chalice logo(1405 bytes)

First Unitarian Church, Worcester, Massachusetts
90 Main Street 01608       508.757.2708


See various images:



swell&choir divisions:
Sept, 2002

Jan, 2003

  • Organ removed & in storage in VT awaiting restoration by Russell & Co.
  • 8 ranks of reed pipes are in Connecticut being cleaned and refurbished and revoiced/regulated. The wind pressure is being increased for the pedal 16' Bombarde while we're at it (the original voicing had been weak)
  • Plans have been approved for relocating the console back to the pre-1964 position in the center of the balcony, and the choir would be situated around it accordingly. All are happy about this
  • The placement of the divisions within the chamber will be modified slightly to accommodate re-absorption of the positiv division back behind the facade
  • The high-pressure blower (formerly in the attic area, completely destroyed) will be re-loacted into the chamber area and replaced with a new silent blower. The main blower will also be re located within the chamber area after much discussion and many proposals. Its original home in the basement has been superseded by new rest rooms. A little "closet" is being built for the blowers and other equipment, at the top of the State Street side balcony level of the stair landing.
  • Several digital voices will be introduced to augment and strengthen the pedal division resources (we have heard these at 1st B and other places, and they are really excellent, and certainly maintenance, tuning, and space savers!)
  • The console and chests will be completely re-wired; the unit and coupler switches must be replaced, so we're taking this opportunity to switch to digital switching, which will allow for a remote keyboard in the front at a later date (controlled via MIDI protocol). Most all of the chests will be built from scratch, still of the Pitman style.
  • New lighting has been planned for the choir loft area, with a sigh of relief from the eye-strained choir members. We're aiming for 50 foot-candles of brightness at human music-height.


March 2001

new lighting!

  • Steeple repairs are completed, and the (original) copper roof repairs were completed in April 2001.
  • A new clock mechanism will replace the old mechanical one. The new one will be microprocessor controlled and will not need to be re-set for daylight time or power outtages.
  • The bell will remain, and will be made operable again.
  • A new lighting strategy has been implemented for the steeple. With lower power consumption, it is much brighter and more impressive, especially with the fresh white paint.
  • Extensive wood restoration was performed on various parts of the external steeple trim and architectural elements. They really took good care to restore it historically.


January 2002

  • The pews and old oak flooring were removed and scaffolding in place (see photos). Subsequently the subflooring was removed due to mold.
  • After the (plaster lathe) ceiling (which survived all the water seeping through it) was sealed and painted, the insurance company discovered mold growing in the walls and woodwork. The sanctuary was sealed off and a negative air pressure system was installed to prevent the biohazards from reaching the rest of the church. After many meetings and re-analysis, they now have a plan to leave the plaster in place and remove all the rock wool insulation via many different methods (depending on which wall and ceiling area). If all the plaster would have had to have been removed, the delay would have been 6 months; at present the belief is 1-2 months' delay. The mold mitigation portion was completed on schedule in June, 2001. However, bacteria was then found in the organ chamber area.
  • Acoustic treatment improvements: The side aisle carpet will not be reinstalled; pew cushions will have an extra 1/4" layer of special sound-reflective material sandwiched in between the outer material and the foam innards; and a carefully selected paint has been chosen to maximize acoustic reflection (yet no sheen or gloss visually)


March 2002

  • Mold mitigation is complete, and steps have been taken to keep the area from being re-infected. The area is almost completely gutted (see images), and ready for new walls to be erected.



Fall, 2002

Construction began in April, 2002

The better-and-stronger restoration fundraising campaign was kicked off at the annual meeting in January 2001. This will fund the improvements and changes to the church above the fire restoration insurance coverage costs.

The current donations and pledges to the fund now exceed $1M, which is over the 850K goal. Many thanks to all who have contributed.

Music Progam Home Page   First U Home Page