Rodeheaver Auditorium

Rodeheaver Auditorium, built at the same time as the War Memorial Chapel, is almost always in use for concerts, plays, operas, or vesper programs.

In February of 2004, the Rodeheaver organ was renovated and revoiced as Opus 79 by Cornell Zimmer Organ Builders of Denver, NC.  After 35 years, the time had come for a new console as well as the addition of digital enhancements as part of the project.  Click to see the current specification list.  Read an article written by music faculty member, Dr. Paul Overly, describing the organ dedication. 

Below, you will find information taken from the dedicatory recital program which was given by Dr. Ed Dunbar, the University organist, on February 14, 2004.  The recital celebrated Dr. Dunbar's 25th anniversary of his first faculty recital at Bob Jones University.  Listen to a sample from the recital, Choral-Improvisation sur le "Victimæ paschali" by Charles Tournemire.  You may also view the entire program.   Bob Jones University recently released a new Christmas CD entitled, " A Christmas Celebration".  You may listen to an excerpt from a piece from the CD titled "The Lord of Glory, Who Has Bought Us" arranged by Paul Manz and performed by Dr. Ed Dunbar.  The piece provides insight into the "softer" side of the new organ in which it showcases the zimbelstern with flutes.  Click here to listen to a musical excerpt of the Rodeheaver organ on BJU's website and be sure to visit the Sounds page to hear more of the Rodeheaver organ!

"The organ in Rodeheaver Auditorium was designed and built by W. Zimmer & Sons of Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1968 and contained 57 ranks.  Specifications were planned by Karl Stahl, then head of the Organ Department at BJU.  This organ was the primary service instrument for church and chapel until 1973 and has continued to be used for church and Vespers as well as for teaching and practice.  The console and additions are by Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders of Denver, North Carolina.  Cornel Zimmer is the grandson and son of the men who built the original instrument. 

Cornel Zimmer began his career with W. Zimmer & Sons and after extensive research, became intrigued by the merits of  digital technology and combining that technology with the pipe organ. In 1992, he left W. Zimmer & Sons and started Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders and soon began working with Walker Technical Company because of their strong innovative digital products.  After much study and work, he built his own pipe organ shop in order to achieve the desired overall quality that was necessary to match the integrity of the Walker technology.  Over time, he bought pipe shop equipment from W. Zimmer & Sons and hired highly trained technicians and artists to create exquisite organs of the highest quality, durability, and dependability.  The company has completed instruments of various designs including all-pipe to all-digital to many combinations in between.  Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders have developed excellent working relations with several other builders, voicers, and technicians, both locally and nationally, and have collaborated with them on several projects.  These projects foster a sharing of ideas, philosophies, and methods that help all concerned to grow and learn.  It is this attitude of constantly seeking new ideas and better ways of doing things that will keep Cornel Zimmer Organ Builders fresh and on a track of continued improvement for many years to come.

The specifications for this instrument, their Opus 79, were designed by Cornel Zimmer and Jim Twyne in consultation with Ed Dunbar.  The console was built by George Zong and was finished by Marty Lemons.  Electrical work was done by Eric Molenaar, and voicing was by Jim Twyne.  The University Crests on the side panels were carved by J. David Caldwell.

The console is constructed of quarter-sawn oak, and the interior is walnut.  Forty-three digital stops were added to the specification, and the organ now contains a multiple level capture action with sixteen banks of memory, with eleven levels per bank.  Each level provides ten general pistons along with a full complement of divisionals.  Standard couplers and reversibles are also included."

The following information is regarding the original 1968 Rodeheaver Auditorium organ.  This organ replaced an older organ which was installed when the University moved to Greenville.  The W. Zimmer and Sons organ was installed in 1968, at the height of North-German influence on American organ building.  The organ was voiced along classic Baroque lines.  It had a total of 57 ranks, 53 stops and a grand total of 3,141 pipes.  Click here for the original specification list.

This organ had been used greatly over the years.  It was used for church and chapel services until the FMA was built in 1974 and was also used for private lessons until 1988 when the War Memorial Chapel organ was installed.  Now, the auditorium is used mainly for concerts, plays, operas, and vesper programs.

The dedication recital was played by Thomas Richner of Rutgers University on October 19, 1968.  Included in this performance were pieces by J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, DuMage, and Franck.  Please click to view the original recital program.