The organ in the Church of the Good Shepherd is a 1929 E. M. Skinner of four manuals and 47 ranks and is the company’s opus 725. Built in Boston, Massachusetts, the contract for the instrument was signed in 1928. The six divisions include the Great, Swell and Pedal located in the chambers behind the decorative grills on the north side of the chancel and the Solo and Choir located behind the grill on the south side of the chancel. The Echo division is situated behind the grill and inside the wall to the right of the great Te Deum window above the balcony. G. Donald Harrison came from England to join the company in 1927, and his influence in the company can be seen, notably with the use of metal for the resonators of the 16’ Pedal Trombone and in the mixtures. Mr. Harrison later became President and Tonal Director of the company, known after 1932 as the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company.
The console was replaced in 1983 with one built by Austin Organs, Inc. of Hartford, Connecticut.
In the early 1990’s, Nelson Bardin & Associates of Newton, Massachusetts, was contracted to completely restore the instrument. At that time, pipework was rebuilt, windchests and reservoirs were releathered, and all pipework was re-regulated in the building. In the interest of returning the organ to its original specification, several sets of pipes that had been added over the years by other builders of lesser significance were removed.
The wonderful sound of the organ was further enhanced in 2002 when the acoustical tile on the ceiling that had been added in the 1960’s was removed, thereby increasing the reverberation time of the room to 2.5 seconds.
After being hit by lightning, the control system, that allows the console to communicate with the various divisions within the instrument, was replaced in 2006. The console was re-dedicated to the memory of Robert G. Lee.
John R. Parkyn