The Chapel Pipe Organs

Chapel Organ

Although records are sketchy, the first pipe organ on Trinity's current campus was a small instrument located in Seabury Chapel.

The first organ in The Trinity College Chapel was a four manual Aeolian Skinner pipe organ built in Boston and was installed and dedicated in 1932. The organ was designed in consultation with the famous organist T. Tertius Noble and was tonally finished by the legendary organ builder G. Donald Harrison whose name is inscribed along with the other builders of the Chapel in the wall of the South Cloister. The pipes for this organ were located in a chamber over the northwest area of the Choir and the console was located in center Choir area that is currently occupied by the Sedilia. Ultimately the works of this organ were destroyed by a burst steam pipe.

The late Mrs. Newton C. Brainard donated the current organ in memory of her husband, Newton Brainard, a former Mayor of Hartford and a Trustee of the College for 41 years. Built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford in 1971, it was dedicated in 1972 with a recital performed by the late Professor Clarence Watters who had served as College Organist since his appointment in 1932 until his retirement. Following his retirement, Professor Emeritus Watters received the title of Honorary College Organist a position he held until his death in 1986.

The organ contains 66 stops, with 4781 pipes of 79 ranks. Its tonal design can best be described as Neo Classic which employs the best principles of the past three centuries of organ building.  In broad terms, it comprises the Pleno or Grand Jeu of the 17th and 18th on every division, plus the brilliant Trompette choruses of the 19th century and the colorful solo stops of all three centuries.centuries.  While most pipes are made of metal, the largest pipes, those of the 32' Untersatz are built of pine. The largest pipe of this stop , low CCCC, is 32 feet high and nearly two feet square. Many of the smaller pipes are the size of pencils.

 In 1983, the college received a gift from Alfred M.C. MacColl, '54 to add the organ's most powerful stop,a high pressure horizontal reed, the Trompette de Jubilé 8'' in celebration of the Chapels 50th anniversary. David Broome, then Tonal Director of Austin Organs, Inc., together with College Organist John Rose determined the specifications for the desired tonal character of this important addition to the original tonal scheme.

The Music gallery, beneath the organ casework, was given by family and friends in memory of A. Henry Moses '28, a Trustee of the College for 36 years. The gallery was designed by another alumnus Charles Nazarian '73, and was dedicated in 1984.

With the support of then College President James F. English, Jr. and the late Vice President of Development, Constance Ware, plans were drawn up for the carved oak casework of the organ by designer Charles Nazarian, '72. Funding for this project was provided by the Stone Foundation of Darien, CT in honor of Paul Adams, '34. The completed casework, built by Mr. Nazarian's firm in Gloucester, MA was dedicated in 1986. The detailed oak carvings in the casework were carved by sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike.

In 1992 a new 5 stop mechanical action pipe organ by Nicholson & Co. of Malvern, England was installed in the Crypt Chapel.

The Crypt Chapel also houses a small portative organ which was built by the Rieger Organ Company of Austria and was given to the college by the family of the late Trinity professor, Norton Downes.

Crypt Chapel Organ

Mr. John Rose, the present College Organist has held this post since 1977. In addition to performing on the organ at Chapel services and special recitals, he provides instruction in playing the organ to students and other members of the Trinity community.



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