Organ History

A Brief History of Musical Accompaniment at Streetsville United Church

For over one and a half centuries, musical accompaniment in some form of wind driven pipe instrument has been a component of worship at Streetsville Methodist/United. Milestone dates were:

Year Milestone
1848 Small hand-pumped melodeon was acquired and placed in the original Maiden Street building
1876 Melodeon moved to new Methodist Church sanctuary at Queen and Barry Streets (current building); however, it was quickly determined that “it was nowhere near loud enough for the size” of the new sanctuary.Economic conditions precluded purchasing a replacement; one attempt in 1888 failed due to insufficient funds. Finally in ……
1891 First pipe organ acquired from E. Lye and Company for $287.50 Ladies raised $250; additional $100 came from Sunday School.
“From 1891 there has always been a pipe organ in the church, frequently rebuilt, the pipes moved about, the keyboard system modernized. There is a possibility that some of the pipes in the gallery boxes date back to the 1919 reconstruction or even earlier but the original lead pipe direct key/pipe airflow has long gone; as well as the little screen at the back of the choir loft where some young lad of the congregation pumped the organ by hand.”

W. Tolton, “Short Bites”, 2001

1919 Motion approved to purchase new pipe organ
1920 New organ installed based on quote for Specification No. 593 from Canadian Pipe Organ Company Limited of St.-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Total cost for pipe organ with two manuals, 396 pipes and 7 ranks: $2,400.
1931 Another reconstruction of organ, with support from women’s groups
1946 Organ moved to immediately behind pulpit
1960 Major reconstruction of choir loft, new organ console at front left of choir loft and pipe chambers in balcony with additional ranks and refurbishing of earlier pipe ranks. Work done by Keates and Company, then of Milton, Ontario; total cost $7,200. Refurbished organ dedicated to those who gave their lives in World War II.
1980 Another refurbishing of organ by Keates. Additional ranks included installation of pipes currently visible across rear of choir loft. Organ now has 825 pipes across 13 ranks and 21 stops (still 2 manuals); total cost ~$80,000.
1998 New blower installed; however, also advised that next refurbishment would involve six figure numbers to do a proper restoration
April 2003 Entire organ replaced with a Phoenix Organs PD-351 Digital Organ with three 51-stop organ stylings, (English, Baroque, English with Orchestral Instruments), three manuals and pedal keyboard, 12 channel amplifier and pipe organ speaker system plus antiphonal speakers.

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