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Organ History  of Grace Church United Church of Christ

 

The M.P. Moller Organ Co., once one of the largest makers of pipe organs in the world, had a turbulent few years before closing its doors in 1992, but the memories and the beautiful music the company made live on.

Company founder, Mathias P. Moller, was born Sept. 29, 1854, in Denmark, and came to America in 1872.

Moller worked in Warren, Pa., as a woodworker at a furniture manufacturing firm, and in Erie, Pa., with the Derrick & Felgemaker organ building shop.

Moller returned to Warren, where he built a pipe organ in 1875. A year later, he went to Philadelphia, where he manufactured and sold four pipe organs before moving his operation to Greencastle, Pa., in 1877.  Moller placed an organ in the Reformed Church in Greencastle on trial.

When Moller was unsuccessful at securing financing from the Greencastle banks to expand his business, the city of Hagerstown took notice of Moller's early successes and induced him to move his business to Hagerstown in April 1881, to help make Hagerstown a viable business center in Western Maryland. The result was M. P. Moller, Inc. and the company remained in business until 1992, with a production of over 11,000 instruments.

In January of 1880, a committee from the Reformed Church was appointed to solicit funds for the purpose of purchasing one of Mr. Moller's organs at a price not to exceed four hundred and twenty five dollars, provided however, they could make satisfactory sale of the reed organ there in use.  This evidently was accomplished as the pipe organ remained in the church and was used until it was replaced by a newer Moller instrument in 1902.

For a long time the consistory of the church realized that the organ that was installed in 1903, required extensive repairs. After much study, the congregation voted in 1951 to have a new organ installed by the M.P. Morgan Company of Hagerstown Md. The two manual pipe organ installed at a cost of $10,727 was dedicated on November 8 1953. 

In 2007 organist Susan Alsip Lawson and the Alsip family provided seed money to begin a fund to have an oboe stop added to the current organ. In 2008 the proper funding was raised and the oboe stop was added which were made by Eastern Organ Pipes, Inc. in Hagerstown, MD and installed by the Lawless-Johnson Organ Company of Greencastle, PA.  Total cost of the project was $11,500. On September 14th at the 10:35 AM Traditional Service the oboe stop was dedicated at a special service.  Beginning in 2008, the music committee authorized that a special offering be taken every September for funding future additions and maintenance of the current organ.



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