Weekend concert to showcase historical Hinners organ at St. Adrian’s Roman Catholic Church

DELANCEY — Every town has a story to tell — one rich with history and legends.

For those who live in Adrian, also known as DeLancey, a piece of that history will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the St. Adrian's Roman Catholic Church, courtesy of the PRIDE Coal Memorial Committee.

Sitting inside the church is an old antique Hinners pipe organ that is over 120 years old.

The historical organ was manufactured by the Hinners and Albertson Organ Company of Pekin, Ill.

Purchased by the church, it was shipped to Adrian in pieces by train.
After its arrival, the pieces were placed on horse drawn wagons and carried up the hillside to the church.

However, the parishioners were told that no one was allowed to assemble it but a factory representative from the organ company.

"The company insisted that (one of its representatives) put it together," said Shirley Sharp, member of the historical society.

Sharp, along with Jeanne Curtis, also a member of the historical society, went on to speak about the history of Adrian/DeLancey and how the town ended up with two different names.

When the village finally established a post office, its members discovered that another town named Adrian already existed in Armstrong County.

Having to come up with another name for the post office, it was decided that it was be called DeLancey after DeLancey Kane, grandson of Adrian founder Adrian Iselin.

Iselin may have founded the town, but it was his wife Eleanora who had the St. Adrian's Catholic Church built.

"The church was a powerful influence on the community," said Sharp.

Father Joseph Zubrycki, a Polish immigrant, came to Adrian and became pastor of the church.

"He was an immigrant who spoke a few different languages, but when he got to Adrian, he had to learn to speak a few more," said Curtis, adding that Adrian was inhabited by many different immigrants.

Zubrycki played an important role in the lives of his parishioners, especially the coal miners, whom he made sure got a good education along with the area children.

Wanting a pipe organ for the church, Zubrycki ordered what was then considered to be a top-of-the-line organ.

While many churches have rid themselves of pipe organs, the St. Adrian's Roman Catholic Church has been intentional about preserving its own.

Curtis said it was Gerald Canton who approached the committee about doing an organ concert.

"It is the same organ that miners listened to at the turn of the century," said Curtis.

The event will feature Ed Halo, a former resident of Adrian, who will play the organ. Halo has a bachelor's of science, a master's and a Ph.D. in musicology. Halo has performed in many local churches and currently resides in Pittsburgh.

Now retired, he rebuilds organs in his spare time.

Sharp said that Halo will be coming up from Pittsburgh to adjust the organ and then will play organ music throughout the evening.

Sharp said that the PRIDE Coal Memorial Committee is having the event, not only as a tribute to the organ, but also as one to the coal miners of the local surrounding areas. The committee is currently trying to raise money to establish a Coal Memorial.

"We want to have a Coal Memorial to honor and recognize all those who worked in the coal mining industry," said Curtis.

Sharp said that in addition to paying respects to those who worked in the coal industry, even the unnamed ones, the memorial may also help with tourism. Sharp said that the plan is to establish the memorial on Mahoning Street.

"We don't want the residents to forget the coal miners," said Curtis, adding that there is still coal mining in the local area.

With the organ concert, both Curtis and Sharp are hoping for a good turnout.

Halo will be bringing a violinist with him, and together, they will play music from the turn of the century. Curtis said that the church will be having its annual St. Adrian's Festival the next day, with the organ being played once again.

St. Adrian's Church is open only for weddings, funerals and the annual Polka Mass.

The organ concert is free, but donations will be accepted. Light refreshments will be served.

To get to the St. Adrian's Churchm take Route 310 North, turn right at the Delancey sign, then follow the road to the top of the hill.

The church is on the left.

For more information, call Jeanne Curtis at 938-2555.