Mercygrove’s Hidden Treasure
by Lynne Belluscio
Last Tuesday four hundred people from the world wide Organ Historical Society made their way to LeRoy to have lunch at the LeRoyan at Mercygrove. Maybe you saw the signs “OHS next left – slow.” There were 8 busses coming into town, and the entrance isn’t marked, but thanks to the LeRoy police department, they all found their way. Most of the visitors did not know about the Aeolian Opus #1559 organ at Mercygrove, so they had a pleasant surprise when it was turned on and folks took turns playing. And these were not ordinary organists. I listened as Nathan Laube, who is a faculty member of the Eastman School of Music, and a co-chair of the conference, played the “William Tell Overture.” A young musician from Poland, New York took a turn, as well as several others. Michael Barone, from the PBS “Pipe Dreams” talked about the treasure that they discovered in LeRoy.
If you’ve ever been to Mercygrove, you probably weren’t aware that there is a huge pipe organ hidden from view because all the pipes – and there are hundreds of them - - are in the basement and a closet on the third floor, and they are connected to the console. The sound is channeled through sound chambers that run through the walls.