Beginning with the 1842 St. John’s Church in downtown Hartford, the parish has enjoyed six splendid organs, two by the Hook company of Boston and four by Hartford’s Austin Organs, Inc.
Through the years many of the organs received significant upgrades and additions, including the impressive antiphonal for the current main instrument and its predecessor. A Brief History of the Organs of St. John’s Church, by Ralph B. Valentine, St. John’s organist and choir master from 1976 to 2010, provides an illustrated overview.
The current St. John’s Organ is Austin Organs Inc. Opus 2761, dedicated in 1996. The instrument contains a total of 51 stops, 64 ranks, and 3721 pipes.The detailed organ specification page is available here.
Through the years, the acclaimed St. John’s organs have drawn superb organists to the church, been used for a large number of concerts, and served as examples of the organ makers art by their builders. Two notable examples of recordings are an audio CD by performer Frederick Hohman playing the current instrument and a very unusual “concert” by a famous Canadian organist, Lynnwood Farnam, featuring the penultimate organ. For more information about these recordings, including audio links, please visit Organ Recordings.