In the early Fall of 2006 it came to the attention of Kerala Snyder, Professor Emerita of Musicology at Eastman School of Music, that Carolyn and Noel Nilson of Sandisfield, Massachusetts were looking for a new home for their Hook & Hastings pipe organ. The organ had been purchased by the Nilsons through the Organ Clearing House in 1968, assembled by them in their home, and lovingly cared for over the years. Some phone calls were made, and it was arranged that Barbara Owen would stop by and take a look at the organ, which she did, and to which she gave her stamp of approval.
On October 28, Rob Kerner, Pipe Organ Technician of the Eastman School, went to the Nilsons to look over the organ from a tuning and maintenance point of view, and to estimate what it would take to get the organ to Rochester. He agreed that this instrument was a fine example of Hook & Hastings’ work, was unusually well preserved (pumping mechanism and all), and would make a very welcome addition to Eastman’s collection. Since the Nilsons were selling their house and wanted to move the organ quickly, a few more calls were made, and the Nilsons graciously agreed to donate the organ to the Eastman School.
The organ was installed in Christ Church (Episcopal) in the first months of 2007 by Rob Kerner and students in the “Organ Design and Maintenance” class. It served as the main service instrument there while the Craighead-Saunders organ was being installed. Upon completion of the Craighead-Saunders organ, The Hook & Hastings was moved to St. Mary’s Church and inaugurated on Sunday, April 18, 2010.