The Rieger-Kloss Organ
First Baptist occupied its third sanctuary in 1920, at the corner of Second Street Northwest and Grand Avenue. It was a stately Romanesque brick building, seating around 400, with stained glass windows noting several biblical themes. Records from this era record regular music leadership, with reference to those who led weekly in worship, as well as Revival musicians. While reference is made to an organ used in worship at the original church location, this was certainly an old reed style (or "pump") instrument; it does not appear there was such an instrument in the 1920 sanctuary. In 1939, Mr. Stanley donated an electronic organ to the church in memory of his late wife; this would have been one of the earliest models of such an instrument available in North America. Its longevity and eventual disposition are not recorded anywhere. When the current sanctuary was built in 1958, a new Allen two manual organ was installed, lasting its useful life and being replaced by a much larger three manual Allen organ in 1983.
Sanctuary renovation was eventually recommended and done over about a fourteen month span, being completed in about July of 2000. The 1983 Allen was reinstalled in the extensively remodeled pulpit area, but it became obvious that its previous shortcomings were magnified by the new acoustic, and its lifespan was measured in months without expensive updating. After some preliminary investigation, an Organ Committee was appointed to comprehensively study the situation. The Opus 3720 Rieger-Kloss organ is the result of their study, in collaboration with Mr. William E. Gray, Jr., a representative from Rieger-Kloss and the organ’s artistic designer, and the late Dr. Ted Tibbs, the committee’s consultant and University Organist at Samford.