Restoration of the Historic
E.
& G.G. Hook Organ

The Project

The Wardens and Vestry of the parish have signed a contract with the A. David Moore Organ Company of North Pomfret, Vermont, to restore the church's historic E. & G. G. Hook pipe organ.  One of the most important surviving Hook organs of the pre-Civil War period, it has been cited by the Organ Historical Society as "an instrument of exceptional historic merit worthy of preservation".

Hook brothers' Opus 189 was built in 1855 for the First Parish Church (Unitarian) in Dorchester, Massachusetts. It was purchased by Saint Paul's in Salem and installed there by W.J. Stuart of Albany.  Heard for the first time in its new home on February 23, 1890, it has been in constant use ever since.
 

Facade detail

The instrument has two manual keyboards and a pedal keyboard and contains nineteen sets of pipes. Standing in the south transept, and decorated with fruit, flowers, and shields, the case has three flats of seven pipes each, standing over balustrades.  Originally faux-oak, it was at some point painted white, probably after a fire in 1912 did extensive damage to the church but, fortunately, did not reach the organ.  In the summer of 2004, all carpeting (except for that in the High Altar area) was removed from the church and the maple flooring was refinished with a hard-gloss urethane; as a result, the organ can be heard equally well from any part of the building.
 

In 2005, the organ will be removed from the church and taken to North Pomfret, where it will be restored to its 1855 state,  according to a plan worked out by Don Kerr,  Organist of Saint  Paul's and Curator of the  Organ, and

David Moore, the builder, with consulting assistance from Edgar A. Boadway.  The restoration will include the cleaning, repair, and re-regulation of all pipework, rebuilding of the windchests, refurbishing of the mechanical action, and the reversal of certain mechanical changes made by the Stewart brothers: the combination action, metal swell shoe, and the Hutchings-style tremulant will be removed. A hitch-down swell pedal will be restored.  The case will be repainted and the display pipes re-gilded.  In the interest of making the instrument somewhat more flexible and able to play more of the standard literature, two small alterations will be made: the original 25-note pedal-board will be rebuilt and one note added, making the compass CC-c,d, and the Great Tierce rank will be put on a separate slider so that its use in the mixture can be optional.  The present Swell Hautboy is the only stop that is not original but is a late-1800's replacement; hopefully, a period Hook Hautboy will at some point be found for substitution.
 

The organ will be returned to the church in the spring of 2006, and Madame Mireille Begín Lagacé will play the re-dedication concert, which will celebrate the instrument's 150th anniversary. The date will be announced as the work nears completion.  The organ will also be featured in a recital during the 50th anniversary convention of the Organ Historical Society on 28 June 2006.

Thanks to generous donors, seventy percent of the funding for the restoration of this significant instrument is in place. If you would like to help us complete the funding of the project, tax deductible contributions may be sent to:  Organ Restoration Fund, Saint Paul's Church, PO Box 484, Salem, New York  12865.

 

Condition of the Organ before Restoration
Click on any of the photos below for a larger view.
 


Brick ballast on the reservoir that supplies air to the windchests


Facade pipes which will be re-gilded


Pipework in the Great division

                   


Pipework in the Swell division,seen through
shades which regulate the sound


Pipework in the Great division, seen
through the facade pipes

   

 


The mechanism of the organ:  the
upper manual keyboard and trackers

 

Pipework in the Swell division

 

Tape peeling from a leaky
windchest

The pedalboard

The mechanism of the organ:
the rollerboards


Music in the Interim
During the restoration project, the parish is using a three stop portable organ built by David Moore.

         
 

Restoration of the Organ
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