Ernest Martin Skinner (1866-1960) is recognized today as one of the United States’ leading organ builders. His contributions to the world of organ music took place during the first half of the twentieth century. St. James’ is fortunate to have one of his earlier organs, Opus 193, which was built in 1911. The Skinner organ replaced our first church organ which was sold to the Caldwell Presbyterian Church.
Our original Skinner organ served St. James’ congregation until 1956. However, as an organ builder said “basically, though, the majority of the instrument was still very much Skinner” despite those 1956 efforts to rebuild and enlarge the organ. Fifty years later, in 2006, we found that our organ was again in need of significant work in order to continue to meet our future liturgical/musical needs.
The Committee met with Hugh Wilson and Bryan Kirk (the former and present organists of the First Presbyterian Church in Glens Falls) seeking their input about the status of our organ.
At 3:00 pm on Sunday, September 21, 2008 St. James’ had a Welcome Home Concert to celebrate the return of our 1911 Skinner Organ. In addition to our beloved organist, Marion Cavanagh, the concert featured K. Bryan Kirk, organist and music director of The First Presbyterian Church in Glens Falls and our advisor on our organ’s long journey to renewal.