The Organs of St. Chrysostom’s Church

1894 - A 2-manual organ by W. W. Kimball & Co.

1896 – A 2-manual organ by Hook & Hastings, 

1897 – A 3-manual tubalar-pneumatic action instrument by W. W. Kimball & Co was given by Mrs. Aurelia Senn

1922 – The Kimball organ was rebuilt and enlarged by LaMarche Brothers (Chicago) a new console built by The Austin Organ Co.

1953 – A new 3-Manual organ of 35 ranks was built by Casavant Frères, Ltée.

1979 – M. P. Moeller built a new 4-manual organ of 90 ranks incorporating Casavant pipework and windchests

2005 – The new organ by C. B. Fisk, Co.

Soon after the building of the church and parish house, a small organ by W. W. Kimball & Co. was installed.  We assume that this two-manual mechanical action instrument was placed in the current organ chamber but we do not know exactly, nor do we know its specification.

In 1896 a two-manual organ by Hook & Hastings of Boston (Opus 1709 - Style no. 6) was purchased and installed.

In 1897, Mrs. Aurelia Senn donated $6,000 for the purchase of a new three-manual tubular-pneumatic by Kimball Organ Company of Chicago.  A letter from Mrs. Senn in the church files states that “I have taken the liberty of purchasing a fine organ by H. H. Kimball.”  The organ was installed in the present organ chamber, with the console built into the case and facing the façade.  A façade was erected in the arch at the head of the north aisle where the Ascension panel by Connick now hangs.

In 1922 LaMarche Brothers of Chicago rebuilt the Kimball organ.  The action was electrified, retaining the original windchests, and a new console, built the The Austin Organ Company, was installed behind the pulpit.  Many of the reed stops were replaced with new stops by Dennison of Reading, Massachusetts.  At that time the north aisle arch was closed, its false façade moved to the chancel, and the grill-work in the ceiling over the chancel was opened.

By 1952 the organ was showing serious signs of wear and the decision was undertaken to purchase a new instrument.  Dr. Harold Simonds received bids from Aeolian-Skinner Co. of Boston and Casavant Freres of Montreal.  G. Donald Harrison of Aeolian-Skinner proposed a three-manual 30-rank organ for $41,000. The Austin Organ Company proposed a renovation of the organ for $35,310, and Casavant proposed a three-manual 35-rank organ for $30,800.  The Casavant proposal was accepted and the organ installed in 1953.

In the early 1970’s this instrument was exhibiting dramatic signs of deterioration and Dr. Robert Lodine began the search for a new instrument which would incorporate some of the Casavant pipework.  M. P. Moeller of Hagerstown, Maryland, was selected and the four-manual 90-rank instrument was installed in 1979.

Just a few years after the Moeller’s installation, the instrument began to show serious problems in the windchests and combination action due to the use of perflex, a synthetic material which had been thought a suitable replacement for leather.  The pipework began to deteriorate soon after and the instrument was plagued with sagging languids in the Principals, reed pipes splitting at their seams and/or sagging alarmingly, and repair work was needed constantly.

A committee was formed to study what could be done for the instrument and, after much careful thought and research, determined that the organ should be entirely replaced due to the enormous cost of rebuilding, restoration and repair.  Further, the committee decided that an instrument with mechanical action rather than any electric action was desirable to ensure longevity, ease of maintenance and as a wiser stewardship choice.  The search for builders began and the list was refined to three:  C. B. Fisk of Boston, the Dobson Organ Company of Lake City, Iowa, and Mander Organs, London. 

The C. B. Fisk Company was awarded the contract for a two-manual instrument in 1998 to be installed in September 2004.  This important instrument by the premier builder of our time will be installed at the east end of the church incorporated with a new choir gallery.