John Speller's Web Pages Old North Vestry, Nantucket, Massachusetts
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Old North Vestry, Nantucket, Massachusetts. Roche Organ Company Op. 33, 1989

The Nantucket Congregationalists built their first church in 1711 in the main settlement on the Island, then known as Sherburne. In 1765 they moved the building to Nantucket Town, and in 1834 built a new and larger church adjoining the original one, which then became the Old North Vestry. The newer church, which has a two-manual Steere tracker organ is used in the summer, but in the winter the much smaller year-round congregation is accommodated in a worship space in the Old North Vestry, which may be heated more efficiently.

For a long time the Old North Church was without an organ, but in 1989 the Roche Organ Company, of Taunton, Massachusetts, under the management of the late F. Robert Roche installed a pipe organ. This is the firm's Op. 33, and the first pipe organ to be built on the Island since the Steere organ in the Baptist Church, installed in 1911.

The organ, one of the smallest on the Island, has an off-white Greek Revival style case with an attached console.

The stop list is as follows:

Manual I: C-a3, 58 notes

8' Violin Diapason
8' Chimney Flute
4' Principal
II-IV Mixtur

Manual II: C-a3, 58 notes

8' Stopped Flute
4' Spire Flute
22/3' Nazard
2' Principal
13/5' Tierce

Pedal: C-f1, 30 notes

16' Bourdon
8' Principal

Couplers: (hitch-down pedals)


Manuals I and II are enclosed in a common swell with a balanced expression pedal. The stopknobs are engraved after the Nantucket scrimshaw tradition, including one that turns on the electric blower. The facade pipes are of polished tin and are drawn from the Pedal Principal. The casework is similar to Henry Erben organs of around 1850, while the voicing is similar to E. & G.G. Hook organs of around 1865. Though softer than a normal Open Diapason, the Violin Diapason is of rich, warm Open Diapason tone. The Chimney Flute is very soft for accompanying Manual II.

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