Forbes Pipe Organ
“The organ music fills you entirely, to the exclusion of all other senses.” – Bert Forbes
In 2007, Harold Miossi Hall would become the home to a magnificent pipe organ built on the same grand scale as the instruments that grace cathedrals and concert halls in the world’s largest cities. The Fisk Opus 129 pipe organ was once merely a gleam in the eyes of Clif Swanson and John and Barbara Hartman, who discussed adding an organ to the plans for the Performing Arts Center in 1985.
The building was finished in 1996, but funds fell short for an organ. Twelve years after the building was built, local philanthropists Bert and Candace Forbes pledged the funding for the pipe organ to the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center. On June 19, 2006, the organ’s 2,767 pipes were delivered into the hands of an enthusiastic crew who took the cherished cargo from the vans, carried it into the theater and carefully unwrapped each pipe for installation.
In 2007, Harold Miossi Hall became home to a magnificent pipe organ built on the same grand scale as the instruments that grace cathedrals and concert halls in the world’s largest cities.
The Fisk Opus 129 pipe organ was once merely a gleam in the eyes of Clif Swanson and John and Barbara Hartman. The Hartmans and Clif Swanson, former Music Director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, founder of Festival Mozaic and Dean of the Music School at Cal Poly, had discussed adding an organ to the plans for the Performing Arts Center in 1985.
The Hartmans generously pledged funds to build the organ, and a committee went to work to find the kind of organ they could buy for the funds and the theater space available. In the meantime, designers modified plans for the theater to make room for this “king of instruments,” since a pipe organ of this size weighs about 20 tons, and steel reinforcement was needed to support it.
Tragically, John and Barbara Hartman died in an accident in France, and the fate of the organ came into question. With funds running short for the completion of the building, the money for the organ was diverted into the general construction fund.
Thanks to a generous donation from Hartman heirs dedicated to John and Barbara, the organ box was built in hopes that the instrument would eventually be funded following the completion of the PAC.
Four years after the building was built, local philanthropists Bert and Candace Forbes pledged the funding needed for the pipe organ to the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center. When the Forbes sold their company Ziatech to Intel in October 2000, they saw the opportunity to fulfill their love for organ music and make the Hartmans’ dream come true. In December of 2000, they put down a rush deposit with C.B. Fisk organ builders with a lead time of six years.
“They chose the best options at every turn. There are no short-cuts in this instrument,” Clif Swanson says. It took about a year to build the organ. In May 2006, it was featured at the Fisk open house in Massachusetts, assembled in their warehouse, where it was played by local organists. It was then broken down and loaded into two moving vans for shipment to Cal Poly.
On June 19, 2006, the organ’s 2,767 pipes were delivered into the hands of an enthusiastic crew of 67 volunteers who took the cherished cargo from the vans, carried it into the theater and carefully unwrapped each pipe for installation.
After about six weeks of assembly and nine months of tuning, the magnificent instrument was completed. The Forbes Pipe Organ includes hand forged tin/lead pipes, mahogany casework, cow bone key coverings, harps crafted from ebony, and stop knobs made from a tropical hardwood called cocobolo.
Debuting in June 2007, the Forbes Pipe Organ resonates with music that is both powerful and stunningly pure. “I am always amazed and delighted at the way the bass pipes grab you and shake you to your core, causing resonances you didn’t even know you had,” says Bert Forbes. “This upwelling of response is most remarkable. The organ music fills you entirely—to the exclusion of all other senses.”
University Organist Paul Woodring
Paul Woodring is the curator and university organist at Cal Poly. Woodring specialized in organ performance at Cal State Northridge, studying under Sam Swartz and David Britton. While there, he won several prestigious awards, including first prize in the Western Regional American Guild of Organists Competition. He then studied organ and harpsichord in Vienna under Otto Bruckner and Elfriede Stadlmann.
As an accompanist, Woodring has worked with some of America’s finest concert choirs and opera companies, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Los Angeles Opera Company. In the San Luis Obispo area, he has worked with Opera San Luis Obispo, Mozart Festival, Central Coast Children’s Choir, Cuesta Master Chorale, Tolosa Strings and several musical theater organizations. Woodring is currently an accompanist and coach at Cal Poly. He also serves the congregations of Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church as organist and choir director and San Luis Obispo United Methodist church as organist.
Man I, 61 notes
Flûte harmonique 8’
Man II, 61 notes
Nasard 2 2/3’
Tierce 1 3/5’
Man III, 61 notes
Viole de gambe 8’
Voix céleste 8’
Flûte traversière 8’
Flûte octaviante 4’
Plein jeu IV
Prestant (ext) 32’
Prestant (GT) 16’
Bourdon (SW) 16’
Violoncelle (GT) 8’
Spillpfeife (GT) 8’
Contra Posaune (ext) 32’
Trompette (GT) 8’
Trommet (GT) 8’
Clairon (GT) 4’
Swell to Great
Positive to Great
Swell to Positive
Octaves graves Great
Great to Pedal
Positive to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Pedal 4