St. Matthew’s organ was dedicated on September 6, 1938. Named the Crocker Memorial Organ, it was given in memory of William H. Crocker and Ethel Sperry Crocker by their four children. The organ was created and installed by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company using the pipes and wind chest from the original 1910 Hope-Jones organ.
William H. Crocker and Ethel Sperry Crocker are key figures in the development of San Francisco into the world class city we know today. Mr. Crocker was a member of the University of California Board of Regents for nearly thirty years, a key member of the committee that built the San Francisco Opera House and president of Crocker Bank, which was instrumental in financing reconstruction after the 1906 earthquake. Mr. Crocker also donated the Crocker family’s 2.6 acres on Nob Hill to build Grace Cathedral after the earthquake. Mrs. Crocker is considered among the most powerful women in California history due to her leading role as a philanthropist, raising thousands for worthy causes. She was especially noted for her activities for the war effort and as the leading patron of French Impressionist art in California. Her obituary was published in TIME magazine.
Thanks to the generosity of parishioners and friends of St. Matthew’s in supporting the 2019 Preserving Our Legacy Campaign, the organ is being enhanced both visually and tonally. Visually, new gold-toned façade pipes manufactured by the firm A.R. Schopp’s Sons, Inc. in Alliance, Ohio have been received and are awaiting earthquake-protected installation by the Swain & Kates firm of San Francisco. Tonally, 61 new pipes comprising a “fanfare trumpet” designed to crown the resources of the full organ are also waiting to be installed. Additionally, the bass notes of the organ have been extended to produce a new lower pitch level. This was accomplished by use of digital electronics simulating sounds a full 12-note octave below our largest set of pipes. Our prized English horn pipes are already returned and sounding after having been sent to a master artisan at A.R. Schopp’s Sons for restoration and tonal stabilization. Lastly, but importantly, the organ console (where the organist sits) was rewired and adapted to accommodate the tonal additions outlined above and to conform to modern fire-safe electrical standards. A new combination-action computer-driven system, critical for the organist to control and mix available sounds of the instrument, has also been installed.