We in the Christian world have a great heritage of sacred music. The sweet melodies and beautiful harmonies of our hymns have made them favourites from generation to generation.
In the mid 1800s the reed organ was invented and quickly became established in churches and Christian homes to lead and supplement the singing.
In more recent times the reed organs have often been replaced by electronic organs. And so we, Milton and Rosalie Wainwright, began collecting and restoring the reed organs. The unique and beautiful sounds of wind vibrating brass reeds, imitating the sounds of the pipes in the big pipe organs has yet to be copied electronically.
We have a regular Hymn Sing the third Saturday night of each month, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and all who can play are encouraged to do so. It is a never-to-be-forgotten experience to hear a number of organs played together. Even if someone makes a mistake, you can’t hear it – the music is “perfect”!
Our collection of over 150 reed organs ranges from a three-manual, full-pedal, Mason and Hamlin, Pipe-top, Liszt organ, and several other big 2-3-manual and pedal organs, through high top parlour organs, medium sized home and lodge and church organs, down to little folding missionary organs, accordions and mouth organs. Also a working player organ – which when pedalled plays the Hallelujah Chorus, and other good music – a good exercise machine for a rainy day! The organs often don’t have a date of manufacture readily found, but the oldest one we know a date for is 1876, and most are somewhere between there and the 1920s.