rare Ernest M. Skinner instrument, treasured by Calvary
Presbyterian Church, was dedicated December 4, 1937 is
in its original unaltered condition. It was described by
its builder as being "Composed of a group of voices selected
for their unusual musical character and their property of
coordination to form a brilliant ensemble, Individually, they are
distinctive and designed to beautify and enhance the musical
service in the house of worship. There is no suggestion of
the cheap or trivial in the entire group. Total beauty and
the highest possible degree of musical character has been the
single objective of its builders, as was expected of them by the
officers and members of the church."
organ is encased in oak, its pipes being of burnished metal
similar to those in the Washington Cathedral.
It has a
32-foot pedal stop which no other organ in the area
except that at West Point has, and its solo stops are also a
feature. In all, there are 2,178 pipes, not including the harp
and chimes. Uniquely fit into a loft at
the rear of the Sanctuary, Mr. Skinner designed the organ so that
the original stained glass loft window could be retained. The initial
recital was performed by T. Tertious Noble, M.A., Mus. Doc.,
organist of St. Thomas, New York and nearly a thousand people
experienced "a memorable day in the musical history of the
community" when the great organ "spoke for itself!"
as one newspaper reviewer proclaimed.
View from the
organ loft at Christmas
organ, a gift of Mrs. Harriet Emigh Brown, widow of Judge Charles
F. Brown, cost about $20,000 when installed (including the $250
fee paid the recital organist) and would require many times that
to replace it today. Mrs. Brown had long dreamed of hearing
such an organ in the church where she had sung in the choir as a
girl. In tribute, the Rev. Dr. Imbrie said, "She has
made it possible that we and our children's children can make
melody in their hearts unto the Lord ... I thank God that (we) may
still be led to Him by the Voice of Melody... that wood and wire
and wind and fine workmanship (can) turn material things to
of the charming anecdotes connected with Mr. Skinner and the
purchase of the organ related that
of the builder's advanced age, the trustees had "second
thoughts" and cancelled their original order. However, in
the name of decency and fair play, Mr. Skinner insisted upon
the opportunity to confront the church
officers. After hearing their concern, the organ builder
proceeded to walk across the board table on his hands! A
binding contract was signed and the proud Mr. Skinner reveled in the
praise lauded upon the instrument at its dedication.
Thomas Tooker is the church musician and
is able to work musical miracles on the organ.
Copyright © 2011 Design by Sue (Entire content of this website)
Send mail to email@example.com
with questions or comments about this web site.
July 09, 2013