Black Creek running through Sheldon village
Grace Episcopal Church
Interior. The Erben organ is to the left of the altar
This fine granite specimen is in the adjacent backyard
Beth Crane got wind of our project and invited us to come to her church in Sheldon, our first concert in Franklin County. The church has a venerable history. Its organ was built for St. Paul’s Cathedral in Burlington by renowned NYC builder Henry Erben and moved here when St. Paul’s got a new instrument (thanks to Diane Gates for this info).
Nailed to the church door (taped actually)
Check out the Vermont-style mute on the bell clapper
Beth Crane fills in Sheldon
An appreciative audience of about 50 welcomed us. I was fortunate to be joined by two wonderful Sheldon singers, Erin Grainger and Jennifer McConnell. Each of them invited the project to come to their own churches in Franklin and St. Albans, respectively. That was handy!
Scarlatti Sonata in G major, K.14, preceded by 14 ii-V-I’s (music starts at 1:05)
Jennifer McConnell sings “At The River” (arr. Copland)
Erin Grainger sings Paul Bowles’ “Heavenly Grass”
regaling the crowd
I had not encountered a Coops before. At 120 years, and about a half-century since its reconditioning, it was showing its age, but like so many large uprights of its era it had an underlying richness of sound, particularly in the bass register, that made it worthwhile to play. The worn hammers in the treble made for a tinkly, burbling sound that was evocative of early 19th-century pianos. I was pleasantly surprised how well it suited the Schubert sonata, particularly the last movement, which felt like it rolled off my fingers.
Apparently, Coops pianos are known for their sturdy construction and fine cabinet ornamentation, which is evident in the picture above.
The original factory in Taunton; CW is on the right, in the suit
Great-Grandpa Coops at the wheel. Coops photos courtesy of Andy Crane
Some of the keytops were loose
The at-hand adhesive in the church—it worked!