Insider’s View: Fisk Organ

While Abbey Memorial Chapel houses two organs, it’s the Fisk Organ that offers a spectacular view familiar to anyone who has gazed at it where it sits elevated on a balcony in the back of the building. Installed during the 1984-1985 academic year, the organ was designed and built by C.B. Fisk, based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and is formally known as the Opus 84. “Organs are very dependent on the room they are in,” says music professor and College organist Larry Schipull, who has worked at Mount Holyoke since 1988. Part of the installation process, he says, was a renovation of the space to acoustically fit the instrument. The thick panels of horse felt that covered the ceiling were replaced with more acoustically reflective panels. And the plaster walls were also treated so that they would better reflect sound.

This slideshow showcases the beauty of these two organs.

From below, the Fisk organ appears to have a green hue, but in reality, it’s painted a vibrant blue to complement its gold trim. The beautiful stained-glass windows throughout the chapel cast a yellow light on the organ, causing the color confusion.

This article appeared as “Abbey Chapel’s Fisk Organ” in the winter 2019 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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