This recording was made on a 1907 Mason and Hamlin AA grand piano in our living room. We asked the recording engineer to make the sonic quality so that it sounds like you are sitting and singing along in our living room rather than a concert hall.
Our wonderful piano has a direct connection to several of the hymns in this collection of hymns. In 1854 Henry Mason and Emmons Hamlin founded the Mason & Hamlin Company in Boston, Massachusetts, considered by many the birthplace of American piano design and manufacturing.
Henry Mason was a member of one of America’s oldest families—they were actually descendants of Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower. The Masons were renowned for their involvement in the arts. Henry Mason was a pianist and his brother, William, was one of America’s foremost classical pianists and composers.
Their father was the famous composer and educator, Lowell Mason, a visionary who was the first to bring music into the public schools of America. He was also known throughout the world as a composer and publisher of hymns, and is often called the “father of American church music.” Two of his hymn tunes in our book are “Joy to the World” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
As a testament to the enduring quality of a well-made piano, in 2012 Mr. David Featherstone of Dallas, Texas completely rebuilt this piano including sounding board, strings and action. But the basic bones of the piano, its shape and structure are what gives this 6’ piano the rich qualities of a 9’ piano. Featherstone also painstakingly kept the piano tuned and maintained throughout the course of this many-month recording project.