An Organist’s Pilgrimage In Glen Cove


On Sunday, Nov. 15, the Suffolk chapter of the American Guild of Organists will travel west to visit the City of Glen Cove and three historic churches with pipe organs. Several members of the Nassau chapter will also play in these concerts. Traditionally, this would be called an “organ crawl,” but in addition to visiting the churches, members will play a short recital at each church, commencing at 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Rev. Shawn Williams, the priest-in-charge of St. Paul’s, will welcome the group, along with Rev. Betsy Simpson, the pastor at First Presbyterian Church and Dom Elias Carr, the pastor of St. Rocco’s Catholic Church. Each church has a unique history, which makes the fabric and past of Glen Cove so rich. St. Paul’s is the oldest congregation, founded in 1834, located on Highland Road. First Presbyterian was founded in 1876 and is located on North and School Streets and St. Rocco’s on Third Street was founded in 1935 for the Italian community of the Orchard.

The organ pipes at the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove

The American Guild of Organists is a national professional organization founded in 1896, serving the organ and choral music fields. It is both an educational and service organization seeking to set and maintain high musical standards for churches and temples.

St. Paul’s Church has a Gress-Miles instrument, built in 1985 in Princeton, NJ, utilizing not only new pipes, but restored pipes from the previous 1911 Aeolian organ. The Aeolian organ was originally built for the Charles Paterno Mansion in New York City, located near The Cloisters.

First Presbyterian houses the oldest instrument with its beautiful carved case, built in 1905 by the Reuben Midmer Company of Brooklyn, which then moved to Merrick in 1906.

St. Rocco’s organ was built by the Peragallo Pipe Organ Company of Paterson, NJ, in 1977, with additions by the Elsener Organ Works of Deer Park in 2014. Some used organ pipes were also re-voiced and used for the building of this instrument.

One of the organs at St. Rocco’s Church

The pilgrimage was organized by G. Paul Eschenauer, who served for 23 years as organist and music director at St. Patrick’s Church in Glen Cove, along with fellow officers Paul Elsener and Christopher Cusumano of the Suffolk chapter.

The Suffolk Chapter encourages student organists by offering scholarships at different levels. Two recent recipients will be playing in this recital. Performers include scholarship winners Matthew Luca, a high school sophomore and Theresa Bissex, a music major at Molloy College. Joining them will be Carl Gscheidle, Rossina Zacanias, Joseph Roenbeck, Kevin Warnken (a Glen Cove native), Maureen Husing, Raymond Henderson, Deanna Muro, Martha Regelmann, Matthew Koraus and Paul Eschenauer. The music will represent organ literature from the Baroque, Romantic and modern eras, as well as hymns at each demonstration.

All are welcome to join in for this important event to learn more about Glen Cove’s history and the churches that serve this diverse city. The organists represent various Christian denominations from across Long Island.

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