Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

John Wessel Organs (1963)

Originally M. Steinert & Sons


St. Bernard R.C. Church
Keene, NH 03431 US
Organ ID: 50755

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Roman Catholic Churches
  • The organ is no longer at this location; destroyed, dispersed, relocated or taken in trade.
  • The organ's condition is unknown.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Slider
  • 14 ranks. 2 manuals. 12 stops.
  • Chest Type(s): Slider chests
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
  • Manuals: 2
  • Stops: 12
  • Key Action: Mechanical connection from key to chest (tracker, sticker or mix).
  • Stop Action: Mechanical connection between stop control and chest.
We received the most recent update for this console from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Database Manager on December 17, 2012:

Identified through online information from Michael Peter McCarthy. -- I was organist at St. Bernard's in the late 9070's while a student at nearby Keene State College. My only experience with this instrument came after the Wessell tonal revisions that had taken place earlier in the decade. While it had the nameplate "M. Steinert" on the console, it seemed that many people in the parish knew it had actually been built by Cole & Woodberry.

It had a very large Open Diapason on the Great, which practically overpowered much of the rest of the organ. I do not know what may have been there originally, but Wessell left only an 8' Dulciana in the Great. I recall often wishing for an 8' foundation stop that could hold it's own with the rest of the division.

The best part of the instrument was the Swell division. Some of the individual stops on the Swell were extremely beautiful, particularly the Stopped Diapason and the strings (including the Celeste). It was almost as if each had a distinct "personality." I believe that the the few years I spent with this instrument provided me with tremendous growth in my understanding both of the subtleties of organ registration plus what one can really do with an instrument of ostensibly limited size and scope. While there was a 2 2/3 flute, there was no reed and I could never determine whether there had been a Hautboy or something similar that Wessell had removed or not.

One thing of odd interest; I was told by a previous organist that the swell shades had originally been ON THE TOP of the swell box, which caused dirt and dust to fall into the pipes with the expected tuning problems, etc. This was remediated in the early '70s rebuild.

This instrument was taken out in the year 2000 and replaced with a digital electronic. To the best of my knowledge, it was sold to the Organ Clearing House. I can only hope that those beautiful stops on the Swell division are being heard someplace else.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Instrument Images:

Church Exterior: Vintage Postcard, courtesy of T. Bradford Willis, DDS (1910s).

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