The history of music in the church is somewhat limited because, in the earlier days, the sound of musical instruments in the sanctuary was not permitted, the lines on the hymns being read by a leader and then sung without accompaniment. Fortunately, this custom changed and Deacon George S. Butler was able to record that “in 1844 Seth Paddock played violin (now on display in the Fireside Room) and his brother David played the bass viol in church.”
In 1850 a melodeon was installed and Seth’s daughter Sarah played the instrument. In 1853 Miss Mary Ann Latimer gave the church its first pipe organ. This was replaced in 1887 by a new and larger organ given by Federick Wilcox. In 1933, Charles Frisbie gave the present organ and piano. In 1950, his son Russell A. Frisbie gave the electronic chimes and pew phones.
Our church was fortunate in having Mrs. Earnest A. Doering as organist and choir director for over 60 years. Anna, aided by a large number of faithful volunteer choir members, kept our church music at a high level of excellence throughout the years. Anna Doering taught piano and was active in many community groups such as The Home Club, the Cromwell Historical Society, the Bicentennial Commission and the Middletown Garden Club.
“When Anna plays the organ,
Earth and Heaven rings;
‘Cause when Anna plays the organ,
The Organ sings.”
— Caussis H. Pierce