The Kney Pipe Organ

The Kney Positive Organ at St. Thomas Aquinas is a recent addition to the church's music program. Built by Gabriel Kney, a highly respected organ builder from London, Ontario, this organ is designated a "positive organ," which is a class of smaller organs designed to be portable and used with small groups and chamber ensembles. Its key and stop action are mechanical, providing a direct linkage between the keys and the valves under the pipes, providing the most sensitive and responsive action possible. Its stop action is actuated by foot levers, a clever design which allows the hands of the player to be free while stops are engaged and disengaged.

The Kney Positive Organ began its life as an organ commissioned for Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI. In 2015, the university determined that the organ was no longer being utilized and began a campaign to find a new home for the instrument. St. Thomas Aquinas Organist and Choirmaster Michael Conrady flew to Grand Rapids in the summer of that year to inspect and make arrangements to acquire the instrument on behalf of the parish. Once the organ was purchased, it was carefully disassembled and packed for shipping to Dallas, Texas.

Upon arrival in Dallas, the pipes were placed into storage and the chassis of the instrument was sent to the workshop of Brad Van Vranken, an artisan woodworker and a member of the St. Thomas Schola Cantorum Gregorii. Over the span of several months, the mechanical components of the organ were carefully restored and a new cherrywood cabinet was built for the instrument. Mr. Van Vranken took great care to incorporate the architectural elements of our church into the organ. The new case incorporates design elements from the communion rail arches, baptistery grate, stained glass window arches, and the stone rosette carvings in the sanctuary, among others.

In December of 2015, the Positive Organ played its first service at St. Thomas Aquinas on Christmas Eve. The organ case is on wheels so it can be moved about the sanctuary or wherever it is needed. It is used regularly at liturgies, services, and concerts. Like its big brother in the choir gallery, it is built to provide beautiful music for many decades to come.

The Gabriel Kney Positive Organ

Manual CC-f
Bourdon 8'
Flûte à Cheminée 4'
Doublette 2'
Cymbale II rks.
Mechanical Key and Stop Action