Augustana's Tracker Pipe Organ

Augustana's pipe organ in the Chapel of Reconciliation

Augustana's beautiful tracker pipe organ in the Chapel of Reconciliation was meticulously hand-crafted by alumnus John Nordlie, '74, owner of J.F. Nordlie Company Organ Builders of Sioux Falls.

It was made possible by a gift from the late John W. and Agnes C. Siverson of Hendricks, Minnesota, and dedicated on Sunday, December 4, 1983.

About the Organ

The design of the organ at the Augustana Chapel follows the classic traditions of the 17th and 18th cen­turies, especially as built in northern Europe. The organ was indeed viewed at that time as the "King of Instruments.” This instrument is especially suited for the performance of Baroque music, although works by 19th- and 20th-century composers can be played effectively, as well.

The musical resources of this instrument are spread over three manuals and pedal, with the addition of a third manual Positive to be made at a later date. These keyboards control slider wind chests by means of suspended tracker key action and a simple mechanical stop action. The wind is supplied by an electric blower and stabilized at 80 millimeters wind pressure by three wedge-shaped reservoirs located under the base of the instrument. The Great Organ (lower keyboard) is located behind the polished tin Principal 8’ at impost level. The Swell Organ (upper keyboard) is located directly above the console and Great division. The shutters, used in controlling the Swell’s dynamic level, are located behind the Prestant 4’. The Positive Organ is located directly below the Great Organ. The Pedal division is located in a separate case to the left of the main case. The low six pipes of the Pedal Principal 8 stand in the facade of this case.

This organ is a “tracker” organ. This means that the actions of the organist’s fingers and feet cause air to flow through the pipes through a direct mechanical linkage. There are no electrical wires, solenoids, lead tubes, or secondary ventils between the pallets (valves controlling wind to the pipes) and the keys played by the organist. The great advantages of the mechanical action are two: first, it permits direct contact between the organist’s fingers and the pipes, thus making the instrument more sensitive, and secondly, it is easy to maintain. The modern construction techniques utilized allows us to have a light key action with a greater degree of responsiveness in touch than possible with older instruments. The casework of the organ serves two basic functions, to unify and project the sound of the pipes and to protect and house the pipes and working elements of the instrument. The casework is built of solid red oak, which has been finished with tung oil. The hand turned stop knobs and naturals of the keyboards are of ebony. The sharps are of satinwood plated with cowbone. The keydesk and keycheeks are of zebrawood.

The organ’s wood pipes have been constructed of red oak, white oak and American black walnut. The remaining pipes are build of various tin/lead alloys. These metal pipes were built with help from the firms of Jacques Stinkens, Zeist, Holland and Rolland Killinger. Freiberg-Beihingen, Germany.

It takes much painstaking planning, craftsmanship and patience to bring a project of this type to a satisfactory completion. Much of the credit must go to the dedicated craftsmen who work under the direction of John Nordlie. Those who have worked on this organ include A. Eugene Doutt. Janet Doutt, Donald F. Nordlie, Gail P. Nordlie, Dale E. Nordlie, Carole-Sue Ohme Nordlie, Elizabeth Nordlie MacDonald, Martin D. Larsen and Paul E. Nordlie.

Stop List for the Siverson Organ


  • Quintaton 16' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Principal 8' | 56 pipes | 75% Polished Tin
  • Rohrflote 8' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Octave 4' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Quint 2-2/3' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Octavin 2' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Terz 1-3/5' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • IV-V Mixture 1-1/3' | 238 pipes | Metal
  • Trumpet 8' | 56 reeds | Metal


  • Viola 8" C-F From #12 | 50 pipes | Metal
  • Celeste 8' tc | 44 pipes | Metal
  • Gedeckt 8' | 56 pipes | White Oak
  • Prestant 4' | 56 pipes | 75% Polished Tin
  • Koppelflote | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Doublette 2' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • III Scharf 2/3' | 168 pipes | Metal
  • Dulzian 16' | 56 reeds | Metal
  • Oboe 8' | 56 reeds | Metal


  • Singendgedeckt 8' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Rohrflote 4' | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Blockflote | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Sifflote | 56 pipes | Metal
  • Quint 1 1/3 | 56 pipes | Metal
  • II-III Cymbal 1/3' | 112 pipes | Metal
  • V Cornet g'-d"" | 96 pipes | Metal
  • Krummhorn 8' | 56 reeds | Metal


  • Subbass 16' | 30 pipes | Red Oak
  • Principal 8' | 30 pipes | 75% Polished Tin
  • Pommer 8' | 30 pipes | Metal
  • Choralbass | 12 pipes | Metal
  • Nachthorn 2' | 30 pipes | Metal
  • Posaune 16' | 30 pipes | Metal
  • Trumpet 8' | 12 reeds | Metal
  • Schalme 4' | 30 reeds | Brass
  • Zimbelsterns I & II


  • Swell to Great | Positiv to Great   
  • Great to Pedal | Positiv to Swell   
  • Swell to Pedal | Positiv to Swell   
  • Mechanical key action     
  • Mechanical stop action

  John F. Nordlie, Builder