Walking into our sanctuary for the first time, it’s hard to say which is more striking: the Egyptian Revival motif or the organ. Both the art and the organ come with a long and rich history, and both have played their part in our witness to God’s love.
Our church has burned down twice, the second time in 1849. When the church was rebuilt (1849-1851) an organ was not affordable. However, one was purchased in 1858 and installed in the gallery at rear of the sanctuary. During the Civil War, the Union Army occupied the total building and removed every thing including the organ. A second organ was purchased and installed in the front of the sanctuary in 1874.
In 1913, the pipe organ was built and installed by Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Connecticut. It contained 37 ranks with 2,130 pipes and a chime system as well as an echo organ located in the northeast corner of the balcony.
By 1972, it was time for extensive renovations. This was done by the Milner Organ Company and required removing most of the old pipes and replacing them with smaller pipes in front to give better sound quality. The organ now has a total of 47 ranks plus extensions and 2,709 pipes.
In 2008, the organ was again renovated by Milner. This renovation included re-leathering 250 manual motors, 40 stop actions, 20 pedal borrows, 85 large and small pedal pouches and the internal parts of the echo organ. The new is a chrome-tanned pneumatic leather, guaranteed to last for at least 50 years.
Clearly, our organ is an important part of who we are. It has tolled at funerals, rejoiced at baptisms and ushered in the bride at countless weddings. It has guided our praise to God and reminded us of the depth and power of our music and our faith. The organ is a key touchstone to our past.
But the organ is not just a relic from our past. We know it will also play an important part in our future. More and more we are finding that younger worshipers appreciate music that has a past, that has the strength of tradition. We pray our organ will help us grow in faith and ministry for many years to come.
You can hear the organ by joining us at Sunday Worship when it is played by our Musical Director and Organist William Taylor and accompanied by our choir.
We also hold annual organ recitals that draw organ players and enthusiasts from far and wide.