The Woodbury organ in the choir gallery at St. Paul’s was brought over to the new church in 1923 from the old St. Paul’s, where it had been installed in 1905. The original specification of this instrument was a colorful one, designed to accompany the choir and to lead the congregation in hymnody.
During the latter part of the 20th century, a period of experimentation took place with the choirs singing from the southeast transept, accompanied by a neo-classical unenclosed 8’ division by Casavant, combined with some ‘digital voices.’ The acoustic problems with this, both for choirs, organs and congregation resulted in an eventual return of the choirs to the choir gallery, where the acoustics are exceptional, and a removal of the Casavant and digital work. Our charming chamber organ now accompanies the choirs when they sing from the transept, and for the most part, the original Woodbury organ accompanies the choirs in the gallery, as was originally intended.
Unfortunately, the 20th century was not kind to the Woodbury organ, with numerous ranks being removed and damaged as various attempts were made to enlarge and alter the instrument. In the near future, a major financial appeal will be necessary to replace the worn out, insufficient pipes which sit behind our attractive organ case, as well as to improve the provision for the choirs in the choir gallery, as we seek to bring the organ and gallery to a level which compliments that of our outstanding choirs at St. Paul’s.
Simmons Chamber Organ
In 2014, St. Paul’s received a beautiful chamber organ, built in 1851 by William B.D. Simmons, from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.