Learn about and our organ and the Classic Choral Society



David H. Moffat, Jr. donated the magnificent organ to the Blooming Grove Congregational Church in 1902 in honor of his father.  The Moffat family had long been active in the congregation and David’s grandfather, Samuel Leigh Moffat, was an early member of the Board of Deacons and one of the founders of Washingtonville.  Back in the 1800’s religious worship was an all-day affair and music was integral to the service.  Until David Moffat’s gift, the congregation used a reed organ built by the Mason & Hamlin Organ Company of Boston.  In 1902, with the gift from Mr. Moffat, the congregation was accompanied by a state-of-the-art tracker organ, which was made by the finest instrument builders of that time, the firm of Hook & Hastings of Boston, Massachusetts.  The tracker organ, as with modern organs, produces sound by allowing pressured air to escape from pipes of different lengths with the air’s route selected by the keyboard choices.  When you depress a key on a modern organ, the sound continues evenly until you release the key.  On a tracker organ, however, the internal mechanisms are such that the sound diminishes after the contact, much like the touch of a piano.  On this organ, the bellows on the left side is used to force air into the chamber and eventually into the pipes.  An electric air compressor was later added for convenience.


In 1978, the firm of A & J Pipe and Reed Organ Company of Newburgh (NY), specialists in the restoration of 19th century organs, spent the summer lovingly restoring the organ.  Using the original tuning patterns of Hook & Hastings and using the tapes and records of other tracker organs, they restored the magnificent tone the organ had in its younger days.  Currently, the organ is expertly maintained by Peragallo Pipe Organ Company of Patterson (NJ), under the supervision of Frank Peragallo, master tonal finisher and head of shop operations at the Peragallo company.  The most recent reconditioning of the instrument was completed in the spring of 2017.




1903                 (Mrs.) Rogers

1903-1915       Unknown

1915-1938*      Jane Durland Sears

1938-1940*      Janet Bate

1940-1982*      Clara Johnson

1983                  Alan Carrick

1983-1985        Jeffrey Stein

1985-1987        Marian Wheeler

1988                  Jeffrey Stein

1988                  Janet Steeves

1989-1996        Linda Bierling

1996                  Bernice Fowler

1996-present    Janiece Kohler




Tracker organ built in 1902.  It is the Hook & Hastings Opus 1937.  It has 15 speaking ranks, 836 pipes.  Manual compass is 61 notes.  Pedal compass is 27 notes.  The manual keys are ivory-covered, pedal keys of walnut and maple.  The casework is quarter-sawn white oak, with mahogany stop jambs and key cheeks.




    Open Diapason – 8’

    Salicional – 8’

    Voix Celeste – 8’

    Stopped Diapason – 8’

   *Oboe-Bassoon – 8’

    Gemshorne – 4’

    Flute Harmonique – 4’




    Open Diapason – 8’

    Melodia – 8’

    Dulciana – 8’

    Principal – 4’

    Fifteenth – 2’


    Bourdon – 16’

    Violoncello – 8’


    Swell to Great

    Swell to Pedal

    Great to Pedal Ped. (Reversible)

    Gt. Piano

    Gt. Forte

*This Oboe-Bassoon, taken from the Hook & Hastings Opus 1935, replaced the Opus 1937 TC Oboe. The only other changes to the organ as built are several coats of paint on the casework, and the addition of an electric blower. Both these changes are reversible, as the addition of an electric blower.  Both these changes are reversible, as the finish is intact under the paint, and the hand pump system is still intact and of restorable condition.



Janiece Joyce Kohler is our Music Minister and the Artistic Director of the Classic Choral Society which practices and performs in our sanctuary.

After more than fifty successful years, the Orange County Classic Choral Society continues to play a significant role in the cultural, educational, and aesthetic environment of the Hudson Valley in New York State.

Classic Choral Society serves a dual function for the community:

Devoted to excellent performance of choral music, it offers a variety of concerts at many venues throughout the year for the public to enjoy free of charge.

Equally important is the opportunity it offers to men and women who love to sing.  Singers at every level of expertise are able to join CCS’ ranks without being required to audition.  The makeup of the chorus is always a colorful mix of individuals with diverse backgrounds and talents.

Artistic Director Janiece Kohler is an extremely skilled educator and conductor with a special knack for choosing music demanding enough to challenge the many experienced singers in the Society yet introducing it in a way so members with limited music-reading ability may learn quickly and without intimidation.  The singers, from age 19 to 90, mature teens to seasoned seniors, come from within Orange County and far beyond.  Classic Choral Society is a year-round resource for choral musicians and grateful audiences.

Classic Choral Society maintains a distinctive, sonorous quality of sound, attributed in no small part to Maestra Kohler’s unfailing ear and devotion to authenticity.  In addition to choral programs presented at local Hudson Valley venues, in recent years the Society has accepted numerous invitations to perform under world-renowned conductors with other prestigious choral ensembles from around the country and the world.  Those performances have taken place at such cultural landmarks in New York City as Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall, formerly known as Avery Fischer Hall and Philharmonic Hall.

As it has been, it will always be a hallmark of the organization to make participation with the Society accessible to as many people as possible.  Classic Choral Society continues to welcome new members and supporters with appreciation each season.

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