For the sixth year in a row, the First Congregational Church of Madison is sponsoring lunchtime organ concerts at the church during five Fridays in Lent. The public is invited to bring their lunch into the sanctuary and enjoy a half-hour concert of reflective and meditative music performed on the historic 1930 Möller organ by local organists. The performers are:
• March 9th: Frank Dodd, organist at Christ Episcopal Church in Guilford and Yale University student
• March 16th: Samuel Backman, Yale University student
• March 23rd: Brian Parks, music director at Higganum Congregational Church
• March 30th: Lars Gjerde, music director at Bethesda Lutheran Church in New Haven
• April 6th: Nathan Bayreuther, music director at Madison Congregational Church
The Thomas G. Shepard Memorial Organ was built by the M. P. Möller Organ Company in 1930 and has 1,548 pipes. Its superb musical qualities allow a tremendous range in expression, permitting the sound of the organ to progress from nearly inaudible to heroically powerful. Originally purchased in 1929 for $10,000, the organ underwent a two-year, $150,000 restoration in the late 1980's, funded by members and friends of the church and community.
In early 2004, the organ narrowly escaped being ruined by the ceiling collapsing onto the pipework and mechanism. A quick rescue effort was mounted to safely place the organ's pipework in trays and cover the mechanism to prevent further damage. By the end of 2004, the ceiling had been re-plastered and the pipework cleaned and repaired. Today, the "Mighty Möller" continues to serve the Madison congregation with reliable distinction.
These lunchtime concerts are free to the public as the church Music Department's Lenten gift to the Madison community, and you are invited to come!