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The NHCC Hook & Hastings Organ

The pipe organ in the Newton Highlands Congregational Church, built by the eminent firm of Hook & Hastings, was installed in October 1924. The firm's opus 2492, it replaced a smaller ten-stop instrument (also built by Hook & Hastings) that was removed to the neighboring church of St. Paul (Episcopal), where it remained in use until the 1950s. The building of the new (i.e., present) church building in 1906 necessitated the installation of a larger instrument. This dream was realized in 1924, thanks to the generous donation of Mr. and Mrs. Fred R. Hayward, whose names are memorialized on a plaque attached to the organ.

In 1977 a new principal chorus (8' 4' 2 2/3' 2') was added to the Great, but the basic core of the historic Hook & Hastings instrument remains intact. In its present configuration the organ consists of thirty stops spread over three manual divisions and pedal. The Swell is located in a chamber to the right of the chancel, and the three remaining divisions (Great, Choir, Pedal) are located on the opposite side of the chancel. These three divisions speak into the nave through the fašade of the unenclosed Great. The original draw-knob console, located in the left transept, was restored several years ago and then again in 2012. The organ has been well maintained over the seventy-five years since its installation, and it remains in good playing condition, capable of rendering a wide variety of historical literature for the instrument as well as supporting the worship needs of the congregation.

During the summer of 2000 carpeting was removed from the chancel and the area in front of the chancel. Improvement of the acoustical environment for the organ, choir, congregational singing, and spoken word was so remarkable that the congregation decided not to replace the carpet. One had the impression that the splendid sound of the instrument intended by its builder more than three-quarters of a century ago had finally been realized. The organ prelude begins about seven minutes before the 10:00 AM Sunday service.