The summer of 2009 was the season of restoration for the renowned 1885 Koehnken & Grimm pipe organ in historic St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro, Ohio.
The historic pipe organ had been rebuilt in 1933 to update it from the original “tracker action” to an enlarged instrument. This summer the organ was transformed by the Muller Organ Company of Croton, Ohio, into a digital age instrument with technologic advancements giving it a transposer, midi capability and 99 levels of memory – functions previously only found on electronic organs. Each Sunday the church resonates with sounds of glorious organ music during the 10 a.m. services under the expert hands of St. Mary’s organist, John Glaze.
With the restoration of the organ, St. Mary’s will again be presenting special musical programs during the Advent (Christmas) season. For the initial performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 the Southern State Singers will present their Christmas Concert.
Next on the calendar is a special presentation of "Candlelight Christmas Vespers," a program of Advent and Christmas music for the organ and organ with other instruments. This program, featuring organist John Glaze will be performed at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec 13.
The third Sunday performance is the "Festival of Lessons and Carols" presented by the St. Mary's Women's Ensemble at 7 p.m. Dec. 20. The work is based on the traditional English format of an order drawn by Edward Benson for Christmas Eve, 1880 in Truro, England. The best known version was introduced at King's College, Cambridge, England in 1918 to add more imaginative music to the worship. The Christmas Eve performance, first broadcast in 1928, is now heard worldwide by millions each year and is broadcast on PBS in the United States.
All programs are performed without charge at St. Mary's, 234 N. High St. and are open to the public.
Christmas Eve services on Thursday, December 24, are open to the public. The early family service begins at 7 p.m. and the Midnight Service begins at 11:30 p.m.