By TRISH PURKIS on November 24, 2020.
Southminster United Church is a favourite venue for many organ and musical concerts. The church has wonderful acoustics that carry the music clearly to all corners of the sanctuary and the balcony.
The organ was built by Casavant Freres in Quebec and was installed in October 1920, a memorial organ dedicated to the memory of the members of the congregation who lost their lives in the First World War. A plaque was installed at the back of the sanctuary listing their names. The organ was dedicated on Jan. 1, 1921, and a Grand Recital was held on the new organ on Jan. 7. Frederick Rogers performed at the console with Horace Reynolds and Mrs. H. Johnson performing as vocalists.
The organ was paid off in installments over an eight-year period.
The organ case is made of solid oak that is highly polished. The case is surrounded by 47 pipes, some reaching almost to the roof, although these pipes have been covered and are no longer visible. The organ has been tuned and repaired many times over the past century, with a major rebuild of the organ done in 1959 and a restoration of the organ done in 1987.
The 1959 rebuild replaced the old organ console and added stops to the organ. The newly rebuilt organ was dedicated on Feb. 28, 1960, and that system continues in use today.
Organist Harry Janzen led the 1987 restoration of the organ and presented John Rutter’s Requiem at the conclusion of the project.
In 2007, a lift was installed for the organ which allows the front of the sanctuary area to be converted into a stage for community and church performances.
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