St. Stephen Lutheran Church was filled with people and music as the worship service on September 29 began with the blessing of the Woodberry and Harris pipe organ, a gift of Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church. Used for the first time at a St. Stephen Sunday service last week, the 1892 tracker organ served other congregations in the greater Boston area for many years.
Mt. Olivet purchased the organ in 1981, and had it rebuilt using a combination of professionals from the Andover Organ Company and church volunteers. It served the Shrewsbury congregation from 1982 until earlier this year when the church closed and offered the instrument to SSLC. Once again, John and Fay Morlock from Andover Organ Company were involved, this time “primarily taking the organ apart and putting it back together,” John said, with the addition of manufacturing some new parts and modifying older parts. To change the pitch, he modified the pedal mechanism, moved the trackers that play the pipes, added a pipe and moved notes to add one at the bottom. The Morlocks, as well as many former parishioners from Mt. Olivet, attended Sunday’s service.
Music included hymns, a choir anthem, and a postlude that showcased both the range of the organ and the skill and enthusiasm of music director Stan Hanson. Members of both the voice and handbell choirs participated. Stan says the organ “is exquisitely voiced to lead our worship services and interpret organ music from all periods. For a small tracker instrument, there are sufficient tonal resources to accompany congregational singing and interpret some of the ‘grand’ music composed for the organ,” he added.