Holy Cross College
1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610 US
Brooks Concert Hall
Organ ID: 11051
From a Facebook Messenger message from James David Christie to OHS Database editor James R. Stettner on July 22, 2022, "The Music Department at Holy Cross did not want to keep the organ in the concert hall and asked me to find someone to take it. At Holy Cross, it was very difficult to access on fhe concert hall which was always busy with orchestra, Gamelon classes, rehearsals and practice, chamber music, classes, concerts, etc. They also did not want to pay for a professional restoration and I had no luck finding a benefactor for the project.
It was then given to Oberlin who paid to have it cleaned, carefully disassembled, and transported to Oberlin ( Hal Gober, who was curator of organs at Oberlin, did the work with a small team of helpers). We tried to find a good place for it in Oberlin without any success and had to keep it in an air controlled storage. The problem at Oberlin was that there was no place of importance for it where it could be showcased. I had a benefactor there lined up to pay for the restoration, but he insisted it be placed in a prominent place on campus. Our Art Museum, which is gorgeous, refused to house it as it is very small and the organ would have taken up valuable space. They also had strictures on when and how it could be used that would have made it very difficult and inconvenient to use.
It then went to Rutgers and they had a professional restoration done. Rutgers was going to install it in their museum devoted to American art. My former student, Renée Louprette, and her husband, Prof. George Stauffer who was Dean of the Music Department, headed that project. I was then told the museum decided they did not want it and they were going to install it in their chapel.
Updated through online information from Eric Culver. -- Gift from John and Linda Shortridge; John formerly the Curator of Musical Instruments at the Smithsonian Institution, where he started the restoration program and period instrument performance series. Originally commissioned for the Perkins School for the Blind (the alma mater of Helen Keller), it was installed there in January of 1840. At the time the organ was being planned, the renowned composer-organist, Lowell Mason, was professor of organ at the Perkins School. In 1865, the Hook brothers built a new and larger organ for Perkins and accepted the Appleton organ in trade. They soon moved it to the Baptist Church of Biddeford, Maine. John and Linda Shortridge purchased the instrument from the Bidderford Church in 1979 and restored it in an historically informed manner.
Updated through online information from Lisa Lucius. -- This organ came from Yarmouth, Maine - St. Bartholomews Church. See database entry #8868.
Editor Update Note: The original home was the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. 1865, E. & G.G. Hook who had taken it in trade sold it to the Baptist Church in Biddeford, Maine. In 1979, it was acquired by John & Linda Shortridge of Phippsburg, Maine through the Organ Clearing House. Then it went to Yarmouth ca. 1996 installed by David E. Wallace. Thereafter it was given to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, but no installation location could be found; so it was sent to Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio. It was cleaned and moved by Halbert Gober, but again - no home could be found. So it was placed in climate controlled storage. It was next sent to Rutgers University in New Jersey and restored in 2020 by Columbia Organ Works. As of July 2022 it is still in the Columbia shop awaiting installation in an historic chapel on the Rutgers campus.
Where is this located at the college. Where did it come from?