National Presbyterian Church
4101 Nebraska Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
| "This instrument is one of the finest... creations of the
-- The American Organist, September 2005
I'm William Neil, organist at the National Presbyterian Church since 2001. I'd like to introduce you to the John Jay Hopkins Memorial pipe organ! For over 40 years this magnificent AEolian-Skinner instrument has supported worship services and concerts for the Washington DC community. Recently a new Solo Division with ten more ranks has been installed, so the organ is now capable of a much wider range of sounds and musical genres. You can hear samples of these sounds online here. Take a look at the Photo Tour to see the pipes of all seven Divisions. Also, please contact us for many award-winning recordings of music from this versatile instrument!
Given by Mrs. John Jay Hopkins in memory of her late husband, founder and first president of General Dynamics and a pipe organ enthusiast, the organ was dedicated in 1970 with recitals by Ernest Ligon, Simon Preston, Clyde Holloway and Aldis Lagzdins.
This event fulfilled the vision of the leaders who planned the design and construction of The National Presbyterian Church and Center. In the 1960s, they contracted with the AEolian -Skinner Organ Company of Boston to build a grand organ for the main sanctuary. As the walls rose, so did a two-story organ chamber behind the chancel choir loft, designed to house 6,000 pipes. A cloth screen was all that separated the pipes from the sanctuary, allowing the organ to speak directly down the axis of the nave. The sanctuary became part of the instrument.
For over 40 years, the congregation of The National Presbyterian Church has listened in wonder to the sound of the John Jay Hopkins Memorial Organ during worship and festive occasions. For them, the Hopkins organ is a "National" treasure, a magnificent instrument gladly shared with the urban community. In that spirit, this sanctuary provides the setting for performances by many prominent local artists and ensembles as well as touring groups and the church's own musicians.