Category Archives: Music

St. Paul’s Presents: “Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat”

Today we turn from St. Paul’s long history to an event that many of us remember well: the performance of “Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat” on April 8, 1990.

“Fat Fat Jehoshaphat” Program Cover

This “musical that teaches the the power of prayer” required the efforts of several dozen parishioners of all ages, as well as our choirmaster, Albert Melton, and the rector, Bruce Rodgers.

“Fat Fat Jehoshaphat” Rehearsal

Our first photograph shows a rehearsal, with the choir and their director, Jennifer Johnston, on the left side of the altar. Left to right, they are:

  • Jennifer Johnston (Choir Director, with guitar)
  • Beth Mahony
  • Kirk Hauser
  • Judy Condo
  • Grace Dennis
  • Sarah Feedore (in front)

To the right of the altar are:

  • Chris Kleinman (Page)
  • Happy McPartlin (Chief Priest)
  • Julie McPartlin (High Priest)
  • Jon Bugler (King’s Guard, in front with head turned)

“Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat” set construction

Here we see part of the stage crew building the set. They are:

  • Martha Murphy
  • Andrew Murphy
  • Ann Jaquish

“Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat” Luncheon

And here is a photograph of the luncheon that followed the performance. On the left is Donna Williams, the only person we have been able to identify so far.

Finally, here is the complete cast listing for this performance.

“Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat” Cast List

“Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat” Cast List

 

The Albany Diocesan Choir Festival

A few weeks ago, St. Paul’s choir sang “Christ whose glory fills the skies,” one of the most popular works of T.Frederick H. Candlyn, our organist from 1915 until 1943.

T.F.H. Candlyn 25th Anniversary at St. Paul’s

As we finished singing the piece (one that we regularly perform with pleasure), I noticed the note on the last page: “Copyright 1942. Commissioned by the Eleventh Albany Diocesan Choir Festival, Albert F. Robinson, director,” and wondered (not for the first time) what the Festival was. Within the past ten years, the Cathedral of All Saints has hosted an Epiphany choir event, in which the choirs of Albany deanery parishes joined. Was the 1942 Festival similar to this more recent “Battle of the Choirs?” No one seemed to know, but the answer was to be found in newspapers of the time. And a very interesting story it was.

T. Frederick H. Candlyn at St. Paul’s organ.

The Albany Diocesan Choir Festival was begun in 1931 by J. William Jones, organist and choirmaster at All Saints Cathedral from 1929 until 1939. In the early years, these were small events, with just a few local choirs. But by the fourth annual Festival in 1935, with 22 choirs taking part, the festival had become a huge occasion, with (as a contemporary newspaper reported) “hundreds of voices” that was “attended each year by throngs.”

The 1935 festival was the culmination of a six-day “Festival Week of Music” at the Cathedral, including a concert of Candlyn’s compositions, sung by St. Paul’s choir and Candlyn’s chorus from the State College for Teachers. The week’s schedule was:

  • Monday: recital by the Cathedral choir featuring works of Palestrina
  • Tuesday: organ recital by Ernest White of Trinity Church, Lenox, Massachusetts
  • Wednesday: recital by Major John A. Warner piano, Earle Hummel violin
  • Thursday: concert of works of T. Frederick H. Candlyn
  • Friday: a chorus of American Guild of Organist choirs, conducted by Dr. Russell Carter. The  massed choir was composed of choirs from Reformed, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist congregations in Capital District.
  • Saturday: Fourth Annual Diocesan Choir Festival, conducted by J. William Jones. Part of this service was broadcast on radio station WGY.

Candlyn was again involved in the 1936 event as accompanist. That year also he was also president of the Albany Diocesan Choirmasters’ Association, which was very active in promoting and organizing the festivals, but also in sponsoring recitals, conferences and in commissioning choral works. The Association even published a newsletter, “The Chorister.”

Cover of “The Chorister,” May 1941

Candlyn was also accompanist in 1937, when twenty massed choirs sang his work “Thee we adore,” which he dedicated to the Festival choir.

St. Paul’s Choir, with T.F.H. Candlyn, 1937

By 1938, the Festival had “grown to be of national importance,” and had become the model for other festivals across the United States. That year, the Albany Diocesan Choirmasters’ Association conducted district festivals in each of the diocese’s deaneries, preparing the parish choirs for the diocesan event in Albany. The Ogdensburg event, for example, gathered 200 choristers from 14 choirs to St. John’s, Ogdensburg for rehearsals and for a choral service presided over by Bishop G. AShton Oldham.

George Ashton Oldham, Bishop of Albany

1938 was also the first year that the Albany Diocesan Choirmasters’ Association commissioned new works to be performed at the festival. The composers and their works were:

  • Healey Willan (1880 – 1968) of Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto: “Before the ending of the day”
  • Everett Titcomb (1884 – 1968) of Church of St. John the Evangelist, Boston, Massachusetts: “Benedictus es, Domine”
  • Gardner C. Evans (1897 – 1951) of Church of Our Savior, Brookline, Massachusetts: “Thy kingdom come”

The Association arranged for publication of these works (as well as “Magnificat and Nun Dimittis” by Titcomb) by Carl Fischer, Inc., in Series I of The Albany Diocesan Choir Festival Series.

Healey Willan, “Before the Ending of the Day” cover obverse

In 1939, the Choir Festival was again part of “Festival of Music Week.” That year, the schedule was:

  • Monday: Albany Federal Orchestra (an organization supported by the Works Project Administration)
  • Tuesday: Liszt Choristers, Booker T. Washington Choral Society, Schenectady NYA Choir
  • Wednesday: chamber music recital, again with pianist Major John A. Warner, as well as a violinist, a horn player and four cellists.
  • Thursday: J. Stanley Lansing, Dean of the Eastern New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists conducted a massed choir from nine area congregations
  • Friday: organ recital by Thomas Mathews of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia
  • Saturday: Albany Diocesan Festival, with 50 choirs, Mr. Jones conducting

William Jones, whose energy had moved the festival from small beginning into a project that “has spread throughout the length and breadth of the Diocese of Albany, with a fine organization of choirmasters and clergy as its sponsor and its own magazine which now has a national circulation” resigned from the Cathedral staff effective December 1, 1939, his tenth anniversary at the cathedral.

“Cathedral of All Saints” by Earle L. Kempton

Jones’ place as director of the Festival was taken by Albert F. Robinson, organist and choirmaster at Trinity Church, Potsdam. Albert F. Robinson oversaw the district festivals that year. We have a record of the Albany deanery festival, which drew 10 choirs to St. Andrew’s Church in Albany.

The 1941 Festival may have been the grandest of them all, with 50 choirs and 500 voices joined. Two new anthems were commissioned for the service:

  • Alfred Whitehead (1887 – 1974) of Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal: “Come Thou Almighty King”
  • Gardner C. Evans (1897 – 1951) of Church of Our Savior, Brookline, Massachusetts: “O Saving Victim”

These, along with the following piece (probably commissioned for the 1940 Festival) were published by the Diocesan Choirmasters’ Association in Series II of Fischer’s The Albany Diocesan Choir Festival Series:

  • Charles O’Neill (1882-1964), professor at the State Teachers’ College at Potsdam, New York (now the Crane School of Music): “I will extol Thee”

As mentioned above, Candlyn’s work “Christ whose glory fills the skies” was commissioned for the 1942 festival. It also was published in Series II of the Fischer series. With the war on, this was a smaller event, held in conjunction with the Diocesan convention “to aid in conservation necessitated for war measures.” We assume that this refers to gasoline rationing, which would have made it very difficult to transport 50 choirs for a separate event. This year was to be Candlyn’s last at the Festival: in 1943 he resigned from St. Paul’s to become organist and choirmaster at St. Thomas Church in Manhatttan.

Healey Willan, “Before the Ending of the Day” cover reverse

The Diocesan Choir Festivals for 1943 and 1944 were again held in conjunction with the diocesan convention. There seems to have been a break during the last years of World War II.

The first Festival after the war was in 1947, when 500 singers from all parts of the diocese were directed by Duncan Trotter Gillespie, of St. George’s, Schenectady, and accompanied by organ and a brass choir from Albany High School. In 1950, in a sign that the festival had returned to its former glory, the regional festivals were held once again: the Albany deanery met at St. Andrew’s, and other events were held in Cohoes, Staatsville, Morris and Ogdensburg.

1951 was a slightly smaller event, with 25 choirs attending, but scheduling the festival with the newly-organized Tulip Festival helped with attendance: the audience, we are told, filled the cathedral to overflowing.

All Saints Cathedral (credit: Albany Group Archive)

Starting in the 1954, when the Choir Festival was again held in conjunction with the Tulip Festival, the director was W. Judson Rand Jr., organist and choirmaster of St. Peter’s church, who had been the festival’s organist back in 1941. The Diocesan Choirmasters’ Association continued to organize the event, which attracted 200 singer in 1955.

The last reference to the Festival that I’ve been able to find is an advertisement from 1965. It is a pity that we have lost this element of diocesan life. With smaller congregations and smaller choirs in many Episcopal churches, it would be difficult to organize such a festival today. But think of the benefits of bringing together musicians from across the diocese to meet, to form friendships, and to join together in song.

 

From St. Paul’s Church to San Quentin: the Life of William Henry Hill

William Ingraham Kip (portrait attributed to Asa Weston Twitchell )

In his first decade as rector of St. Paul’s, William Ingraham Kip saw three young man enter the ministry from the congregation. We have already spoken of Sylvanus Reed, but the first of these three was William Henry Hill, who was not only an active member of the congregation, but also followed Kip to California. How Hill came to serve eight years at San Quentin Prison is only one of the fascinating things about this son of St. Paul’s Church.

William H. Hill was born in Connecticut in 1816, and came to Albany at age 15. He became a communicant of St. Paul’s in 1839, shortly after Kip arrived here as rector. Hill was soon busy in the life of the parish, particularly as “chorister” (then used to mean the leader of the church choir) intermittently from 1841 until 1845, while the organist was composer Oliver J. Shaw. He also represented the congregation at diocesan conventions in 1844 (during the contentious discussion of the fate of disgraced Bishop Benjamin T. Onderdonk) and again in 1846. During this period, he worked as a reporter and assistant editor for the Albany Evening Journal, owned and edited by the powerful Whig politician Thurlow Weed.

William Henry Hill

William H. Hill became a candidate for ordination in 1844, and was ordained deacon in 1846 and priest the next year. His first pastoral assignment was St. Paul’s, Brownville (Jefferson County, New York), where he served from 1846 until 1851. Interestingly, the Brownville church’s first rector was William Linn Keese, who was also the second rector of St. Paul’s, Albany. William H. Hill was then rector at Zion Church, Morris (Otsego County, New York) from 1851 until 1855.

California Clipper advertisement (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

William Ingraham Kip was elected Missionary Bishop of California in late 1853. A year later, William H. Hill followed him to the far distant west, which was still in the throes of the Gold Rush of 1849—1855.

Nevada City, California about 1856 (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Initially he served the church in Nevada City, and next was rector of Grace Church, Sacramento (where he also served several terms as superintendent of the city schools) from 1856 until 1871. His final parish assignment was at St. Athanasius, Los Angeles from approximately 1871 until 1878.

 

 

 

 

William H. Hill (San Francisco Chronicle 28 Oct 1896)

Have you been worrying about how Hill came to serve time at San Quentin? Well, you can relax, because he was definitely on the right side of the bars. William H. Hill was chaplain at San Quentin from 1878 until 1885. After a few years as a traveling missionary, he retired to Berkeley, where he died in 1896.

San Quentin Prison (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

 

The Windows of St. Paul’s: Advent

As the first in a series of St. Pau’l’s Church windows for the liturgical year, here is the lower panel of the chapel window donated by Donald Shore Candlyn, showing the Annunciation. This window, like all those in the chapel, is the work of Wilbur H. Burnham Studios, in Boston.

The Annunciation: lower panel of the Donald Shore Candlyn window

The Annunciation: lower panel of the Donald Shore Candlyn window

 

 

All Saints 2016 – a Centennial

It’s All Saints, and this year we mark the centennial of two objects donated to the parish, both of which were dedicated on All Saints Day 1916.

Knabe Grand Piano

Knabe Grand Piano

The first is a grand piano “for use in the upper room of the Parish House” on Jay Street, but now placed in the south aisle of the Hackett Boulevard church. It was “a gift as a thank offering to the parish by Marcia Brady Tucker, daughter of Mrs. Anthony N. Brady.” We’ve written recently about the generosity of the mother, Mrs. Marcia Ann Myers Brady, particularly the Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ that she endowed in 1915. The younger Marcia grew up at St. Paul’s and was married to Carll Tucker here on February 27, 1908. The piano, in an ebony case, was built that same year (as confirmed by the serial number) by the Knabe Company in Baltimore Maryland.

The second object dedicated that All Saints Day 100 years ago was the tall clock that continues to keep watch over our coffee hours in the Blue Room. It was given by more than one hundred members of the congregation in memory of three parishioners associated with our Sunday School.

Elliott Tall Clock

Elliott Tall Clock

You might be surprised that such a lavish gift would be offered for Sunday School volunteers, but in those years St. Paul’s Sunday School was an important part of our corporate life. Total enrollment on November 1, 1915 had been 286, with average Sunday attendance that year of 203. Classes were divided in five departments (Beginners, Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior) with 30 teachers, all overseen by 12 officers.

The clock, a “[t]all English chiming clock, encased in mahogany, made by Elliott of London, England,” honored “the long and faithful service” of three individuals:

 

  • Frederick W. Ridgway, Jr. (15 Sep 1896 – 14 Jun 1916), the Assistant Secretary of the Church School, was the son of Frederick W. Ridgway Sr. (St. Paul’s vestryman from 1901 until his death in 1915), and the brother of Dorothy Ridgway, who the next year (1917) would marry our organist and choirmaster, T.F.H. Candlyn.
  • Anna Jaykill Phelps (22 Jan 1857 – 8 Jul 1916), “teacher with a record of nearly 25 years of perfect attendance.” Anna was married to Marcus E. Phelps and had two sons, Charles and Edward.
  • Ira Porter Jr. (12 Jan 1838 – 21 Nov 1914), Librarian of the Church School for 45 years
Ira Porter Jr.

Ira Porter Jr.

By far the longest serving was the last of these. Ira Porter Jr. had retired as Sunday School librarian about 1905, so his tenure with the Sunday School, went all the way back to almost 1860. He served in the period when St. Paul’s Sunday School was the largest in the city, and when attendance far surpassed even the levels in the early 20th century. The glory years were the 1870s and 1880s, when total enrollment was 600, and average attendance was about 400, with almost fifty teachers.

Sunday School Song Book 56th Anniversary (1883)

Sunday School Song Book 56th Anniversary (1883)

Ira Porter Jr., a member of St. Paul’s for fifty years, had not only served as Sunday School librarian, he was also clerk of the vestry for thirteen years. He was the son of Ira Porter Sr. (1811 – 1892) and Jane Eliza Rice Porter (1818 – 1894). The elder Ira Porter was a St. Paul’s vestryman from 1859 until 1871. Ira Jr. worked at the Albany Customs House for fifty years, ending his career in 1907 as a Special Deputy Surveyor of Customs.

Ira Porter Sr.

Ira Porter Sr.

Dr. Candlyn Marches in the Armistice Day Parade

It’s Veterans’ Day, or Armistice Day as it was known until 1954. St. Paul’s has many veterans whom we honor, but this year let us remember T. Frederick H. Candlyn, our organist and choirmaster from 1915 until 1943, who fought in the trenches during World War I. Candlyn marched in every Armistice Day parade here beginning with his discharge in 1919 until he left this city in 1943.

Candlyn arrived at St. Paul’s in May 1915, having recently immigrated from his birthplace in Davenham, Cheshire, England. While he filed first papers for naturalization in July 1916, Candlyn was still a British citizen in May 1917 when the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed, requiring all men age 21 to 30 to register for the draft. In his native land, Candlyn (then age 24) would have been exempt, as the only son of a widowed mother, but not in the United States. He registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, and entered the army on September 21, 1917, leaving Albany with the first contingent of draftees for training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

Candlyn had a brief break from what he described as “a stiff bit of training” at Fort Devens when he returned to Albany to marry Dorothy Ridgway on December 29, 1917. She was a member of St. Paul’s, and the daughter of longtime St. Paul’s vestryman Frederick W. Ridgway. The newlyweds had a brief honeymoon trip, and then Candlyn returned to training. He became a United States citizen on June 25, 1918 at Fort Devens, and must have been shipped overseas soon afterward, assigned to the medical service.

Candlyn was discharged as corporal on  April 25, 1919. Every year thereafter, until he left Albany in 1943, Candlyn marched proudly in the Armistice Day parade, wearing the same olive drab uniform he had worn “over there.”

T.F.H. Candlyn in uniform (Albany Evening Journal 31 Dec 1917)

T.F.H. Candlyn in uniform (Albany Evening Journal 31 Dec 1917)

We have a description of one of these parades, and some details of his military service thanks to an article by columnist Edgar S. Van Olinda in the Albany Times-Union for November 17, 1941.

Those who witnessed the Armistice Day parade last Tuesday probably noted the Governor marching at the head of the column and the lone Civil war veteran, Colonel Hayes, of Brookview riding in the Governor’s open car. But unless you are a consistent curbstone fan or the collector of useless information, you probably missed another very important personage. Once again Dr. T. Frederick H. Candlyn, head of the music department of State College for Teachers, organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal church, paraded in the Legion division.

Dr. Candlyn does it every year; not that the stunt is very remarkable, as there are many who do the same thing. The important part is that he wears the same uniform he used overseas, and it is an enlisted man’s uniform at that.

Dr. Candlyn arrived at City hall just as Grand Marshal “Gil” Sharp and Carilloneur Floyd Walter were synchronizing watches, preparatory to the tolling of the big bell on the dot of 11, followed by the moment of silence, and “taps.” Both of these gentlemen took time out to congratulate the Doctor on his appearance and to ask, “How do you do it?” Most of the O.D. outfits have long since been carried away by the moths and those which are still in the clothes press are so small that most veterans would need the help of a shoehorn.

So, each year, T. Frederick H., on November 11, puts away the tuning fork and baton and dresses himself in the olive drab blouse, breeches and wrapped leggings and does his stuff.

After a brief aside about other Albany musicians who served in the war, Van Olinda continues with some insights into Candlyn’s wartime experience”

What could be more incongruous than our good friend, squatting on the firestep of a trench with a pad of score sheets on his knee, composing a Christmas cantata or a musical setting of the Magnificat with the shells and machine gun bullets whistling overhead?

He has written a delightful organ voluntary entitled “An Indian Legend,” which, while not too difficult to play, exhibits the possibilities of the organ stops. We can’t help but wonder if this, too, is a “front-line” composition.

In an earlier piece, published in the Times-Union for November 18, 1939, Van Olinda also describes Candlyn’s marching in the Armistice Day parade, and a few additional details of his wartime activities.

Dr. Candlyn had an interest in the outcome of the war beyond many Americans, for many of his close relatives still live in England. He stood on the parapet during his trick on watch, slipped on the wet duckboards in the trenches as he lugged rations to his platoon and learned the mechanism of machine gun and hand grenade. But during his rest periods, he jotted down little melodies on paper and when there was entertainment in the “Y” hut, Private Candlyn would be at the piano.

1938 Choir Boy Reunion with T.F.H. Candlyn

1938 Choir Boy Reunion with T.F.H. Candlyn

T.F.H. Candlyn gave much for his country with this wartime service. But he and his wife were to give once more to his adopted country. One year after that last Armistice Day parade in Albany, the Candlyns’ son Donald Shore Candlyn was killed by a sniper during the the Battle of the Bulge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ

St. Paul’s worshiped in the building on Lancaster Street for a century, and we tend now to think of that building, through the haze of memory and legend, as our ideal church home. But even at its purchase in 1862, the building was considered a compromise. A few years before, in 1860 – 61, the congregation (then housed in a former theater on South Pearl Street) had decided to move into the newly-opened western part of the city. The vestry negotiated the purchase of property for a new church, hired an architect, and offered the old church for sale. Those plans were dashed by the bank failures of May 1861. William Rudder, St. Paul’s rector from 1859 until 1863, describes the crisis, and its solution:

But being now, as it were, without shelter, it was necessary at once to find some place of worship. It so happened that the authorities of a Dutch Reformed Congregation were engaged in building a house of worship at this time; but they, too, were brought to a stand by the financial problems of which I have spoken, and the unfinished building was offered for sale. Your vestry felt that, under the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed, they could not do better than purchase this building. They did so, and adding a chancel, endeavored to make it as churchlike in appearance as possible, and suitable to the requirements of our worship.[i]

William Rudder

William Rudder

John Henry Van Antwerp

John Henry Van Antwerp

The vestry’s and Rudder’s lack of enthusiasm is palpable. But the vestry purchased the Dudley Reformed Church on Lancaster Street in May 1862 with financing arranged by junior warden John H. Van Antwerp, cashier of the New York State Bank. The congregation held the first service there in September of that year.

St. Paul's, Late 19th century

St. Paul’s, Late 19th century

Yet only fifteen years later, at the congregation’s fiftieth anniversary celebration in 1877, Rudder asked if perhaps the congregation was ready to take up the 1861 vestry’s goal “to build a new church edifice in a better and more advantageous situation.” and to erect a building “worthy of the position and resources of the parish.” [ii] If they did so, he encouraged the 1877 vestry to “[s]how forth the largeness of your Christian zeal and love by the extent and richness, the trust and perfection of your work.”[iii]

The congregation chose not to take up Rudder’s challenge, but they could not ignore the Lancaster Street building’s deficiencies, chief among which was the design of the chancel. While Rudder and the 1861 vestry had attempted to make the nave “as churchlike in appearance as possible,” the chancel they had added was recognized as inadequate. In 1902, the year of the parish’s 75th anniversary, our rector William Prall suggested five improvements necessary for the survival of the parish, two of them related to problem with the chancel: to remodel the chancel and bring the choir to the east end of church “where it properly belongs.”[iv]

William Prall

William Prall

Prall was unable able to accomplish these goals during his term as rector from 1900 to 1905, but they were taken up by his successor, Roelif Hasbrouck Brooks, who arrived in the spring of 1906. As a start, Brooks recommended improvements to the church building including the chancel. That fall, he appealed “to the congregation, urging them to repair and beautify their church by memorial gifts.”[v]

Roelif Hasbrouck Brooks

Roelif Hasbrouck Brooks

By the parish’s 80th anniversary in November 1907, Brooks had already accomplished much of this beautification, including Prall’s recommendation to remodel the chancel:

Since then [the appeal of autumn 1906] two windows had been put in place, two were now being constructed, a baptistery had been erected, the chancel enlarged, the organ reconstructed, two tablets had been erected and the credence table rebuilt. Meantime the Sunday-school had doubled its offerings for missions, the parish had met its apportionment and had also made various gifts for charities.[vi]

St. Paul's Chancel before 1901

St. Paul’s Chancel before 1901

St. Paul's Chancel in 1911

St. Paul’s Chancel in 1911

We do not know how the organ was “reconstructed,” but whatever improvements were made could not hide that fact that it was 74 years old. Brooks must have hoped that the church could afford a new organ to complete the restoration. The organ in use in 1907 was only St. Paul’s second, purchased in 1841, shortly after the congregation moved to the Pearl Street theater. Originally built by Thomas Robjohn (under contract with Firth & Hall of New York City), the instrument was rebuilt in 1857 by William A. Johnson, with the upgraded instrument inaugurated on Christmas Day 1857. Johnson also moved the instrument to Lancaster Street in 1864. William J. Stuart of Albany made major enhancements in 1892, including a new manual, pedal, chest, couplers and combination pedals, but by 1907 it must have been a very old looking (and sounding) organ. Brooks had plans for major enhancements to the church’s liturgy and worship space, including the creation of a boys’ choir, and moving the organ to the renovated chancel. He had the new chancel: a new organ would fit with these plans very nicely!

Years passed, and Brooks must have thought about who was capable of buying the church a new organ. His leading candidate would have been the wealthiest member of the congregation, Marcia Ann Myers Brady, who was already a major donor. Mrs. Brady had been a member of the congregation since 1872, and she raised their six children in the church. Her daughter Flora was baptized at St. Paul’s in 1879, attended our Sunday School and was married to E. Palmer Gavit by Dr. Prall, in 1901. Mrs. Brady’s other daughter, Marcia, was married to Carll Tucker at St. Paul’s in 1908.

Marcia Ann Myers Brady

Marcia Ann Myers Brady

Marcia Ann Myers Brady’s husband, Anthony N. Brady, was a practicing Roman Catholic who may never have seen the interior of St. Paul’s. Mr. Brady had started as a small businessman in Troy and Albany, but by the first decade of the twentieth century he had accumulated an immense fortune by investing in utilities and public transportation across the country. The firms he founded are the direct predecessors of such corporate giants as Consolidated Edison and Union Carbide, among others.

Tragedy struck Marcia Ann Myers Brady’s family in October 1912, when her daughter Flora died at age 35 in a fiery train wreck that also killed her sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s sister. Then a year later, Marcia Brady’s husband died, leaving an estate of over $72 million dollars, which in that period in New York was second only to that of John Jacob Astor.

Flora Myers Brady Gavit

Flora Myers Brady Gavit

This enormous fortune was divided between Marcia, her surviving children, and her namesake, Flora’s daughter Marcia Ann Gavit, age 6. Responding to Brooks’ desire for a new organ, Mrs. Brady chose to make a double gift to the church: $14,000 to cover the entire cost of a new organ, and $20,000 to the Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ Endowment Fund,  its “[i]ncome to be used, one-half for the maintenance of [the] organ, and one-half to create a fund for the installation of a new organ when such shall be required.”

The new instrument was dedicated on Palm Sunday, March 28, 1915. Built by the Hutchings Organ Company of Boston, it was a three-manual electric organ, with thirty-five speaking stops, nine couplers, two tremolos and a set of chimes.

Program, Service of Dedication for Gavit Memorial Organ

Program, Service of Dedication for Gavit Memorial Organ

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ

Plaque for Gavit Memorial Organ

Plaque for Gavit Memorial Organ

This was not the end of the Brady family’s generosity. After Marcia Ann Myers Brady’s death in 1921, her children, son-in-law (E. Palmer Gavit) and granddaughter (Marcia Ann Gavit) established a $60,000 trust in her name, with “the income to be used as the result of an expressed wish of Mrs. Brady to perpetuate the gifts she was accustomed to make during her lifetime for the support of the Parish.”

The Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ Endowment Fund  continued to fund repairs and enhancements the Flora Myers Brady Gavit organ over the next fifty years. The 1915 instrument was first rebuilt in 1940 by Ernest M. Skinner & Son of Methuen MA, with guidance from our organist and choirmaster, T. Frederik H. Candlyn. The official opening of the “rebuilt and enlarged Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ” was held on September 15, 1940. The enhancements included a new console with “modern electrical mechanism,” new stops (4 on the great, 5 on the swell, 4 on the choir and 5 on the pedal) and a new organ loft. “Many readjustments have likewise been made in the older organ to improve its speaking quality and tone.”[vii]

Program, Reopening of Rebuilt and Enlarge Gavit Organ 1940

Program, Reopening of Rebuilt and Enlarge Gavit Organ 1940

T. Frederick H. Candlyn at St. Paul's organ.

T. Frederick H. Candlyn at St. Paul’s organ.

The organ was again rebuilt “with tonal changes” by the M.P. Möller company in 1952. At that time, the organ was described as having 3 manuals, 4 divisions. 46 stops, 35 registers, 38 ranks and 2,521 pipes.[viii]

Only a dozen years later, New York State took the Lancaster Street building as part of the 98 acres needed to build the South Mall, now known as the Empire State Plaza. Any items not removed by the congregation before they left the building became State property The people of St. Paul’s had to make some difficult decisions about what could be taken and used in their new building, and the organ was one of those items left behind.

By early 1964, the vestry decided to purchase an organ by Casavant Frères for the new church on Hackett Boulevard, and to allow the State to sell the 1915 organ. Clarence Hollister (St. Paul’s organist and choirmaster from 1955 until 1967) estimated the old organ’s value at $60,000, but said that St. Paul’s had received an estimate of $32,000 to recondition it. Hollister’s opinion was that “I can’t see putting $32,000 into an old organ, which I’m not particularly fond of anyway.”[ix] One wonders how the organ could have deteriorated that much in the twelve years since the 1952 M.P. Möller revisions. It seems more likely that its deficiencies were a matter of changing styles in organ sound rather than actual deterioration.

Clarence Hollister at St. Paul's Organ

Clarence Hollister at St. Paul’s Organ

On June 3, 1964 the State issued a “Prospectus for the sale of organ at St. Paul’s church,” containing specification #CB639 for a “Three manual Hook & Hastings Organ with additions by Ernest M. Skinner.”[x] In July 1964, it was purchased by Christ Church (Episcopal) in Schenectady for the sum of $2,060.[xi]

More than a century after it was founded, the Flora Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ Funds continue to pay for maintenance of the Casavant organ. The funds, now known as the Gavit Organ Replacement and Gavit Organ Maintenance Fund, paid for a major repair only a few years ago, when organ pipes were beginning to lean precariously over the tenors and basses in the choir’s back row. We hope that Mrs. Brady would have approved.

Pipework for St. Paul's Casavant Frères Organ

Pipework for St. Paul’s Casavant Frères Organ (photo credit: Amy van den Broek)

[i] “Sermon of the Rev. William Rudder, D.D.,” in The Semi-centennial  Services of St. Paul’s Church, Albany, N.Y. (Albany: The Argus Company), 37.

[ii] “Sermon of the Rev. William Rudder, D.D.,” 36.

[iii] “Sermon of the Rev. William Rudder, D.D.,” 40-41.

[iv] “Past, Present and Future: a Sermon Preached January 26, 1902 in Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the Parish of St. Paul’s, Albany, N.Y. by the Rev. William Prall, D.D., Ph.D. Rector” (Albany: Weed-Parsons Printing Co., n.d.), page 17.

[v] “Tablet Unveiled in St. Paul’s, Albany N.Y.,” The Churchman 26 Oct 1907, volume 96, number 16, page 649.

[vi] “Tablet Unveiled in St. Paul’s, Albany N.Y.”.

[vii] “Service of Dedication: Flory Myers Brady Gavit Memorial Organ in in Saint Paul’s Church, Albany, New York” Archives of St. Paul’s Church.

[viii] OHS Database http://www.organsociety.org/database/SingleOrganDetails.php?OrganID=49048 retrieved 31 Oct 2016.

[ix] Albany Times-Union 21 Jun 1964.

[x] Office of General Services, Office of South Mall, South Mall Project Site Acquisition and Clearance Files. New York State Archives, 16209-91, folder “Demolition – St. Paul’s Church.”

[xi] Schenectady Gazette 09 Jul 1964.