Bethel University

Benson Great Hall
3900 Bethel Drive
St. Paul, MN 55112

Builder: L. W. Blackinton & Associates, Inc (2003)
Manuals: 3
Ranks: 67
Pipes: 4000
Action: Slider chests with EP pallets (Blackinton type).
Notes: The organ is in center chambers at the front of the room with visible façade pipes or case front. The console is movable on an air cushion.

--Information and photo from Bethel University.

Last Update: 11/2011

16 Violone
8 Principal
8 Violone
8 Bourdon
8 Harmonic Flute
8 Gemshorn
8 Gemshorn Celeste
4 Octave
4 Flûte Ouverte
2-2/3 Twelfth
2 Super Octave
2 Blockflute
1 Octavin
IV Mixture
II Scharf
16 Contra Trumpet
8 Trumpet
4 Clarion
8 Crommorne
8 Tuba (So)
8 Herald Trumpet
Cymbelstern (prepared)
16 Gedeckt
8 Geigen Principal
8 Gedeckt
8 Viole d'Gamba
8 Viole Celeste II
8 Dolce
4 Geigen Octave
4 Chimney Flute
4 Violina
4 Violina Celeste
2-2/3 Nazard
2 Doublette
1-3/5 Tierce
IV Mixture
16 Bassoon
8 Trompette
4 Clarion
8 Oboe
8 Vox Humana
8 Herald Trumpet (Gt)
8 Diapason
8 Solo Flute
8 Flute Céleste II
4 Octave
4 Traverse Flute
2-2/3 Nazard
2 Super Octave
2 Flute
1-3/5 Tierce
1-1/3 Quint
16 Tuba
8 Tuba
4 Tuba Clarion
8 English Horn
8 Cromorne (Gt)
8 Clarinet
8 Herald Trumpet (Gt)
A magnificent 4,000-pipe organ installed in Bethel’s Benson Great Hall in fall 2003 combines the old with the new in a way that entertains organ lovers and audiences of all ages. Thought of as the “jewel” of Benson Great Hall, the Blackinton Organ now stands as the crowning glory of one of the finest performing arts centers in the Twin Cities.
“With Bethel’s Swedish Baptist background, the organ is a historical, integral part of worship for many of our alumni and friends,” said Bethel President George K. Brushaber. “But we hope the grandeur of this organ and the incredible music it produces will inspire a new generation of organ lovers in our students.”
When Benson Great Hall was erected in 1994, plans were already in place to someday install a pipe organ in the front of the hall. Designed for a pipe organ both acoustically and architecturally, the hall could accommodate an organ of great size and magnitude that would complete the space. At the time of building, a temporary wall was placed behind the choir loft area, concealing a potential pipe organ chamber approximately 15 feet in depth. Up until the time the organ was installed in Benson Great Hall, the pipe chamber was used for storage of hall equipment and supplies. Now housing about 4,000 pipes, the organ chamber boasts a total of 20,000 cubic feet of space.

32 Contra Principal
16 Principal
16 Violone (Gt)
16 Bourdon
16 Gedeckt (Sw)
8 Octave
8 Bourdon
8 Gedeckt (Sw)
4 Choralbass
4 Flute
IV Mixture
32 Contra Posaune
16 Posaune
8 Tuba (So)
16 Bassoon (Sw)
8 Posaune
4 Crommorne
8 Herald Trumpet (Gt)

Research for the new organ was started shortly after the hall was built. Even though an organ could not be installed initially, an organ fund was established for an eventual purchase in the future. However, no definite plans were set in place until January 2000, and no contracts were signed until June 2000 when the Bethel Organ Project Committee contracted with Lyle Blackinton and Associates from San Diego, California. A host of people were key in making this organ possible for Benson Great Hall. Among those donors were Lyle Blackinton’s parents, Willard and Miriam Blackinton, and also Warren and Valerie Eastlund, long-time friends and partners of Bethel College. All the organ donors shared a common passion for the valuable contribution an organ would make to the Bethel community and to the Twin Cities area.
The Blackinton Organ has a total of 67 ranks and utilizes a 3-manual, 32-note pedal console, placed on a movable dolly that enables the console to be moved on and off stage as needed. The pipes seen by the audience are all speaking pipes from the pedal division. The pipes also depict a visual concept. In the book of Genesis, chapter 28, verses 10-22, the Scripture says that Jacob had a dream while sojourning, and in his dream was a stairway reaching to heaven from earth. On the stairway were angels ascending and descending. After Jacob awoke, he realized God had spoken to him in the dream, and he built an altar and called the place where he had been Bethel. Similarly, the pipes in the middle of the chamber of the Blackinton Organ depict the angels ascending and descending the stairway.