For the year 2019, Holy Comforter will celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of our Hook Organ, Opus 476. Brothers Elias and George Greenleaf Hook completed their third organ in 1869 for the Methodist church in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with a $2600 contract (around $48,000 today). The local newspaper reported our organ was “new and elegant” and the dedication recital was performed by J.H. Wilcox on February 19, 1869. The church building was sold in 1912 to the United Presbyterians, who maintained the organ and performed alterations to the historic inner workings. The church building was again sold in 1979, and our organ remained mostly unused until 2010. A major renovation project on their 1938 Kimball organ led St. John’s Cathedral, Denver to purchase our Hook Organ for service use. Organ builder Susan Tattershall was able to restore the damaged inner mechanisms, and our Hook played mightily from the St. John’s nave. Thanks to generous members, volunteer labor, Organ builder Jim Steinborn, and Organist John Murgel, Holy Comforter was able to purchase and relocate this magnificent instrument to Broomfield nearly three years ago. There are few existing instruments of similar quality in Colorado. St. John’s Cathedral previously owned Hook and Hastings (a later partner after the brothers’ retirement) Opus 792, but this instrument was destroyed in a 1903 fire. Pipes from the Hook and Hastings Opus 1446 (St Mark’s Episcopal on Lincoln St, Denver) are currently heard each Sunday at the First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs. Our Hook Organ is the oldest operating pipe organ in Colorado, however three other instruments from that time period remain in their original location or condition: the 1890 Farrand and Votey Organ at Our Merciful Savior, Denver, the 1876 Charles Anderson Organ at Grace Episcopal, Georgetown, and the 1899 Steere and Sons Organ at St James, Central City.
In celebrating the history of our organ, multiple concerts have been planned throughout the year. Please join us and invite your family and friends! Sunday, March 10th at 4pm, the Sanctuary Choir and friends will present John Rutter’s Requiem. Completed in 1985, the Requiem was first performed at Lovers’ Lane United Methodist Church, under the direction of composer Allen Pote. The seven movements (sections) include five pieces with text from the Latin Requiem Mass, and two pieces with text from Psalms. Later in March, Holy Comforter welcomes John Murgel, Barbara Hulac, and Norm Sutphin for three Friday evening Lenten Organ recitals. These concerts will provide time for meditation and introspection as we continue through our Lenten journey. A reception will follow, as well as time to meet the performer. Sunday, May 19th, an afternoon organ concert is planned with “Fun Pieces you don’t hear on Sunday Mornings” featuring musicians and friends from our community. Brown bag Noon-time concerts will resume in August and December. A special concert is in the works for September, with the Denver Rocky Mountain chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Chapter Members will perform a concert featuring music from the nineteenth century; look for more details this summer.