Organ finds new home on East Coast

Published October 1, 1998

A church in Newfoundland is making beautiful music with the gift of an organ donated by a Calgary woman.

“The congregation was well pleased with the sound,” wrote church organist Gerald Barter of St. Michael and All Angels in Marystown to benefactor Barbara Jean Moore.

Mrs. Moore was left with the Hammond Elegante organ after her daughter left home. A former Anglican church organist in Quebec herself, Mrs. Moore said her daughter had taken organ lessons for some years but had lost interest and didn’t want to take the large instrument with her.

Planning a move to a smaller house, Mrs. Moore decided the Hammond had to go.

“I thought it would be a hassle to sell,” she said from her new home in Calgary. “Most people want keyboards these days anyway.”

Her husband hit upon the idea of writing a letter to the Anglican Journal in which she offered to donate the organ.

“I have a 1981 Hammond Elegante organ which I am willing to donate to any church which may need to replace their present organ,” Mrs. Moore wrote in her letter published in the Journal last winter. “It has 38 drawbars, 25 pedals, two manuals and comes with a bench. The organ is in good condition.”

The letter resulted in about 15 phone calls, Mrs. Moore said, from as far afield as Philadelphia, Bermuda and India.

One letter from India was from a bishop. The other was from someone who assumed Mrs. Moore must be wealthy. He asked her for money in order to send a student to medical school in England, a request she noted she had to decline.

In the end, St. Michael’s was the first church to indicate a definite interest and plans for transportation.

“I had no idea it would go so far away,” Mrs. Moore said, which is why she enclosed a $100-cheque in the organ bench to help pay to truck it across the country. St. Michael’s sent her a charitable donation receipt for $1,100, to acknowledge both the organ and cheque.

Had she been financially able, Mrs. Moore said she would have paid the entire $700 cost of transportation.

Mr. Barter estimates the church would have had to spend between $12,000 and $15,000 to buy the organ new. The Elegante is a better class of organ than the Hammond itself, he said. It contains the upper and lower foot pedals – which he had to get used to – as well as extra gadgets allowing it to make the sound of a pipe organ.

“The organ that we had was giving us some problems,” he said, noting it needed repairs.


Keep on reading

Skip to content