Harmonia Sacred Music Society Concert Hall
Chestnut Street between 12th and 13th Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19107 US
Organ ID: 57448
In its issue of 27 May 1854, Dwight's Journal of Music quoted the Philadelphia Bulletin. "The Harmonia Sacred Music Society contracted about two years since with Mr. J. C. B. Standbridge, Organ builder, of this city, for an instrument to exceed all others in the United States in point of size, beauty of tone, accurate voicing, and the other qualities desirable in a first class instrument of the kind. This mammoth organ is now receiving its finishing touches at the hands of its builder, and it has been found to fully answer the expectations of its projectors. It has been placed in the gallery at the southern end of Concert Hall, and it will be an important addition to that establishment. The following is a description of the principal points of the mammoth instrument: The compass of the organ ranges from AAA to A in alt. It is in reality five organs in one: Great, Choir, Swell, Solo, and Pedal organs. There are 57 keys in the manuals, and 25 in the pedal board. Three sets of bellows are needed to supply the instrument with wind; one set it required for the pedals; one for the solo alone, and the third for the other three rows of keys. No other organs in the Union possesses a solo organ. This feature of the mammoth organ has a heavy supply of wind, and is designed to give a peculiarly bold and grand tone to stops for solo performance and accompaniments."
In its issue of 1 January 1853, Dwight's reported that the instrument, contracted for but not yet built, would cost about $7,000. -- transcribed in the 1996 OHS Handbook
The organ was sold to St. Clement's Episcopal Church and installed there, presumably when the society folded c. 1863.
From 1853 to 1863, The Harmonia Sacred Music Society was the foremost choral group of mixed voices in Philadelphia. This Society had an unusual organization. It was made up of two distinct bodies of members, performing and administrative, and a well defined separation of power existed between the two groups. The administrative body made all the decisions, and the performing body did not even have the right to vote, which undoubtedly contributed to the relatively short life of the Society.
A new installation, identified through information in an article on Standbridge by Eugene M. McCracken in The Tracker, Volume 3 Number 4. No further information has been reported to the database, and the author does not identify the source of his information.