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Restored, 121-year-old pipe organ to debut in recital at Glen Foerd


After a year-long restoration project, Glen Foerd’s 121-year-old pipe organ will sing once again on Jan. 6, when Mark Loria, principal organist for the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, commemorates the occasion with a free, live concert performance.

Loria will perform works by Bach, Buxtehude, Florence Price, Nico Muhly, and others. The celebration, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at 5001 Grant Ave., Philadelphia, will commence with a toast, opening remarks about the history of residential pipe organs, and a retelling of the dramatic circumstances of the family that brought this organ into existence in 1902.

The restoration project was funded through a grant of $425,000 from the Wyncote Foundation, in its mission to support efforts that strengthen and enrich culture, community, and the natural environment. Ohio-based Charles Kegg, president and artistic director of Kegg Pipe Organ Builders, led this successful year-long restoration with creativity and ingenuity.

The exquisite pipe organ is nestled in the grand stair hall of the Gilded Age mansion on the Delaware, ornamented by carvings of winged cherubs and floral garlands. Powered by a motor in the basement, the organ resonates beautifully in the adjoining art gallery and speaks to all parts of the home.

It was built in 1902 by Philadelphia’s one-time C.S. Haskell company and installed in the Main House by industrialist Robert Foerderer, who had the custom organ built for his wife Caroline, an accomplished organist; he did not live to hear her play it.

“This instrument is an early example of a home organ in the United States, but it is not typical of the organs that would follow in other homes of the wealthy. This was an instrument for an organist, and it was patterned after typical church and small concert hall organs of the day,” said Kegg, who with his team breathed new life into this rare and unique organ, making it once again the centerpiece of the historic Main House of Glen Foerd.

The concert on Jan. 6 is open to all, music fans and history buffs alike. Heidi Weinstein Malloy, of Glen Foerd’s Lily P.A.D.s program, will host a drop-in craft activity for young children in the dining room throughout the event, for a family friendly experience.

Unlike typical recitals where audiences remain seated, attendees are invited to explore the many floors and rooms of the house while they enjoy the pipe organ music. Seating will be available in the art gallery and first floor.

For information and to register, visit

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