HELP ENSURE THE RESTORATION OF:
         SKINNER ORGAN OPUS 637
AN HISTORIC PIPE ORGAN LOCATED AT COLUMBIA HIGH SCHOOL, MAPLEWOOD NJ
The CHS Organ Fund is applying for a grant to restore Columbia's Historic Pipe Organ.

We need your support to realize this grant.
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    HISTORY OF THE SKINNER ORGAN COMPANY:
NOTHING

Adapted from a history originally published by Joe Vitacco of JAV Recordings.

Ernest M. Skinnerís work was once considered the highest form of organ building art and science. Later, his work was considered emblematic of the worst type of pipe organ to have ever existed! Today the tides have again turned and Skinnerís work once again carries a cache like few others. The great heights of achievement set up a great downfall, and like all compelling great American stories, redemption. Ernest Martin Skinner (1866-1960) was born in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and was destined to become one of the most influential organ builders in the United States. Probably seeing his first pipe organ at ten years old, Ernest M. Skinner became fascinated by the instrument that was to occupy his life for the next eighty-four years. The company he founded was to build an overwhelming number of organs for America's most distinguished convention halls, universities, churches, cathedrals and residences. Compared to a total industry output of about 2500 organs a year in the late 1920ís, the 30 to 50 organs Skinner produced annually would appear initially to be but a footnote. Those few instruments however were for installed in some of the best locations imaginable. In the collegiate market alone, Skinner built organs for Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, UVA, Oberlin, Williams, and over a dozen more.

The outsized impact Skinner had on the pipe organ crossed continents. The enormous size of a pipe organ prevented all but a few of Skinnerís organs to make it overseas. More often, foreign organists visited Skinner instruments in America, and reported back their amazement than to encounter them on native soil. Louis Vierne, organist at Notre Dame de Paris, visited the United States in 1927, reporting back in Le Courier Musical:

One cannot imagine the enchantment that contact with a Skinner keyboard gives to a sensitive hand. It is regulated so that the finger perceives precisely the exact moment of contact producing the unleashing of tone; the artist becomes the absolute master of the sound. He can shape it as he likes. The most subtle articulations are permitted; the touch becomes alive and capable of inflections forbidden on even the best-constructed mechanical actions. There is no superfluous effort; just the degree of firmness proper to arouse the finger to a live attackÖ the keyboard seems to be a transmitter gifted with intelligence. All precision is attainable exactly and there results a certain clarity, the primary agent of all truly artistic interpretation.
Comparing his own organ to Skinnerís Opus 573, Vierne continued:
I confess to have sinned terribly with envy when seeing and experiencing the marvelous consoleÖ and involuntarily, I dreamed of the possibilities which could come about at Notre-Dame, with the forty-eight adjustable pistons, the five expression boxes, the crescendo pedal, the sforzando, and the many couples that I had beneath my hands and feet.
Continue to: 1889-1919, FOUNDATIONS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
ABOUT SKINNER ORGANS `
ABOUT THE CHS SKINNER
ABOUT CHS
THE ORGAN AND THE COMMUNITY
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