicago is home to two glorious pipe organs, the famed E.M. Skinner Opus 634 at Rockefeller Chapel, and the Reneker Organ at Bond Chapel. We also have a practice organ, the Mintel organ, in our studio, accessible to students who are taking lessons.
The Rockefeller organ
You can hear the E.M. Skinner organ played in recital every Tuesday from late September to early June, at 4:30 pm. It is also played daily for academic and ceremonial events, or for practice, and for Sunday services.
It’s a massive romantic organ, considered one of the best in America. You can find its specifications here.
Bond Chapel’s Reneker organ
The Reneker organ, built for the former home of the Chicago Theological Seminary, was relocated to Bond Chapel in 2012. A lovely Baroque tracker organ, built by Quebec’s Karl Wilhelm in 1983, it has already won a major award for “divine design” in its new home. You can download the program (including the specifications) from its dedication concert, which took place on February 2, 2013. This date was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Betty Reneker, who commissioned the organ in memory of her husband, Robert Reneker, former chair of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago, and of their son, David. You can find its specifications here.
Learning to play?
Students at the University of Chicago are invited to audition on the piano or organ for organ lessons (advanced piano performance skills and general musicianship being prerequisites). We accept up to six students for organ lessons at any given time, naming them members of the organ studio at the Chapel and inviting them to serve as ambassadors for the program. We are also delighted to have partnerships with major Chicago-area churches and cathedrals where students serve as student organists.
If you are interested in studying the organ, please come to a Tea & Pipes recital when the new academic year starts up (Tuesdays at 4:30 pm, from Week 1), and talk with us!