The Jesuit Urban Center
The Elias and George Greenleaf Hook Pipe Organ

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In 1863 the firm of E. and G.G. Hook, then located near Roxbury Crossing, built a pipe organ for the Church of the Immaculate Conception, itself but two years old. The instrument, of 3 manuals and pedal, boasted 47 speaking stops. The press of the time received the new organ with great enthusiasm, comparing it quite favorably to the new German organ, by the Walcker firm, which had been dedicated in the Boston Music Hall only three months prior to the opening concert on the Hook.

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Some stops prepared for in the original plan and construction, including the 32’ Contra Bourdon of the Pedal, were added in the following years. Major rebuilding and expansion of the organ were undertaken in 1902:

  • The assisted mechanical action was replaced by an electropneumatic action.
  • manual and pedal compass were extended (to 61-30); the pipework was re-pitched to the lower orchestral standard of the time.
  • a new console, facing the organ, replaced the original console, which had faced the altar.
  • A fourth manual division, the Solo, was added, featuring some of the more Romantic voices that had recently become popular.

In the 1902 rebuilding, the tonal character of original part of the organ was little changed from its 1863 sound, and the voicings of all the pipework has remained substantially unaltered from 1902 til the present, providing us with a remarkable musical heritage. There have been, over the years, significant changes in the winding system and the combination action, and in the stop mechanisms, both at the console and at the chests.

Time has taken its toll on this venerable organ. A team of experts on the organs of the Hooks has been advising us on appropriate stewardship of this musical treasure, that its sounds may continue, for many years to come, to edify and inspire us all and to give eloquent praise to God.

Telephone:  (617) 536-8440
Fax:  (617) 536-2142

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