Rodgers Instruments

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Rodgers Instruments Corporation
Genre classical church organs (digital and pipes, also combined)
Founded May 1, 1958
Founders Rodgers W. Jenkins
Fred Tinker
Headquarters 45°32′02″N 122°57′24″W / 45.5339°N 122.9568°W / 45.5339; -122.9568Coordinates: 45°32′02″N 122°57′24″W / 45.5339°N 122.9568°W / 45.5339; -122.9568, Hillsboro, Oregon, United States
Key people Duane Kuhn, president
Parent Roland Corporation
Website Rodgers Instruments Corporation

Rodgers Instruments Corporation is an American manufacturer of classical and church organs. Rodgers was incorporated May 1,1958 in Beaverton, Oregon by founders, Rodgers W. Jenkins and Fred Tinker, employees of Tektronix, Inc., of Portland, Oregon, and members of a Tektronix team developing transistor-based oscillator circuits.[1] Rodgers was the first manufacturer of solid state oscillator-based organs, completing their first instrument in 1958.[1] Other Rodgers innovations in the electronic organ industry include solid-state organ amplifiers (1962),[1] single contact diode keying (1961),[2] reed switch pedal keying for pedalboards (1961),[2] programmable computer memory pistons (1966),[1] and the first MIDI supported church organs (1986).[1]

Rodgers' manufacturing facility and world headquarters is located in Hillsboro, Oregon All Rodgers organs are built in the Oregon factory. [1] Roland Classic organs, as of 2014, are built in the Oregon factory.

Technology[edit]

Rodgers' success was largely due to their early innovations with solid state analog tone generation technology. Despite the fact that competitors such as Allen switched to digitally synthesized tone generation as early as 1972, Rodgers sold exclusively analog tone generation instruments until 1990.

Rodgers introduced its first digital organ on November 20, 1990,[3] using a tone generation system Rodgers has dubbed Parallel Digital Imaging (PDI). Rodgers PDI organs use Roland DSPs and digitally sampled organ pipes for tone generation.

A feature introduced in 1993, which Rodgers has termed "Digital Domain Expression," offers swell box effects such as expression delays, high frequency damping and phase shifts of sound across a stereo field as expression shoes are opened or closed, similar to the effects produced by the swell shades on a pipe organ's swell box.

In 2014, Rodgers new Infinity II models introduced Bluetooth wireless controls, including support for reading music from an iPad.

Pipe organs[edit]

Rodgers organ console for the Fratelli Ruffatti pipe organ at BYU-Idaho

Although known primarily for its electronic organs, Rodgers has built many pipe organs and pipe/electronic combination organs.

Many Rodgers organs support the playing of actual pipe ranks in addition to their normal, electronic ranks. The first electronic organ to successfully integrate pipes and electronic tone generation was a Rodgers Gemini with Fratelli Ruffatti organ pipes installed in the Atlanta area home of Dr. Walter and Emily Spivey.[1] It included a tuning control so the pipes and electronics could stay in tune with each other.

The largest full pipe organ produced by the company was the Second Baptist Church Houston, Texas organ with five manuals and 193 pipe ranks. It was dedicated on August 23, 1987 and featured concerts on August 23 and 24th by organist Frederick Swann. In addition, it was the featured organ of the 1988 Houston National Convention of the American Guild of Organists where it was played by organist Diane Bish.

In August 1991, another large all-pipe Rodgers organ installed at Glenkirk Presbyterian Church, Glendora, California was the cover feature of The American Organist, official journal of the American Guild of Organists.

Corporate affiliations[edit]

Four manual Rodgers organ installed in a church

Originally controlled by officers of Tektronix and the founding engineers, in September 1977, Rodgers became part of CBS Musical Instruments along with Steinway & Sons pianos, Fender guitars, Rhodes electric pianos, Gemeinhardt flutes, and a number of other instrument brand names. In 1985 CBS, divested itself of Rodgers, along with Steinway and Gemeinhardt, all of which were purchased by Steinway Musical Properties. Since May 1, 1988, Roland Corporation has been parent company of Rodgers, and Rodgers is now a subsidiary of it. In addition to its own Rodgers organs, Rodgers produces Atelier home organs and Roland Classic C-330 and C-380 organs designed for home studios.

Touring organs[edit]

Organist Virgil Fox helped bring Rodgers organs into the limelight in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he used a Rodgers Touring Organ, built in 1966 and known as "Black Beauty," for his "Heavy Organ" concerts, including a 1970 all Bach performance that included a light show at the Fillmore East Auditorium in New York.

On October 1, 1974, Rodgers’ five manual Carnegie Hall organ, designed by Virgil Fox, debuted in a sold-out Fox concert. The organ and Fox were praised by Time, United Press International, Ron Eyer in the New York Daily News, New York Post and by noted critic Harold Schonberg in The New York Times. Carnegie Hall’s International Organ Series for the Inaugural 1974-1975 Season included Fox, Pierre Cochereau, Claire Coci, Fernando Germani, Herman Berlinski, George Thalben-Ball and Richard Morris. This was the world’s first five manual and most powerful[clarification needed] electronic organ at the time and was listed as such for a number of years in the Guinness Book of World Records.

A sister five manual instrument to the Carnegie Hall Organ, named by Fox the "Royal V", served as Fox's touring organ for the 1975-76 concert season, but proved unwieldy to tour with. The Royal V was used at Fox's funeral in the Crystal Cathedral after he died on October 25, 1980.

A second black Rodgers touring organ was active in the 1970s. The "American Beauty" was based on Rodgers's then premium three manual model, the "American Classic". Concert organists who played on this instrument or "Black Beauty" (which continued touring under Roberta Bailey Artists International well into the 80s) included Ted Alan Worth, Joyce Jones, Pierre Cochereau, Herman Berlinski, Richard Morris, Keith Chapman, Douglas Marshall, John Grady, Frederick Geoghan, and Diane Bish.

The Royal V was, in 1983, refinished from black to white and permanently installed in the Meishusama Hall of the Shinji Shumeikai in Minsono, Japan. In mid-2004, this same organ was updated to newer Rodgers technology. Dan Miller and McNeill Robinson, consultants on the project, revised and updated the organ's tonal specification during the update to Trillium level Parallel Digital Imaging technology.

The current Rodgers touring organ is Hector Olivera's "The King", a black four manual organ featuring a custom French specification that Olivera plays in various concert venues nationally.

Television[edit]

In 2006, a Rodgers Allegiant 657 was installed in the family chapel of the White Family on ABC Television's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Previously, John Ratzenberger's Made in America Travel Channel show featured at segment on Rodgers filmed at Rodgers’ Hillsboro, Oregon plant. That episode still appears from time to time on the Travel Channel.

Rodgers factory is also featured in Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg’s popular “Watch it Made in the U.S.A.” books profiling interesting factory tours of American manufacturing facilities.

Availability[edit]

The availability of Rodgers Instruments is ensured by the distribution and the sales of an international dealer network. These include Rodgers Organs in Canada,[4] Rodgers Organs in the UK[5] and Rodgers Organs in Germany.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "A Brief Timeline of Rodgers History". Rodgers Organ Studio of Minneapolis. 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Pugno, Frank (2007). "Rodgers Organs". The Theatre Organ Home Page. 
  3. ^ "Rodgers unveils its first digital organs; new PDI technology offers excellent tonal quality at a competitive price.". The Music Trades. January 1991. 
  4. ^ Rodgers Organs in Canada
  5. ^ Rodgers Organs in the UK
  6. ^ Rodgers Organs in Germany

External links[edit]