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Jerusalem Western Salisbury
3441 Devonshire Road
Allentown, PA 18103
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Office: 610-797-4242 or 610-791-4979
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In March 2016, the 275th Anniversary celebration included a special concert by the Little Brass Band of the Lehigh Valley. They returned to Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church to feature a program of sacred and popular music through the American history. This concert is just one of the many concerts scheduled throughout the year. Because music has been such an important part of the history of the church, the committee (along with Summer Concert Series Director Peter Deshler) has planned special concerts for each month of this Anniversary year. One highlighted event will feature renowned pianist Barry Snyder (son of one of departed members Arlene Snyder and cousin to Marlene Bergstresser) presenting an evening concert on Saturday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. You won’t want to miss it!
We are indeed blessed at Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church to have several musical groups at the church in 2016, including the Senior Choir, Wind Ensemble, Hand Bell Choir, Festival Band, and the Jerusalem Singers. These groups continue a tradition of musical excellence over the years. The first reference to music that can be found in the records of the church is in the Moravian Church Diary on Whit Monday (day after Pentecost), May 22, 1830. The Moravian musicians came to the church to participate in the "singing and orchestral music" of the second day of Dedication services for the new (third and present) church building, built in 1819-1820. No doubt the sounds of the Moravian trombone choir and the voices of the Moravian brothers and sisters filled the sanctuary that day.
Ornate Organ used in the church from 1896 to 1946
When the church was built in 1819, it may have had an organ, presumably moved from the old building. Contained in the Proclamation read at the laying of the cornerstone on April 22, 1819 was the ninth ruling stating that "sixty days before the Pastor’s and Organist’s salary is due, the announcement shall be made to the congregations…" This statement implies that there was an organist and organ at that time. That being said, however, the 1911 Church History states that "the first organ was put into the church in 1836." What type of organ it was is not recorded. The next organ was installed in 1896 and would last until 1946, when a new organ, a gift of Mrs. Henry L. Romich, took its place. That pipe organ was replaced in the late eighties with a two manual Allen organ, which was later replaced with a three manual Allen organ, the gift of our present organist, Dr. Edwin Schatkowski and his wife Mary. Ornate Organ used in the church from 1896 to 1946. Early organists included a Mr. McKnab, the first known organist, followed by Mr. Beck, who was also a school teacher in school house. Paul Keck served as the chorister to Mr. Beck. Solomon Klein then served as organist and then was succeeded by his brother, Daniel Klein in 1844. He resigned in 1880. Robert A. Benner and Morris S. Bieber succeeded the Kleins. Edward F. Strauss was elected organist in 1891 and would continue as organist until 1948, a period of fifty-seven years. Besides the organ and choirs, the church also had a Sunday School orchestra, which played for many occasions throughout the years. Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church has been fortunate throughout the years to be blessed with many talented musicians and a tradition of musical excellence. We celebrate that excellence through the scheduling of concerts and a special "Music Sunday" to be held on June 12. Watch for more information on that special service and the many special concerts throughout the year.
I appreciate the positive responses to my articles and I am pleased that people are interested in the rich history of our church.. If you have a curiosity about our church and its history, please contact me through the church office or at Finkyx@aol.com.
Joshua Arthur Fink, Historian