When searching for a new pipe organ in the 1980s, Emanuel Lutheran was intent to purchase an instrument of high musical quality and craftsmanship. The organ committee, chaired by Donald E. Bergman, chose Jeremy Cooper of Epsom, New Hampshire. The contract was signed on 31 March 1986.
Three years later, the organ was dedicated on the morning of Sunday, 9 April 1989 (the Third Sunday of Easter). The first concert was held the following Sunday in the afternoon, featuring the Worcester Chorus directed by Gerald R. Mack, and organist Stephen E. Long (who had been the organ consultant). At the time, Emanuel’s pastor was the Rev. Dr. George G. Kinney; the organist was Andrew H. Borden (who would later be ordained and become pastor of Emanuel!)
Three dozen flamed copper pipes are visible in the organ’s façade. In total, the instrument has over 1500 pipes. All of them were built new except for the first 24 pipes of the “Subbas” stop, which came from a 1913 Hook & Hastings organ in Indianapolis. The quarter-sawn white oak case stands 23’ high. The instrument is free-standing, covering a floor space of only 4’ x 10’. The keyboards have Gabon ebony naturals and plated holly accidentals. The pedalboard has white oak naturals and holly accidentals. The design, construction, installation, and tonal finishing were all the work of Mr. Cooper.
While the organ has an undeniable Baroque flavor, it is unusually versatile for an instrument of its size. The “Crescendovaerk” (located behind the vertical wooden shutters) doubles as a Swell and a Positiv, with no fewer than five 8’ stops. In fact, ten of the organ’s 27 stops (37%) are at 8’ pitch – an unheardof percentage for a Neobaroque instrument of the 1980s. And as a nod to Emanuel’s Swedish heritage, Mr. Cooper gave all of the stops Swedish names!
Since the year 2000, the organ has been cared for by Stefan Maier of Orange, Massachusetts. One of the most renowned organ technicians in Massachusetts, Mr. Maier also maintains the instruments at Mechanics Hall, Holy Cross, Harvard University, Wellesley College, Boston College, and many churches.