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PORTLAND ORGAN CRAWL
In 2015, we traveled north to Bangor to meet with our colleagues in the Bangor chapter, to hear about the composer Dudley Buck and to play the wonderful Hook opus 288. This year, the Portland Chapter invited the Bangor Chapter to travel to Portland and sample a few of the organs here.
Located at 307 Congress Street, Portland, ME
A Henry Erben Organ
When the Cathedral was built in 1869, two mechanical action organs (three manual instruments in the rear, two manual instruments in the chancel) were installed by the Henry Erben Company of New York. In 1929 the W. W. Laws Company of Wenham, Massachusetts converted the old chests to electro pneumatic action and made considerable changes in the pipework, under the direction of Rev. Father Finn, and organ architect of note. The new type of action with its new electric consoles made it possible to play both organs from the gallery or the chapel. In 1969, a contract was awarded to the Leighton Organ Service of Yarmouth through the Portland Baldwin Studios to replace completely the wind chests, wind system, and wiring for the organs; refurbish the consoles, and make tonal changes in the Chancel Division to make it more suitable for accompaniment of the choir, now located in the front of the church. The chapel console was relocated and now only controls the chancel division. The main console was taken out of the balcony and relocated to the front of the church where the choir is now and still controls both organs. In 2000, the Faucher Organ Company in Biddeford, ME revamped the organ once again, adding 10 digital stops to the Gallery Division and completely renovating the electronics within the consoles. To date, the organ has 3,336 pipes and 65 pipe ranks/10 complete electronic ranks. The space is vast and affords a lengthy reverberation; however, playing the instrument from a console nearly 300 feet away can be a challenge!
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
Located @425 Congress Street, Portland, Maine
The First Parish instrument is a relatively new electric action organ that shows the diversity in pipe organ construction and voicing.
State Street Church
Located at 68 State Street. Portland, Maine
A Roosevelt Organ
State Street is a good example (the Roosevelt portions) of a turn-of-the-century (20th) electric action organ. As a close friend of Thomas Edison, Roosevelt was a pioneer in adapting electricity to the pipe organ.