In 1929, the Shakers purchased a secondhand Hook & Hastings organ and installed it in the Chapel of the Dwelling House. This 131-year-old organ is still in remarkably good condition but needs a new wind-chest and some minor repairs, costing about $3500, to be returned to fully operational condition.
Our goal is to restore the organ so that visitors can enjoy concerts performed on this remarkable instrument beginning in the spring of 2019, our 50th anniversary as a museum and the 90th anniversary of its installation here at Canterbury.
The Canterbury Shakers’ organ was built by the Boston firm of E. & G. G. Hook & Hastings in 1887 for the home of James Murray Kay in Boston. Numbered Opus #1364, it is one of the smaller Hook & Hastings models, with 2 keyboards (known as manuals) and a shortened pedalboard, perhaps because of its original installation in a private home. It has a mellow and subdued sound, and stops for “open flute,” “dulciana,” “octave,” “gedackt,” “salicional,” “violina,” “flute,” and “aeoline” (possibly added in 1929). It also includes a set of 21 chimes.
Costing over $2000, the organ was a visible symbol of the Canterbury Shakers’ love of music and an indication of the growing popularity of music as entertainment after decades of exclusively vocal worship music.
Sister Lillian Phelps (1876-1973), one of the community’s most talented organists, played into her 90s. Many other community members were musicians and played other instruments such as the saxophone, cornet, piano, violin, and harmonica.
Please help us bring the music back to life by donating today!