Opus 299 is a remarkable instrument by American builder E.M. Skinner, unique in its tonal quality, placement throughout the church building, and accessability to the urban community of Lowell. "In one sense, this instrument is priceless. It is no exaggeration to say that Skinner standards will never be met again. The materials and craftsmanship simply do not exist today, (Joseph Rotella)."
The organ is housed in three separate chambers to the left and right of the altar, and in the rear of the sanctuary on the balcony. It contains a total of 2,527 pipes, with 4 manuals and 52 ranks, (see below for full registration.)
Beginning in 2017, when the organ's quality and condition were appraised, a committment has been made to return it to its full potential. Work has been done gradually in stages by Spencer Organ Company, with the majority of the pipes being removed for safe storage during building renovation and a number of them now restored and returned to the chambers.
Much work and fundraising remains to be done. Generous funding for a substantial portion of the overall expense has been offered by The Bradley Foundation, leaving a fundraising goal of over 100,000 yet to be achieved. Restoration of the Great and Swell ranks is planned to begin in 2023, with several more stages of work to follow before completion.
We at Christ Church United view this fabulous instrument as a heritage to be shared with our community, and look forward to the day when Opus 299 sings again in worship, in concerts, and as a resource to the entire city.