Roof cross The Church of the Holy Name
Swampscott, Massachusetts

Organ project photographs by Dana Sawyer, Curator of E.M. Skinner Opus 368
Restoration Status Recitals Links SpecificationContact

The organ: Ernest M. Skinner & Co. Opus 368
Built in 1922, Opus 368 replaced a small 19th century Hutchings organ.  Even before the new organ was installed, several changes were made.  The original plan was to re-use the speaking pipes in the Hutchings facade. Instead, a facade of non-speaking pipes was built so that the Hutchings organ could be donated to The Episcopal Church of Saint John the Baptist in Sanbornville, New Hampshire.  After a recent restoration, the Hutchings organ is still in use in Sanbornville.

As the 80th anniversary of our Skinner organ approached, it was clear that the mechanisms from 1922 would need a complete overhaul.  The instrument was also in poor shape tonally, due to a number of unsuccessful modifications over the years.  After considering many options, we chose Spencer Organ Company to do a complete renovation of the instrument with the objective of restoring both its mechanisms and its authentic Skinner sound.

The Restoration Project (Phase II)
Phase 1 re-installation Mechanical renovation (Phase I of the project) was completed in 2002, with a thorough cleaning of the organ and replacement of all the original leather parts such as gaskets and valves. This phase represented about a third of the entire renovation project.  (A photo album of Phase I is available on the Church of the Holy name's web site.)

Console from National Cathedral At some time in the 1960s our original Skinner console was replaced with an inferior contemporary model which was deteriorating rapidly by the 1990s. Fortunately, Spencer Organ Company had a suitable Skinner console which was originally located at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. 

For six years prior to installing the present Great Organ in the Cathedral in 1938, Ernest Skinner loaned the Cathedral a smaller instrument, Opus 883. When the Great Organ was complete, he removed this temporary organ and sold it to a small college in the Boston area. The college subsequently dismantled the instrument, but Spencer Organ Company was able to obtain the console.  These photographs show the console in storage at Spencer Organ.  (console album, 9/11/2002)

Joseph Rotella checks pedal key
This album shows the former National Cathedral console at the Spencer Organ shop, where it was being refurbished for our organ.  (console2 album, 8/8/2007)  The restored console arrived at Church of the Holy Name on March 1, 2008 (see below). 

Pipes on voicing machine
Joseph Rotella checks Skinner Diapason and Octave pipes from the 1920s on a voicing machine (a small organ used to adjust the tonal qualities of pipes).  These pipes, together with a Harmonic Flute, an Octave, and a Mixture, have now replaced the strange assortment of non-Skinner pipes formerly in the Great division of our organ. (great album, 8/8/2007)

Empty toe boards This album shows the Spencer Organ crew removing and packing the Great pipes on August 31.  None of the original Great pipes remained, (they had been replaced some time during the last 50 years), so the existing pipes had to be removed.  The Great toe boards and rack boards were also removed and modified to accept Skinner pipes once again. (great_removal album, 8/31/2007)

Installing diapasons
Diapasons originally from another 1922 E. M. Skinner organ are installed in the Great division of our organ.  A Skinner Octave and Harmonic Flute and a Mixture in the Skinner style have since been installed.   (great_diapasons album, 9/13/2007)

At the Spencer Organ shop
We visited the Spencer shop to see the work in progress on our console and the restored pipes from our Swell division.  (shop_visit album, 2/16/2008)

The new console arrives
The restored console from the 1932-1938 interim National Cathedral organ (Aeolian-Skinner Opus 883) arrives at our church.  Connecting to the existing signal wiring will take several more days.  (new_console album, 3/31/2008)

The new console arrives
Our first Sunday with the new console.  (new_console_first_sunday album, 4/6/2008)

Current status: Phase II of the project is complete.  

History and Specification

View the history and specification in PDF format (Requires Adobe Reader or equivalent).

Future plans (Phase III)

When funds allow, we plan to restore the missing Still Gedect/Echo Lieblich in the Pedal division and add a Trumpet/Trobone playable from the Pedal, the Great, and the Choir.  To make room for these stops, we will need to replace the existing facade of dummy pipes with a facade of speaking pipes (as was originally planned in 1922).


Sunday April 27, 2008

We observed the liturgical re-dedication of Opus 368 at our 10:00 AM service on April 27, and organist Douglas Major gave a recital at 4:00 PM.

Sunday September 21, 2008

Mark T. Engelhardt gave a recital at 4:00 PM.

Sunday March 22, 2009

Michael S. Murray gave a recital at 4:00 PM.

Further recitals to be announced beginning Fall 2009.

External Links

The Church of the Holy Name, Swampscott

Spencer Organ Company


Click here to contact Dana Sawyer

Last updated May 31, 2009