Prior to the use of the organ at First Parish, a bass viol was used to sound the first note for congregational singing perhaps followed by the tune of a familiar hymn played line by line. The first organ in the loft was introduced in 1831. It is described as being a “small second-hand organ with false wooden pipes in front and having three stops. It was bought by subscription.” The second organ was purchased in 1866 at a cost of $1000. A picture exists with the tall pipes obscuring the Palladian window. Later, a small Estey pipe organ, somewhat undependable, was used, until the present organ was purchased and installed in l962. The newer organ still obscured the window and the view to the outside. The efforts of such men as David Trageser and Larry Clampitt resulted in the selection and installation of the Reiger organ that we hear played by Polly Oliver each Sunday.
According to Mary Trageser, there was some difficulty in getting that new organ keyboard up the turn of the staircase from the vestry level to the sanctuary. Part of the railing had to be removed to solve that problem. Later, a group of men of the parish stood on boards laid across the tops of the pews to hoist parts of the organ into the choir loft where they were reassembled. The organ stayed in place until 1992 when it was removed to the Andover Organ Co. while the choir loft was enlarged. It was returned in pieces up the steep stairs of the choir loft.
November 17, 2013 was the last Sunday that this 51-year-old Reiger organ was heard in our sanctuary before leaving for its new home in Colorado. It will be replaced by a new Andover pipe organ eventually that will again reveal the Palladian window from the inside.