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Published: 07/28/2006    print this story   email this story  

Methuen's vital organ


By Mary Hart
Correspondent

Despite damage from the floods in May, the music continues from the Great Organ at the Methuen Memorial Music Hall on 192 Broadway. This magnificent organ was "the first concert pipe organ in the United States," says Edward J. Sampson, president of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall Board of Trustees. "It was built in Germany in 1863 and was first housed at the then Boston Music Hall on Washington St. and Hamilton in Boston, which is now the Orpheum Theatre. In the 1880s, the organ was removed from the Boston Music Hall to make room for the Boston Symphony Orchestra."

Methuen millionaire Edward Searles purchased the organ at auction for $1,500 in 1897 and had it rebuilt by the Methuen Organ Company. During this time, "Searles had Henry Vaughan build the music hall specifically for this organ," says Sampson. In 1909, the hall was dedicated , but the organ was used only for Searles' private entertainment until his passing in 1920.

Today the organ is priceless, worth millions of dollars.

This season's concerts at the hall were delayed by rain and flooding. The organ's blower motor had to be rebuilt and the basement's inside walls required much renovation, as they were soaked with sewer water down to the spigots. The board is continuing their recovery efforts so that you can look forward to the regular Wednesday night summer organ concerts, which are $10 for adults and $5 for those under 12. Enjoy seasonal events, such as an array of silent films, including "Nosferatu" on Oct. 27, and a Christmas concert known as "A Merry Music Hall Christmas" featuring a brass ensemble and the organ. To find out more about the hall, visit mmmh.org or call 978-685-0693.

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