“Op. 1, which resides in the rear balcony of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Greencastle, Indiana, is a marvelously versatile 2 manual instrument. A perfect size for the sanctuary, it is capable of sustaining a full, singing congregation with a wide variety of colors, accompanying a choir or any manner of chamber group, and will easily play an astounding array of organ literature. Even without combination action, everything is within reach for quick stop changes and having a swell division makes the instrument dynamically flexible. The tracker action is sensitive to the touch but it is sturdy, meaning things just always work. The organ is a joy to play every Sunday for worship or in recital.”
Dr. Carla Edwards, Professor of Music (Organ)
“I can only echo these unqualified words of praise for J. Zamberlan & Co.’s Opus One from Orcenith Smith, DePauw University School of Music professor and sometime Senior Warden of the parish: ‘We are very, very pleased with the Zamberlan instrument. It is impeccably crafted, sturdy in construction, well balanced in all registrations, and suits the multiple needs of its use. Sitting high in the balcony in the back of St. Andrew’s it serves not only as a strong presence in hymn singing, but as an instrument that can enunciate the most virtuosic of compositions. Our congregation is so spellbound by the organ’s sound that they stay seated during the postludes to enjoy the sound that envelopes them.’”
The Rev. Bill Wieland, Rector (retired)
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Greencastle, IN
“During my tenure as Director of Music and Organist (2004-2008) at Oakmont Presbyterian Church, I had the opportunity of overseeing a major renovation and expansion of the modest, two-manual Möller pipe organ into what became J. Zamberlan & Co.’s three-manual Opus 2 pipe organ. The end result was an enormous transformation, both aurally and visually. The Great division is basically all new pipework, most of which is cantilevered forward in the façade. Some of the previous Great pipework comprises the new Positiv division, with the addition of a new Viola 8’ and Scharff III. A new rank of Pedal trumpets at 16’, 8’ and 4’ pitches is also added to the old Pedal division. The Cavaillé-Coll-style drawknob console is especially beautiful and blends into the Chancel’s woodwork very well. After the completion of the organ, additional woodwork and gold leaf was added to the visual impact of this instrument, the sound of which completely fills the sanctuary. The organ has already been featured in numerous recitals and concerts.”
Dr. David A. Billings, Director of Music Ministries and Organist
Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
“I was invited to perform a concert on the new organ. Since the instrument was not yet completed I questioned the wisdom of following through with the commitment, however, the event turned into a ‘sneak-preview of things to come’. The program that I played was intentionally chosen to feature the versatility of the instrument, and I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the variety of sound, the adaptability of the stops, and the flexibility of the colors of the instrument. The lesson of ‘less is better’ was helpful because it forced me to explore the unfinished instrument’s tonal resources. Solo stops served beautifully in ensemble textures; ensemble stops functioned well as solo voices. Overall, the comfort of the console, the lively acoustic, the beauty of the sounds all contributed to a very pleasing musical experience!”
St. Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA
“The Zamberlan additions to the Ruffatti pipe organ are splendid. Through this project and many others that I have experienced, Joe has proven that his craftsmanship matches that of any high-quality organ builder. The antiphonal principal chorus gives depth and foundation to the main Ruffatti instrument, while the horizontal en chamade is nicely voiced to offer a thrilling heralding effect. Most especially with the Mt. Lebanon project was Joe’s professional flexibility with the decision to suspend the organ from the ceiling rafters – a unique solution that he offered to us so that this project could become a reality.”
Russell J. Weismann, Director of Music and Liturgy
St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish, Bethesda, MD
“One the many positive aspects of the restored Kimball Pipe Organ at Saint John’s Cathedral is the fine workmanship evident throughout the chambers. Eighty-year-old chests operate with contemporary efficiency and the wood is absolutely beautiful. But the design and construction of the Antiphonal Organ was no less impressive. The appointed Organ Task Force from Saint John’s stipulated that the organ case could not, under any circumstances, impede the view of the massive stained glass west window. This posed a design challenge particularly for J. Zamberlan & Co., who bore primary responsibility in this regard. Post-project compliments from parishioners included ‘It frames the window and makes it stand out,’ or ‘The organ was always up there, right?’
Zamberlan went on to build and finish the Antiphonal wind reservoirs before beginning on the rest of the organ; these were then leathered by them based on practices developed from the work of the great American organbuilder, Ernest M. Skinner. They also built the wind chests and the gorgeous, twenty-seven feet tall twin cases that appear to float on air. They and the Spencer Organ Company, Inc. then masterfully installed the entire organ in the West Gallery that had no egress but two circular staircases. Everything was hoisted over the gallery rail. All of this was accomplished in record time and without damage or miscalculation.
I am personally indebted to Joe Zamberlan and his firm for the incredible care and precision they demonstrated during the whole of this project. I shall always admire their fine craftsmanship, as will the generations that pass through Saint John’s.”
St. John’s Cathedral, Denver
“Just a word to say how impressed we are with the beautiful reconstruction and refinishing of the console you did for Richard Houghten at Appleton Chapel, Harvard University. You’ll recall the many rounds of color samples, traded back and forth like baseball cards, much pressure to get it just right. But I’m not surprised that your bit of finishing is the best of everything in the restored Chapel.
Thanks again for this fine work, eye for detail and cooperative attitude.”
“When an Ivy League university commissioned a new four-manual console for their magnum opus Chapel organ, it needed to look like an Aeolian but feel like a Skinner. The drawing and manufacturing expertise of J. Zamberlan & Co. was more than up to the challenge, and it was a joy to work with Joe.
When an elite preparatory school decided to restore their Æolian-Skinner console, parts of which had been discarded years before, Mr. Zamberlan and his staff produced replacements that are indistinguishable from the originals.
When an east coast university needed a vintage console for their Skinner organ, they found one — stored in a leaky old barn. J. Zamberlan & Co. remanufactured the rotted pieces and developed a finish that made the console look like it had lived alongside the Chapel furnishings for a hundred years.
When the Director of Music of a prominent cathedral wrote saying they wanted a new four-manual console that looked like it rolled out of the Æolian-Skinner factory in 1938, I called Joe Zamberlan. The resulting casework is splendid, incorporating carvings and ornamentation inspired by its surroundings. When it rolled across the chancel floor for a recent recital, a visitor asked, ‘Where did you find a Skinner console in such perfect condition?’”
Richard Houghten, Milan, MI
“In 2015, in my role as Rector of Saint Paul Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, we had the opportunity to do a full scale renovation of our Seminary Chapel, which is used daily for sacred liturgies. We had an old organ donated years ago following the fire and destruction of the original chapel in the early 1970’s. Needless to say, since the organ has pride of place in the Roman Liturgy, we wanted to preserve it for future use in our new chapel, even as some wanted us to opt for an electronic organ — which I was loathe to do. J. Zamberlan & Co. had already been tuning our organ, at the recommendation of our organist, for a year prior to the renovation of the chapel. After some research, we decided to contract with J. Zamberlan & Co. for major renovation of our organ, and as well, the construction of a case to protect the pipes and control the sound of the organ, which was not included in the earlier donation of the instrument. The result is one of stunning beauty and clarity of sound. And I am so pleased that the organ is a fine piece in our newly renovated chapel, which is now most distinguished not only for the Sacred Art that beautifies it, but as well, complete with a musical instrument, faithful to the Roman Liturgical prescriptions, that also beautifies the House of the Lord with each sound it makes and an appearance that also is quite befitting for the Sacred Space. May I also say that making a visit to the workshop to see the progress of the organ was a delight. Joe Zamberlan and his team could not have been more pleasant, accommodating and a pleasure with whom to work. We are forever grateful.”
Very Reverend Brian J. Welding, JCD, STL, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and Consecrated Life
Diocese of Pittsburgh
“I have been so pleased with the work that J. Zamberlan & Co. has done on the organ at St. John’s, Youngstown. I had played the firm’s Opus 1 in Greencastle, Indiana and knew they could help make St. John’s Schlicker organ sound better. While we did not make any tonal changes to the organ, but only repaired and tweaked certain Pedal stops, the congregation has noticed that the organ sounds fuller in tone. The new swell shades are superb and allow for a greater range of expression than previously possible. Even a minor item, such as regulating the keyboards, has helped contribute to my feeling at times like I’m playing a new instrument!
Joe and his crew are very dependable and made our project work ahead of schedule. They are quick to find good solutions for problems, such as suggesting the extension of a new walkboard allowing for safer access to various parts of the instrument — the workmanship is wonderful and it looks like it has always been there. Joe also has a vast knowledge of organ building.
I am happy to give the highest recommendation for Joe Zamberlan, a wonderful colleague and friend, as well as to his coworkers.”
Dr. Richard Konzen, Organist-Choirmaster
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Youngstown, Ohio
“Working with J. Zamberlan & Co. was a pleasure. Joe Zamberlan is thoughtful and engaging; he and his team clearly enjoy their craft.
The proposal from the Zamberlan firm included a full and detailed report of the current condition of the organ — which was very helpful for both our Board of Trustees and our Worship&Music Committee, as we were certainly not organ wonks.
This work included: Removal of all pipes, toeboards and sliders from the windchests; removal, repair and reinstallation of the Borstwerk chest; recovering of schwimmers; and modification of the sliders to eliminate the perishable leather ‘tubes’ connecting the two layers in the original construction, as well as the installation of cloth slider seals on all chests.
This project was the first major overhaul of our Flentrop tracker at Center Presbyterian Church since it was installed in 1969. Work began in January 2017, and was completed by Lent — as promised. In fact, the project was completed ahead of schedule.
I strongly recommend that any church or organization get a proposal from J. Zamberlan & Co. before committing to another firm.”
Troy W. Fowler, Chair, Board of Trustees
Center Presbyterian Church, Slippery Rock, PA
“I want to tell you both one more time what a beautiful console you built for us. I have now spent enough time at it to tell you without reservation that it is the most comfortable console I (at 6’8”) have ever had the pleasure of playing, and I suspect someone 5’6” would feel the same way. The woodwork is spectacular as is every detail of the engraving and each additional feature of the console…. My deep thanks to you both for creating a console that will be the pride of the Cathedral for generations and generations….”
With thanks and all best wishes,
Robert Simpson, Canon for Music
Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, TX
“Joe Zamberlan is one of the most accomplished organ builders I know. He maintains our Holtkamp organ at home and added principal and oboe stops with expert voicing. His woodworking is of superior quality as seen in the beautiful enclosure he made for them. At Duquesne University, where I work, he taught a course in organ building and design which demonstrated his uncommon knowledge of this art both historically and technically. I would recommend him without hesitation for any project however large or small.”
Ann Labounsky, Chair of Organ and Sacred Music
Mary Pappert School of Music
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
“The replacement panels for the front of stage at Stambaugh Auditorium were executed beautifully and blend into the remaining original panels. As Chairman of the E.M. Skinner Restoration Committee for Opus 582, it was important to have the new panels duplicated as close as possible since we have gone from a visible and ugly two plug system to an umbilical cord that will now be stored under stage in a wood trough which is a beauty in itself.”
William A. Conti, President, Trustee
The Henry H. Stambaugh Auditorium Association
“Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rochester, PA installed a two-manual Schlicker pipe organ in 1983. It served us very reliably for 27 years. The organ had been tuned regularly during that period; but, in the fall of 2010, it began to fail. Because the Schlicker Organ Company was no longer in business, we were referred to J. Zamberlan & Co.
We contracted with Joe to inspect our organ and give us an estimate for reconditioning and/or repairing it. He presented a report (and later a contract) that was exceptionally well written, completely detailed and easy to understand, considering our Property Committee was not familiar with much of the terminology; our organist, Henry Doktorski, explained the terminology to us where necessary. One of the problems with the organ was that stops would get stuck on or off. While another firm had told us that the slider chests would need to be replaced(!), Joe pointed out that this had nothing to do with the basic chest construction and was simply some of the slider solenoids binding up.
The contract was accepted and work began in the spring of 2011. During the repair process, Joe found instances where the 1983 technology was not compatible with 2011 standards. These were addressed and corrected. We were happy to pay for the upgrades that brought our organ back into compliance with current codes. All work was performed very professionally.
The reconditioning/repairing included (1) a new swell motor, new roller contact and new rectifier, (2) new slider solenoids and driver cards, and (3) cleaning of the interior of the organ, followed by a through-tuning.
We believe J. Zamberlan & Co. treated our organ like it was one of theirs and we couldn’t have gotten better service for it. They now attend to all aspects of our Schlicker organ, including maintenance and tuning. Joe’s expertise (and that of his colleagues), his professionalism, and thoroughness are without question. Our church schedules and those of our staff and property committee were always a consideration; and, if a conflict arose, he worked with us to our mutual satisfaction. We give J. Zamberlan & Co. our highest recommendation.”
For the Property Committee of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
“Although I didn’t have the chance to play or hear the Zamberlan instruments in Greencastle, IN and Oakmont, PA for an extended time, in both cases my impressions were very positive. Both organs have a very musical sound, are well voiced and are rewarding to play.”
Dr. Charles H. Heaton, FAGO, Pittsburgh, PA