On behalf of the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church I am writing to bring to your attention a story worth sharing with the Inner Sunset community at large, particularly with any history buffs, music lovers or folks trying to figure out something fun to do on New Year’s Eve this year.
We are winding up a campaign to raise $200,000 for the restoration of our wonderful pipe organ, an especially highly regarded instrument that has been in a deteriorated condition for quite some time but is on the way to new grandeur and majesty. We have completed the first phase of repairs and are raising the final funds for the total project’s completion.
Residents of the Inner Sunset should know a bit about the history of our church, the first Protestant church ever built in the Inner Sunset. The current sanctuary was built in 1928. As was true across America at that time, any Protestant church worth its salt needed to have a pipe organ. Just after the church signed an ambitious contract with the Estey Organ Company in Vermont, the stock market crashed. Yet the congregation was determined to bring the organ to reality, moving ahead on providential faith alone. Nine years later the organ bill was paid off. A tradition of providing outstanding church and secular music for the community was born.
Over the second half of the twentieth century, churches and church organs slowly disappeared from the American landscape. But the Inner Sunset still has a fabulous organ – soon to be in top shape – at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church. We also have a San Francisco Conservatory of Music trained director of Liturgical Music and Organist, Luba Kravchenko. We have a lively congregation that is a draw for neighborhood families with young children, medical professionals from UCSF, retired clergy and various folks of all incomes, backgrounds, previous religious affiliations, orientations, colors and ages. Our members come from all over the Bay Area.
We would like to invite Inner Sunset residents to join us for our New Year’s Eve Gala, a fundraiser for the organ restoration. This elegant evening will be from 6-9 p.m, with free child care, fabulous hors d’oeuvres and wine during a silent auction, a cabaret-like musical performance by some of our talented musicians, and desserts with champagne. We will have a countdown to 2020 at 9 p.m., so those who have other parties can enjoy them as well. The cost is $50 for adults, $30 for kids over 12, and free for under 12. Tickets will be sold at the door. Dress is black tie suggested, or however you dress up for an elegant New Year’s Eve.
One more point deserves your attention. One of our members, a retired professional archivist, recently traveled to Vermont to help volunteers at the Brattleboro Historical Society and Estey Organ Museum clean and organize the design records of the 3,000+ pipe organs built from 1904-1960. Long story short, there are people in Vermont who are very excited about the church in the Inner Sunset of San Francisco where one of their organs is being lovingly restored. Attached are some photos and a clip from a newspaper article than ran in the Brattleboro weekly newspaper.
It would be a great public service if you could consider running an article about our organ and the New Year’s Eve Gala at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church. Thank you very much for your consideration. If you have any questions please let me know. Readers could be directed to our website: seventhavenuechurch.org.
Organ Restoration Committee Chair