Chapter 5

The Music

Music has played an important part in the life of both churches.

Sylvester Wright wrote of the Congregational church that, “I very well remember the first attempt made to introduce an organ into the church. The young people declared they would have an instrument.  The old members thought it a sacrilege to introduce the devil’s music into God’s sanctuary and opposed it accordingly. They forgot that David danced to the music of the harp and timbrel.  But the young folks won and the organ was purchased and ever since has contributed largely to the sacredness of church worship.[1]   He also noted in another article that  “The first small melodeon was bought, I am quite sure,  … Mrs. Amanda Fisk being the first organist.  Later a canvass was made and a cottage organ was obtained. “ [2]  Mrs. Fisk was a sister-in-law of Ivers Fisk and later moved to Malone with her husband and family.

The church records of 1900 indicated that Miss Edith Haig became the organist for the Congregation church. In 1907, she became Mrs. Allen Wears, and continued in her organist’s position for over 40 years.

In 1949, “A new Hammond Electronic Organ and chimes were dedicated at services in the Congregational Church in Madrid Sunday night, honoring the late Elmer E. McKnight and Fay G. Mann.”[3]

The Methodist Church also had an accomplished choir.  During the first half of the 20th century Emma Whitney Meeker and her husband Allen directed the choir and accompanied on the organ.  Emma was the daughter of Milton Whitney. They were instrumental in the installation of the Good Shepherd window.  Mr. Meeker was an accomplished singer and is mentioned in local newspapers with his popular quartets and other singing groups.

In 1939, “the Junior choir was organized last winter. It is under the direction of Mrs. George Lane and is composed of nineteen voices.” [4] There was also a Junior choir at the Congregational Church.

Just prior to the cooperative, but separate, union of the two churches in 1964, Jean Holmes was listed as the church organist for the Congregational Church and Irma Atchison was the organist at the Methodist Church.  By 1966, the choirs were combined into one with Leah Tracy as their director.

Little is known of or recorded during the transition period between 1966 and the 1970’s.  Only the occasional Cantata at Easter or Christmas gets mention.

The choir of the United Church or Madrid has continued its dedication to the beauty and solemnity of our church services.   Under the leadership of Carol Rourke, a thirty year period, we have produced three recordings, served as music during several ordinations, presented coffee houses and sung for many special occasions in the life of this church.

Now, under the direction of Jeni Reed, we will strive to continue the legacy started so many years ago.

[1] Another Letter Telling of the Past from Mr. Wright—The Old Congregational Church, LETTER XVII, The Madrid Herald, Thursday, January 21, 1909, p 1, p 4

[2]A CENTURY OF CONGREGATIONALISM. The Madrid Herald, MADRID, N. Y., THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1907, vol. III, no. 41., p. 1.p. 4

[3]Organ Dedicated At Madrid Church, Courier-Freeman, Potsdam, NY, Aug 3, 1949, vol. 99, no.13, p. 9

[4] JUNIOR CHOIR PLANS FESTIVAL, Ogdensburg Journal, Ogdensburg, NY, Wednesday, July 28, 1939, p. 8