Plymouth Congregational UCC Pipe Organ
The history of organs in this church dates back to 1872 when a string bass viol (we still have it on display) was replaced with a Seraphim, hand-pumped bellows reed action organ to be situated in the balcony. It was replaced by a Henry Erben organ built in 1854 for the First Baptist Church in Fall River, Mass. and shipped in crates by rail to Plymouth where it was reassembled. It had "tracker" key action meaning that each pipe had a wooden rod from the console to open and close its valves. Younger church members were commandeered to provide uninterrupted wind power.
In 1928, this instrument was replaced by an Ernest M. Skinner pipe organ built in Dorchester, Mass. for the church and containing 26 ranks to drive 1445 pipes. It cost $10,270 and was installed by Mr. Skinner himself with an electro-pneumatic key action; no more rods! St. Paul's School organist Francis Snow presented the inaugural concert on October 14, 1928, introduced by church Moderator Harl Pease of Plymouth, New Hampshire's only Medal of Honor recipient ever, to a packed house. A second recital had to be held for those who couldn't get into the sanctuary.
Following a devastating fire in the early morning hours of September 6, 1983, the Skinner was all but demolished. What hadn't burned was crushed by falling timbers. And what wasn't burned or crushed had been soaked by fire hoses. It was sold to an organ buff in California for a little less than half of its original cost and trucked out west by Plymouth's Bob Crowley.
In its place is today's 1985 Austin Organ Opus #2695 at about ten times the cost of the Skinner. Built in Hartford, Connecticut it contains 1247 pipes driven from 21 ranks in 3 divisions, 24 stops. Our pipe organ is rated one of the best north of Concord and it is entirely suitable for concerts. After a full church debate over whether to go with pipes or electronic, architect Perry Neubauer, in designing the new Congregational space for Plymouth UCC, took pains to accommodate this musical instrument in its new home by allowing the great division to be out in the room, opposing swell chest as well and with the largest pedal division pipes in the clerestory -- all for that "full sound!"
Electric key action. Electric stop action.
21 Ranks. 24 stops. 12 General Pistons. 7 Great Pistons. 7 Swell Pistons. 5 Pedal Pistons. Great to Pedal Reversible. Swell to Pedal Reversible. Crescendo Pedal. Tutti.
Traditional style console with roll top. The console is in a fixed position, left.
Stop keys above top manual. Balanced swell shoes/pedals, standard AGO placement. Adjustable combination pistons. AGO Standard (concave radiating) pedalboard.
Dr. John Sherer, Fall 2017
GREAT SWELL (Enclosed) PEDAL
8' Principal 8' Holz Gedeckt 32' Resultant
8' Rohrflöte 8' Gemshorn 16' Principal
8' Gemshorn SW 8' Gemshorn Celeste 16’ Holz Gedeckt
4' Octave 4' Koppelflöte 8’ Octave
4' Spitzflöte 2' Principal 8’ Holz Gedeckt (Swell)
2' Blockflöte 1 1/3' Quint 4’ Choral Bass
IV Fourniture II Sesquialtera 16’ Trompette
8' Cromorne 8' Trompette 4’ Cromorne (Great)
Great Unison Off Swell to Swell 16’ Great to Pedal 8’
Swell to Great 16' Swell to Swell 4’ Swell to Pedal 8’
Swell to Great 8' Swell Unison Off Swell to Pedal 4’
Swell to Great 4' Great to Swell 8’