Bordering Letchworth State Park
The Chapel is located one quarter mile from the south entrance to Letchworth State Park,14,000 acres of spectacular park land,which was named "Best State Park in America" by USA Today.
The historic building, built in 1841, was once a Universalist church. The building was restored in 2007 and equipped with a two-manual 1982 Schantz pipe organ and a 1915 nine-foot Knabe grand piano.
The building is a prime example of the one-room meetinghouses that were the center of religious and social interaction during the mid-nineteenth century. Its architecture and construction are a tribute to the skill and craftsmanship of Western New York pioneers. Nine original clear-glass Gothic windows are among its most notable features.
Standing in the center of the room, surrounded by the light from all nine windows, you can understand how this simple building was able to generate a sense of awe and spiritual excitement.
Organists have exclusive use of the chapel and chapel instruments during their one week stay.
The Portageville Chapel is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a place of rest and renewal for professional organists. We maintain a private rehearsal facility bordering one of the most beautiful state parks in the nation, where organists can come during the spring, summer and fall for a full week of uninterrupted practice.
There are over 20,000 professional organists in the US. The vast majority do other jobs during the week and play in a church on the weekend. Despite the complexity of the organ, organists who perform every week may have only a few late night hours in which to practice. Thus it is difficult to add new music to their repertoire.
A need has long existed for helping organists to fine-tune their craft. Musicians who sing or play a violin can easily find inspiring places to practice during the summer months. Young people can audition for Interlochen in Michigan or Tanglewood in Massachusetts. Composers might even earn a coveted trip to the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire for a period of uninterrupted creativity in the summer. But, until now, no such option has existed for organists.
The Portageville Chapel provides a place where organists can come for a week of uninterrupted practice in a private rehearsal facility to renew their artistry and explore the splendor of the Genesee valley.The lively acoustic in the building creates an ideal environment for practice and performance.
The Chapel is available from the middle of May until the end of September, a week at a time. Rental fees are $900 a week for exclusive use of the chapel and housing in a near-by cottage. You are welcome to bring guests, as the cottage has three bedrooms. However, if you wish to use more than one bedroom, the cost is an additional $150 per bedroom per week.
The rental period is Wednesday at 3 p.m. to Tuesday noon.
To reserve your week, please text or call Helen Smith at 585-468-1088 or email us and Helen will call you.