Known as "The Nation's Church" because of the famous Revolution-era leaders who worshiped there, Christ Church was founded in 1695. It was the first parish of the Church of England (Anglican) in Pennsylvania. It is also the church where the American Episcopal Church was born. Christ Church has had many great organs in its 300-plus-year history, including the 1766 Philip Feyring organ and 1837 Henry Erben organ, each that helped build the long tradition of faithful and excellent music at Christ Church, the future home of Opus 150.
The present Christ Church organ has been altered numerous times and has a substantial amount of pipe-work and mechanism located in the tower, mostly from over-expansions in the 20th century using electro-pneumatic key action. Originally being separate structures, the tower was not accessible from the nave when the original organ was constructed and thus the earlier organs, using traditional mechanical key action, had to be fully contained in the building envelope. Today we recognize, as the original builders knew, that acoustically and musically it is far better to have the entire instrument in the room.
The historically-informed proposal for Fisk Opus 150 is to preserve and restore the upper part of the old organ case on its current footprint with properly matching, new casework below, and add a Chaire organ of correct period design on the gallery rail to complement the original organ casework. The addition of the Chaire organ will facilitate building an organ of three manuals and pedal entirely within the room envelope, also taking advantage of the intimate yet supportive acoustic provided by the side gallery rails. In turn, that will allow a masonry wall behind the organ to be placed at or near the 3' thick arch leading to the tower.