AHCC is home to a number of world-class instruments that draw people and organizations to our facility.
AHCC’s Aeolian-Skinner organ, Opus 1380, was installed in 1961 and dedicated on January 7, 1962. It is built in the “American Classic” style (tonally influenced by English, German, and French pipe organs) and has the ability to perform, with near accuracy, the choral and organ repertoire from all major periods and nationalities of music. From 2004-2005, the organ was completely restored, renovated and expanded. Austin Organs, Inc. of Hartford custom built a new four-manual, draw knob console with a multiple memory, digital operating system. The firm of Messrs. Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. of Northampton, MA, cleaned, repitched and revoiced all pipe work, completely rewired the organ and added two new ranks of pipes, including the horizontally mounted, brass Herald Trumpet. Three digitally produced 32′ stops which provide a heroic bass “rumble” were also added. The completed organ was heard for the first time on Easter Sunday 2005 and officially re-dedicated in recital on May 6, 2005.
The organ contains 68 ranks and 4,008 pipes from 18 feet to less than ¼” in length. There are six divisions within the organ: the Great, whose pipes are cantilevered on a large wind chest over the choir members’ heads; the Positiv, whose pipes are cantilevered on the balcony railing; the Swell and Choir, enclosed in large boxes with visible, moveable shutters that allow full loud and soft volume control; the Solo, whose most commanding pipes are the brass Herald Trumpets; and the Pedal, with most of the pipes inside the organ chamber except the 32′ Contra Bourdon pipes on the side of the balcony floor and the large speakers for the digitally produced 32′ ranks mounted on either side of the Great division. The organ console, while weighing approximately 1200 pounds, can be moved to any location in the balcony. The organ is prepared for the addition of 10 more ranks of pipes as well as a Portative (portable/movable) division in the front of the sanctuary.
The organ is curated by the firm of Messrs. Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc.
For more information, please contact Organist, Susan Carroll.
The Memorial Organ was built for AHCC’s Gross Memorial Chapel in 1971 by the Princeton, NJ organ company Gress-Miles, and dedicated through a service and recital on November 5, 1972. The organ was originally dedicated in memory of several people close to the church, notably Richard Einsel, Jr., son of AHCC’s Minister of Music Emeritus. Inscribed on the organ is the following:
The organ is given in loving memory of Richard Carlton Einsel, Jr., Age 8, A musical flame snuffed out too soon
Marion Mount Applegate, Charles Ker Reid, III, Margaret Scott Wilson
the many whose loved ones have given generously for the beauty of music in this chapel.
The organ is a large instrument for the small chapel, originally designed with 615 pipes controlled by two manuals and a pedal board. Though the organ is beautifully constructed and produces a variety of tone colors, musicians and parishioners found it difficult to utilize the full potential of the organ without overpowering the small groups of people that typically gather in the chapel. In 2007, while serving as interim organist, David Bradley began talks with Northampton, MA organ company Messrs. Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. to propose a reconstruction project primarily to address this issue. The solution was to create a set of wooden shades to enclose the inner pipework, allowing the organist to control the volume of the organ with an expression pedal, while preserving the range of color. Additionally, a beautiful rank of reed pipes replaced the narrow-scale “regal“ which had a nasal and unpleasant tone. The new pipes, constructed in Germany, that make up this rank are similar to an oboe or bassoon sound, and are now among the finest set of pipes in the entire organ. With the addition of this rank, the organ now benefits from the utility of a warm and mellow solo voice as well as a blending ensemble reed for romantic works. The reconstruction project was completed through the generosity of a church member, and is dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Crawford Anderson, Buist M. Anderson, and David Crawford Anderson.
The organ is curated by the firm of Messrs. Czelusniak et Dugal, Inc. For more information, please contact Organist, Susan Carroll.
Asylum Hill Congregational Church is blessed with a number of concert-quality grand pianos.
All of our pianos are curated by Shawn’s Piano, Hartford, CT 860.965.8885
We have a set of 60 Malmark Handbells ranging from C3-C8, (missing C#3). Complementing that are 37 Malmark Choir Chimes.