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Thread: Rare organ celebrates centennial

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    Rare organ celebrates centennial

    Bethel, CT - A rare musical treasure in Bethel turns 100 this year.

    The 1914 pipe organ at historic St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church will star in a centennial recital at 3 p.m. Friday, November 28. The recital is free to the public.

    St. Thomas’ pipe organ is one of only 14 Hall organs known to remain unaltered from its installation state, according to the Organ Historical Society Pipe Organ Database. The Connecticut-based Hall Organ Company built more than 500 church organs between 1898 and the late 1940s.

    The organ, composed of thousands of individual components, likely took a shop of 20 workers several months to build, Pittsburgh organist and organ builder, Joseph Tuttle, said

    Tuttle gave a recital on the organ last year and has done maintenance work on it. He said St. Thomas’ organ shows exceptional craftsmanship and artistry. “The construction methods used at the time involved manufacturing almost every component by hand without the aid of modern power tools,” he explained. “The artistry comes from both those craftsmen physically producing the organ, as well as from the pipe voicer whose skill was to make each pipe sound beautiful when it speaks.”

    At least two features make St. Thomas’ pipe organ especially unusual, Tuttle said. First, the voicing is in the “Romantic” style. During the 1930s through 1980s, many organs with this type of voicing were altered or replaced in favor of voicings styled after organs of the Baroque Era in Northern Germany. Second, the mechanics used in St. Thomas’ organ, which allowed the organist greater ease and control than ever before, have not been in common use for more than 70 years.

    St. Thomas’ pipe organ was given to the church by Mrs. Josephine L. Shephard in memory of her husband, George Anson Shephard (1839 – 1904), and her son, Frank Hartshorn Shephard (1863 – 1913). “We owe a lot to the vision of parishioners who recognized the value of this instrument and saw to its upkeep over the years,” said the Rev. Norma Schmidt, St. Thomas’ Priest-in-Charge.

    Tuttle and Anthony Rispo will perform in the Centennial Recital. Tuttle is organist and choir director at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Highland, Pennsylvania. Rispo is a concert organist and composer who has served several NYC area churches.

    For more information:
    Norma Schmidt
    Priest-in-Charge
    St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
    95 Greenwood Avenue
    Bethel, CT 06801
    203.743.1494

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
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    Be nice if they had skype and did a live webcast. Sounds Great.
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
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