Father and son race to repair Chautauqua’s Massey Memorial Organ



A new keyboard for the Massey Memorial Organ arrived from London on June 20, escorted by Chautauqua police. The original keys were ivory, but the replacements are made of bleached calf bone to comply with federal law. According to organ builder Paul Fischer, good keys are never plastic — they must be porous to absorb sweat and oils from the organist’s fingers.  

Repairs to the Massey Organ began in January, after snowmelt damaged the organ’s console. Paul and Mark Fischer, the father and son who reconstructed the organ in 1992, have been racing to finish repairs before the season’s start.

“I’m beyond excited,” said Jared  Jacobsen, Chautauqua’s organist and coordinator of worship and sacred music. “I’ve been living and breathing this whole thing for months.”  


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The author Riley Robinson

Riley Robinson is a photographer at the Daily and a rising sophomore studying journalism at Northeastern University. She discovered photography after a ballet-related knee injury, and has been passionate about arts reporting ever since. She also enjoys memoirs, road trips and adopting too many houseplants. This is her first season at Chautauqua.