We are very privileged to have a pipe organ of great quality – a 3 manual instrument made and installed in 1966 by Casavant Freres of St.Hyacinthe, Quebec. It has been featured on the CBC and has served as a recital instrument and to accompany choirs, orchestras, and soloists. It is used in worship primarily to support the congregational singing of hymns, to accompany the 10.00am Choir, and to provide music for weddings, funerals, and other services of the church. The organ has served as a recital instrument for the Whitby Summer Institute of Church Music, and for the Institute’s organ performance competition. It has also been used to accompany the Durham Philharmonic Choir, Resound Choir, and other visiting ensembles, such as the Durham Youth Orchestra.
Our Choir celebrates and upholds a rich tradition of Anglican Choral music, mostly acapella, as well as integrating more contemporary/current compositions into our repertoire. Music plays an integral role in worship, particularly at our Sunday 10am service. Choral Evensongs are offered throughout the year as well, giving opportunity to enhance the liturgy with wonderful acapella musical selections and settings accompanied by our incredible organ.
The Chime (Tower Bells)
A unique feature of our church, St. George’s tower bells have been heard throughout downtown Oshawa since 1924. The chime and the tower in which they are housed were a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Edgar Houston of Cincinnati in memory of Mrs. Houston’s parents, Edward and Rebecca Carswell, founding members of the original St. George’s Parish.
The bells were cast by the Whitechapel Foundry, Mears and Stainbank, London England. They were installed in the Carswell Tower and on November 9, 1924, the unveiling and dedication of the Carswell Tower and bells took place. The Rt. Rev. Edward Bidwell was the officiant and the chimer was Mr. W. C. Smith.
‘The Chime’ consists of fifteen bells, fourteen of which are fixed in place and the fifteenth is the free- swinging bell or ringing bell. The ringing bell, often referred to as “Big Ed”, weighs almost three tons and it is used to call parishioners to worship and to toll at funerals.
The Carswell Memorial Chime of St. George’s has announced Sunday services, special celebrations of the church, weddings, funerals and the return of soldiers from wars. To play hymns and other music, the chimer sits in a small room high up in the tower, located just below the bells and uses an instrument called a clavier or keyboard. But unlike the usual perception of a keyboard, the clavier does not have keys. The chime is played using baton handles attached by cables to the 15 bells above; this range of notes allows for a variety of glorious sounds, including well-loved hymns and liturgically appropriate music, peals, and secular tunes. Each Sunday morning and for special church services, the chimer calls people to worship. In recent years our special chime concerts have celebrated worldwide events, such as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the King’s coronation, and the 200th anniversary of the Ellacombe style of bell ringing. Bells ring joyously for church weddings and toll soberly for funerals. Our bells also enhance such local events as Doors Open Oshawa and Oshawa’s Bright and Merry Market.