At October 16’s Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) open house, part of Archives Month Philly, guests had the opportunity to participate in two important moments in the history of the society’s musical collections.
One was the deposit of an original 1936 composition by famed composer and West Chester (Pa.) native Samuel Barber (1910-1981). The composition, “Chorale for a New Organ,” had been held by West Chester’s Westminister Presbyterian Church since it commissioned the work from Barber to mark the installation of a new church organ.
The open house also featured the rare public performance of “Cordelia,” a restored reed pipe organ used by a missionary in Colorado and Wyoming in the early 20th century. Attendees heard “Chorale for a New Organ” adapted for “Cordelia,” followed by a short and joyful “hymn sing.”
Also enticing visitors were refreshments–including beer from Victory Brewing Company–and gift bags, as well as a recent exhibit featuring artifacts collected by Presbyterian missionaries from around the world. The exhibit, “Journeys of Faith: Artifacts from the Mission Field,” can be seen in the PHS lobby through 2016 during normal hours.