Church of the Redeemer
Chestnut Hill, MA
Completed in 1915, this is the largest and perhaps finest parish church by the renowned British-American architect, Henry Vaughan. Inside the late Decorated Gothic style building can be found one of Vaughan’s most majestic spatial compositionsa four-bay nave joins a two-bay chancel beneath an unbroken vaulted ceiling, leading the eye and spirit inexorably to the altar and east window. Wide stone arches line the nave, opening into tall side aisles, increasing both visual and aural spaciousness. Originally, the natural acoustics of this church was unsurpassed in its support of the rich Anglican liturgy. Yet, within a few years of construction, thick sound-absorbing "pegboard" tile was added to the ceiling vaults, presumably to improve intelligibility of the spoken word. While this "acoustic deadening" of the church may have been considered a success at the time, it also spoiled the fine musical acoustics with equal effectiveness. Chancel tile was removed in the 1970s as part of an earlier organ project, and in 1989 a fine Noack pipe organ was built within these acoustic limitations. As part of a modest building renovation in 2004, we guided the church toward an authentic "acoustic restoration." Ceiling tile, carpet, tapestries and pew cushions are all gone, and Henry Vaughan’s splendid Church of the Redeemer sings once again!