BUMC Organist Jeffrey Neufeld
Jeffrey R. Neufeld, OSL, holds the Doctor of Sacred Music degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation (in conjunction with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary), the Master of Music degree in organ and church music from Northwestern University Beinen School of Music, and the Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. His organ teachers have included Douglas Cleveland, Richard Webster, and Dr. Ed Zimmerman; and he has studied piano with Dr. William Phemister and choral conducting with Dr. Paul Wiens and Dr. Mary Hopper.
Dr. Neufeld has been involved in church music since an early age, and answering God’s call to dedicated ministry in music, he has held a number of church music positions in his native Minnesota and in Chicago area churches. Prior to BUMC, he served as organist and choir director at Our Redeemer’s United Methodist Church in Schaumburg, Illinois. He has also appeared as a guest organist with the West Suburban Choral Union and the Schaumburg Youth Orchestra, and given recitals in a number of locations across the United States, including piano and organ duo concerts with his brother, Jeremy.
Dr. Neufeld is a member of the Order of St. Luke, and an active member of a number of professional music organizations including the American Guild of Organists, the Royal College of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, and the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. In addition to his musical endeavors, Dr. Neufeld works as an independent I.T. consultant.
Wicks Pipe Organ, Opus 6412
The following article originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of The Diapason magazine.
© Copyright The Diapason 2004, reprinted with permission.
The Wicks Organ Company, Highland, Illinois has built a new organ for the Barrington United Methodist Church, Barrington, Illinois. In 1999 the church building was destroyed by fire. Their losses included a 41-rank Möller pipe organ, which had been rebuilt as recently as 1988. As planning for their new building began, the search for a new pipe organ started. The church’s demands for their new organ were that it had to be a great congregational organ, but also able to perform for recitals as well. The sanctuary was to be a top-notch performance facility as well as a place of worship. The church desired an organ of 3 manuals and 5 divisions, including an antiphonal. Each division was to have a principal chorus, and the foundations of the Great organ were to be exposed.
The church committee heard many styles of instruments built by Wicks over the last seven decades. This included, a North German neo-Baroque style instrument, a symphonic organ scaled and designed by Henry V. Willis, an American Classic, and an Aeolian instrument from the 1920s that had been rebuilt by the Wicks Organ Company in conjunction with Mr. Madison Lindsey. The service playing abilities of each instrument were demonstrated to the committee, and they identified and found themselves drawn to the English/symphonic style of the rebuilt Aeolian instrument. The organ committee chose Wicks over several other builders after hearing several new Wicks installations and the company’s recent success in exactly this style of instrument.
The completed organ is described as an English service organ with orchestral capabilities. The instrument is able to not only provide a seamless crescendo from ppp to fff, but can do it with flair. In addition to service music, the organ is able to perform every possible type of organ literature from the Renaissance to the present. It is also able to realize orchestral transcriptions with great skill, thanks to the presence of many orchestral solo stops in each division, blending choruses, and 2-inch thick beveled and overlapping felted shades. The completed organ consists of 24 ranks of pipes and 25 digital voices. The Wicks design team pre-engineered space to accommodate real pipe ranks to replace these voices. The Swell is on 7 inches of wind, the Pedal 10 inches; the Choir and Great are on 6 inches, with the exception of the Clarinet, English Horn, and Tuba in the choir, which are all on 10 inches.
The solo reeds of this organ are of a unique style, derived from the Willis/Wicks style reeds used in many Wicks organs over the decades, married to the traditional ideas of Skinner solo reeds. The end results were clear, smooth, stops of unique color and great versatility throughout the compass. The greatest asset to the organ is the lively acoustical environment of the sanctuary. The collaboration of the building committee, acousticians Kirkegaard & Associates of Chicago, and the Wicks Organ Company have resulted in a beautiful, successful combination of organ and room.
The console is drawknob style with 45-degree side jambs, a glass music rack, and P&S keys with ivory resin naturals and ebony sharps. The drawknobs are made of polished hardwood. Made of red oak, the interior is very light and the exterior is stained to match the woodwork of the chancel furnishings. The console features a tilt tab that allows the digital Tuba and Festival Trumpet to emanate from the antiphonal division located in the rear of the church instead of their native divisions. The console also has a Manual I/II transfer for French literature.
Installation of Opus 6412 began in August of 2003, and an initial tonal finishing and adjustment of digital voices took place in early September. After the church’s dedication, Wicks tonal director Dr. William Hamner and reed voicer Greg Caldwell completed an entire tonal finishing.