Consultants have spent the previous week within the bowels of a historic pipe organ at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor painstakingly weighing, measuring and photographing each piece of the church’s uncommon, surviving E. & G. G. Hook Opus 288.
The data on the Nineteenth-century organ, which is considered one of solely a couple of dozen of its variety that’s nonetheless round, might help different teams care for his or her organs from the identical interval and producer. And it may assist these attempting to revive different organs from the identical interval, giving restorationists exact measurements on the components they should carry organs again to life — which is what occurred with St. John’s organ three a long time in the past.
“This challenge is a vital step ahead to doc, by way of exact measurements, images, and observations, the bodily and tonal particulars of this outstanding, and rare-surviving mid-Nineteenth century pipe organ, which is a cultural landmark in Bangor and a nationwide treasure,” mentioned Kevin Birch, music director on the church.
Nicholas Wallace of Topsham is among the consultants who’ve spent the previous week documenting the Bangor church’s organ. He joined his father’s pipe organ constructing and restoration firm David E. Wallace & Co. LLC in Gorham after he earned his diploma from the College of Southern Maine’s college of music.
At left: Organ consultants are amassing knowledge from the historic 1860 pipe organ at St. John Catholic Church in Bangor for future generations of organ builders. At proper: Pipes within the decrease keyboard of the E. & G. G. Hook Opus 288 at St. John Catholic Church in Bangor. Credit score: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN
Tokyo-born Nami Hamada of Ipswich, Massachusetts, is the opposite. She studied organ efficiency at Ferris College in Yokohama, Japan, and on the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She has labored for corporations in Massachusetts however now could be an unbiased contractor within the organ constructing and restoration business.
The challenge, which was delayed by the pandemic, is funded by the St. John’s Organ Society, which Birch helped present in 1993, a 12 months after he was employed.
Since then, Birch has turn into acknowledged internationally as an knowledgeable on organs made by brothers Elias and George Greenleaf Hook in the course of the Nineteenth century. The corporate operated from 1827 to 1935 and constructed greater than 2,000 pipe organs.
The data gathered by Wallace and Hamada can be accessible on the society’s web site and to different organizations that help the research and care of Nineteenth-century organs.
“The documentation helps put the instrument in perspective for its time and place,” Birch mentioned. “It should assist organ historians, notably those that research Hooks, see how St. John’s organ is alike and completely different in relation to different vital Hook organs in america and Europe.”
At left: Inside the historic pipe organ at St. John Catholic Church, Nami Hamada seems into the decrease keyboard whereas amassing knowledge. At proper: Keys of the E. & G. G. Hook Opus 288 in St. John Catholic Church. Credit score: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN
Earlier this 12 months, Birch performed a Hook Opus 553 in Berlin constructed 10 years after the St. John’s organ was completed. It initially was in a church in Woburn, Massachusetts, earlier than being shipped to Berlin.
“It’s a strikingly trendy design for the 1870s and displays the rising live performance follow of the time,” he mentioned.
Going ahead, the data additionally can be utilized within the restoration of different Nineteenth-century organs. For instance, lacking pipes could possibly be changed by traditionally correct ones utilizing knowledge from the documentation.
St. John’s on York Avenue was accomplished in 1856.
The organ was ordered in early 1860 at a value of $4,000 and was the 288th instrument constructed by the Hooks. It was delivered that December from the Boston manufacturing unit by steamship.
It took practically two weeks to assemble — about twice the time it’s taking to finish the documentation — and the organ was first heard by parishioners on Christmas Eve in 1860.
It’s the largest Nineteenth-century “tracker motion” organ in northern New England, in line with the St. John’s Organ Society.
The time period “tracker motion” describes a direct mechanical connection between the keys and the pallets beneath the pipes. The organ has 34 stops and 1,869 pipes various in size from a number of inches to 16 toes. It’s a three-manual organ, having three keyboards for the palms, plus the pedalboard, performed by the toes. It’s considered one of solely a dozen or so three-manual Hook’s in existence as we speak.
At left: Nicholas Wallace images and data organ pipe measurements on Thursday. Wallace and fellow organ knowledgeable Nami Hamada spent the final week contained in the historic 1860 pipe organ at St. John Catholic Church in Bangor amassing knowledge for future generations of organ builders. At proper: A zinc pipe from the E. & G. G. Hook Opus 288. Credit score: Linda Coan O’Kresik / BDN
The organ deteriorated over time and by the top of the Seventies, it was unplayable. A significant restoration, undertaken in 1981 by Bozeman-Gibson & Firm of Deerfield, New Hampshire, introduced the organ again to life.
“Having a Hook organ meant having the perfect organ you would have on the time,” Birch mentioned.
A sequence of hourlong live shows this summer time, sponsored by the organ society, will mark the thirtieth season because the organ’s restoration. They are going to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, July 29 by way of Sept. 1. The live shows are free however donations are accepted.
For extra details about the organ and the St. John’s Organ Society, go to www.hookopus288.org.