Casavant built their Opus 665 for the Church (now Basilica) of Saints Peter and Paul in Lewiston, Maine in 1916. It was installed in the "Lower Church," a large secondary worship space with a low ceiling. Casavant's Opus 1588 (1938) is in the rear gallery of the lofty Basilica upstairs.
David Enlow, organist at the Church of the Resurrection, grew up in Toronto playing on a majestic Casavant organ from "the teens," and envisioned the acquisition of such an instrument for his church. David and the rector, Fr. Barry Swain, traveled to Maine to inspect the downstairs organ, and planned its purchase and renovation. David and John Bishop, executive director of the Organ Clearing House, developed a new specification that would use all of Opus 665, several bass ranks that remained in the church from previous organs, and several newly acquired stops.
Music at Church of the Resurrection under Enlow's leadership is unparalleled, with a professional choir presenting mass settings every Sunday, and a distinguished list of recitals including Daniel Roth, Paul Morrison, James Kennerley, Stephen Tharp, and many others.
The Follen Community Church - Lexington, MA (1997)
The Follen Church is a Unitarian Universalist congregation in the heart of birthplace of the American Revolution. Located on the route of Paul Revere’s ride and surrounded by the taverns and battlefields of the legendary Minutemen, it is a place with a strong historical sense. The historic octagonal building was home to a home-made pipe organ, assembled from a collection of unrelated parts by a parishioner.
When the Unitarian Universalist congregation in neighboring Stoneham announced it was closing, selling its building, and offering its historic organ to another UU church that would be able to restore it and give it a good home, the people of the Follen Church advised by OCH executive director John Bishop took on the project.
The fourteen-stop organ, built in 1868 by Boston organbuilders E. & G.G. Hook (Opus 466), was unique as a perfect and unaltered example of the artistry of that fabled firm. We restored the organ in accordance with the highest standards of historical accuracy and installed it in the church where it was first played for worship on Easter Sunday. A large and enthusiastic group of church members volunteered to help with the project, refinishing the black-walnut case, reclaiming original metal action parts, and gathering for an old-time barn-raising in the first days of the installation.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Valparaiso, IN
In 2005, the Organ Clearing House arranged the sale of Hook & Hastings Opus 1418, built in 1889 to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. Originally built for the First Baptist Church of Harwich, Massachusetts (on Cape Cod), the organ was "decorated" by the addition of side wings. The historic photo shows the organ in its original glory.
S.L. Huntington & Company restored the organ, including mixing custom milk-based paint according to original recipes to achieve the fantastic reproduction of the original decoration. Members of the staff of the Organ Clearing House assisting Scot Huntington with the installation.
The American Organ Institute at University of Oklahoma
The hospital system of the University of Pennsylvania was planning to build a new cancer research hospital and had purchased a site from the city of Philadelphia across the street from the main hospital campus. The demolition of the existing building on that site would be complicated technically because it was a 13,000 public auditorium with a two-acre floor. Explosives could not be used because of the sensitive equipment in the neighboring hospitals. It was also politically complicated because the building was a venerable 1929 Art-Deco hall that inspired much public nostalgia.
To partially allay the public resistance to its demolition, the University of Pennsylvania agreed to preserve artifacts from the building, among which were 2600 bronze doorknobs case with the seal of the City of Philadelphia, massive ballroom chandeliers, mosaic murals – and a 100,000 pound Möller pipe organ built in 1929.
The organ was located in a 100 x 20 foot chamber above the auditorium ceiling, 125 feet above the floor. It had two consoles, Concert and Theater, which reflected the dual personalities of the instrument. It had only eighty-nine ranks of pipes, but they included four Tuba stops, a dozen 16 ft ranks, and three 32 ft stops.
We were contracted by the University to dismantle the organ and store it in an adjacent building. Two years later the University notified us that that building would be demolished to make way for additional new construction. The organ had to go. At that same time, University of Oklahoma Assistant Professor John Schwandt, founder and director of the new American Organ Institute (AOI), contacted us looking for a monumental vintage American pipe organ to be the centerpiece of the Institute. We had just the right instrument for him, but there were only a few weeks left until demolition-day.
It was a happy coincidence that the only recording we had of that grand organ was a Medley of tunes from Oklahoma played by Tom Hazelton for a convention of the American Theatre Organ Society. We sent the recording to Schwandt and after a couple days of negotiations, the University of Pennsylvania transferred ownership of the organ to the American Organ Institute for $1.
The organ filled five semi tractor trailers!
The AOI has established an organ workshop on campus where students are engaged in the first academic organbuilding program in the United States. A portion of the Mighty Möller has been restored and is in use in Sharp Hall of the University’s School of Music while funds are being raised for the restoration of the complete instrument.
Here we show two historic photos taken at the time of the organ's installation, and an unusual display of two consoles and four tuning keyboards (all ivory) - a 12-manual organ.
You can read more about this extraordinary organ and innovative educational program at aoi.ou.edu