Center Church’s great pipe organ, built in 1954 by Hartford’s own Austin Organs, Inc., contains 3,773 pipes. It utilizes many pipes from two previous instruments: a 1907 Austin and an 1883 Roosevelt. The case and façade pipes are from the church’s second organ, built by Thomas Appleton in 1835 (The church’s first organ was installed in 1822).
The organ’s primary role is to support congregational singing and accompany the choir. In addition, its size and dynamic range make it capable of rendering all styles and periods of organ repertoire.
Center Church also owns two Steinway grand pianos: the older, located in the Church House, was built in 1887; the younger, located in the Meeting House, likely was built in the 1910s or early 1920s (the exact year is not able to be known), with refurbishments having occurred in the mid 1960s and again in 1997. A two-manual harpsichord, built in 1976 by William Dowd, is located in the Meeting House.
Center Church also owns a battery of hand percussion instruments (tambourine, finger cymbals, conga drums, claves, etc.) that enhance the rendering of music from different ethnic traditions and geographical areas. In addition, volunteer and professional instrumentalists occasionally lend their talents to musical expression in worship.
The Center Church Choir is a mixed-voice ensemble that rehearses Wednesday evenings and sings the worship service each Sunday morning, mid-September through mid-May. In addition, the choir sings at other important services during the year. Professional singers from the Hartford area, who serve as section leaders, join volunteers and the Warburton Choral Scholars (see separate page) to explore and present the power and subtlety of choral music. In that process, the choir develops as an intimate community within the larger body of the congregation.
In keeping with the ever-expanding tradition of great music for the church, the choir learns and offers a wide range of anthems, responses, and larger works. The choir often presents a concert at some point during the choir season. If you are interested in learning more about or singing with the choir, or if you would like to know more about the larger music ministry of Center Church, please contact the Church Office at (860) 249-5631.