Moller Organ and Its History Here
The present stone church was built in 1855, but it was not until October 27, 1867 that the first organ was dedicated. This instrument was a unit organ from the Johntson Company of Boston. There is no further information on this instrument except a glowing review of it by E Ashley Smith, Sunday School Superintendent.
Around 1892 a second organ manufactured by Hook & Hastings, incorporating units from the earlier Johnston, was installed. This was a tracker instrument and like its predecessor, it was located in the rear balcony. The tracker action was changed to pneumatic action in the late 1890s and the organ was relocated to the front of the Sanctuary. The pneumatic action was rplaced by electric action and during the 1920s a set of chimes was incorporated into the instrument, a gift of Mres. Jessie Peterson.
This organ, and its predecessors, served the congregation well. Unfortunately, the adaptation of electric controls to the tracker organ was not successful, and proved aggravating for the organist.
Through the generosity of Eugenia Arnold, the Moller organ was purchased and the chancel area was substantially renovated to accommodate its installation in 1950. Dr. Roberta Bitgood played the dedicatory recital on November 5, 1950. The instrument contained 42 ranks of pipes distributed over 3 manual with provision for an Antiphonal division to be added later.
During the 1980s much releathering and repair of the pitman chests was accomplished with funds from the newly established Standish-Farley Fund for the maintenance of the church’s pipe organ. The Great division was also entirely revoiced by Heritage Pipe Organ Company of Buffalo, NY.
The Antiphonal Division, also manufactured by Heritage Pipe Organs, was installed in the rear balcony in 1991 through the generosity of the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. It contains 7 ranks including a hooded trumpet on high wind pressure. The new division was dedicated on October 20, 1991 with a recital by John Mitchener, Kenan organ scholar at the Eastman School of Music.
The combination action and switching systems of the organ were completely replaced in 2007 by a generous grant from the William Rand Kenan Jr Charitable Trust. The console was gutted, refinished and outfitted with new keyboards, drawknob, tilt tablets and lighting making the 50 year old console as good as new. A new pedalboard and adjustable bench completed the update.
At this time several stops were changed because of age or ensemble problems. The choir 4′ Gemshorn was replaced by a new 4′ Principal. The choir 2 2/3 Nazard was also replaced. A new 1 3/5 Tierce and 1 1/3 Larigot were added to the choir division. Finally a new hydraulic lift now brings the console to floor level for recitals. These changes and additions were made possible by the interest accumulated in the Standish-Farley fund for the upkeep of the church’s pipe organ.
Currently the organ is contains 53 ranks with multiple preparations for future additions. The organ is the largest pipe organ in Niagara County.
Contributions and memorials to the organ maintenance fund are used exclusively for major repairs to the organ.