THE J.W. WALKER PIPE ORGAN
The J.W. Walker organ installed in St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Lawton, Oklahoma, was blessed at a service of Solemn Evensong on June 7, 1992. The organ was completely paid for at the time of its installation through pledges from church parishioners and the proceeds from a series of gourmet dinners sponsored by St. Andrew's. The gourmet dinners not only provided funds for the purchase and construction of the organ, but kept the project alive throughout the community. Generous monetary contributions from friends of St. Andrew's throughout Lawton/Fort Sill were made as a result of this community awareness. In February of 1990, the contract to construct the organ was signed with J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd. of Brandon, Suffolk England. Planning, design, and construction of the organ began and continued over the next twenty-five months.
Since 1992, St. Andrew's has been the fortunate caretaker of this beautifully crafted instrument which provides an impressive aural addition to church worship experiences. The Organ Committee's choice of the J.W. Walker & Sons to construct the organ for St. Andrew's Church came only after a great deal of thought, visitation, and listening to other fine instruments throughout the United States. Dr. Dale Peters of the University of North Texas, Denton, provided invaluable assistance as consultant to the committee.
Since the installation of the Walker Organ, St. Andrew's has sponsored organ concert series featuring artists form the United States and England, and by organ students from The University of North Texas. These were made possible with the help of grants from the McCasland Foundation and the Leslie Powell Foundation. Throughout the life of the Walker Organ, numerous recitals have been presented by St. Andrew's Organist/Choirmasters'. Dr. John Moots and Kirsten Underwood, music professors at Cameron University, have had the organ to accompany them in concert and in sacred music during worship services. The Cameron University Civic Symphony has also used the Walker Organ as a centerpiece for several of their concerts.
The Clergy and the Vestry of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church consider the J. W. Walker organ not only an instrument to provide music for parish worship services, but also as a cultural resource for the Lawton/Fort Sill community and surrounding areas.