Care to join me in helping to restore an essential piece of Fairfield's (and Vermont's) history?
Hi, my name is Nance Shaw, and I'm raising money to restore the rare and beautiful pipe organ at The Meeting House on the Green in East Fairfield, VT. It has an exciting story.
This instrument was built in 1887 by organ builder E. H. Smith of Montgomery, VT (formerly of St. Armand, Quebec). Smith was the only significant nineteenth-century organ builder in northern Vermont, and while his work was confined to a limited period between 1883 and 1889, he supplied at least seven instruments to local congregations. We believe ours is one of just three Smith organs left in Vermont – the other two are located in Hardwick and Bristol. Initially, ours was built for the Congregational church in Swanton, VT but was moved to East Fairfield in 1913. It's listed in the National Historic Organ Society's biennial report of Pipe Organs in Vermont (1814-2014) as being "extant but severely damaged." We wondered just how damaged.
Ten years ago, when we began the journey of preserving The Meeting House on the Green, we dreamed of restoring the organ, but important structural projects have taken precedence. Through persistent fundraising efforts, grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, and donations from individuals and businesses, we've replaced the aging heating system, repaired the bell tower, restored the windows, built an outdoor stage and wheelchair ramp, and painted the exterior. We're excited to have reached a point where we can now think about our little gem of an organ. Fortuitously, our paths crossed those of Stephan Conrady from Alburgh, VT - an accomplished organist and a trained and certified technician and organ builder, now organist at the First Congregational Church in St. Albans, VT. Stephan assessed our organ and determined he could repair it. When asked what attracted him to this project, he said, "This is a beautiful instrument. I felt sorry for it. It's all here, and I can rebuild it."
Please help us bring this lovely instrument back to life, and experience the satisfaction of being part of a worthy effort to preserve the past for future generations! Your donation in any amount - large or small - will help us accomplish our fundraising goal of $8000.
Stephan will work throughout the winter for an expected completion date of late April, 2023. Be sure to check our website (www.meetinghouseonthegreen.org) and our FB page for news and photos as we track the progress of this exciting project!