The United Congregational Church, Bridgeport (History Only)

877 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT Get directions Visit Website

Dr. John Michniewicz, Former Director of Music

The United Congregational Church is now the Islamic Center of Bridgeport (as of May 2017). The UCC family has been diligent in its efforts to find new homes for the wonderful 81-rank Austin and 2 smaller pipe organs. The congregation continues a new chapter of worship and music at the Bessemer Center on North Avenue in Bridgeport. We will forever cherish the many musical concerts performed in this great worship space. Thankfully the photos and videos of concerts in these past 15 years are available on our website – click here.

1953/2000 Austin IV /81 ranks, 1983 Roche II/11 ranks, 1988 Delhumeau II/10 ranks, Hammond B3, Harpsichord

A Majestic Church With Vast Musical Resources Used For Numerous Interfaith and Area Concerts

The United Congregational Church, (United Church) at the corner of Park Avenue and State Street was settled in 1695, which makes this congregation older than the city of Bridgeport by 141 years; and older than the Constitution by 81 years. The current building seating 1,000, was built in 1926. United Congregational Church has a rich musical past, and much like the Center Churches in New Haven, continues to host numerous concerts, memorial services, special events, in addition to being an active house of worship.

The Organs of United Church

1953/2000 Austin IV manuals/81 ranks, 1988 Delhumeau II manuals/11 ranks, 1983 Roche II manuals/11 ranks

Dr. John Michniewicz is the Minister of Music at United and is largely responsible, along with the church trustees, to ensure the 3 pipe organs, multiple Steinway pianos, harpsichord, and even a Hammond B-3, are available for church services and concerts.

The wonderful 1953/2000 Austin IV manuals/81 rank pipe organ is clearly a favorite instrument by visiting organist. In 2000, a new moveable console, 8 additional unenclosed pipe ranks in a floating Positive Division, along with several 32′ pedal electronic stops were added to the current extensive organ stoplist, which includes a 16-rank antiphonal division high above the balcony, almost a block away from the console.

Main Sanctuary Organ Specification, Austin No. 2093-A, 4 manuals, 81 ranks, 2000
Originally installed as Austin Organ Company No. 2093, 4 Manuals, 65 Ranks, 1953. In year 2000 additions included a new console, Positive division, and 8 ranks by the Walker Technical Company.


Great Organ (Manual II)
Rohrbourdon 16
Diapason 8
Spitzprincipal 8
Gemshorn 8
Octave 4
Rohrbourdon 4
Twelth 2/ 2/3
Fifteenth 2
Mixture  IV
Fanfare Trumpet (ant) 8
Chimes (solo)  
Tower Chimes (solo)  
Great Sub  
Great Unison off  
Great super  
Antiphonal I on Great
Antiphonal II on Great
Choir Organ (Manual I Expressive)
Viola 8
Bourdon 8
Dolce 8
Dolce Celeste 8
Octave Gemshorn 4
Koppelflöte 4
Nazard 2 2/3
Blockflöte 2
Tierce 1 3/5
Trompette 8
Cor Anglais 4
Fanfare Trumpet (ant) 8
Choir Sub  
Choir Unison off  
Choir Super  
Harp (prepared)  
Celesta (prepared)  
Antiphonal  I on Choir
Antiphonal II on Choir
Montre 8
Rohrflöte 8
Spitzprincipal 4
Koppelflöte 4
Mixture III  
Octave 2
Krummhorn 8
Positive Super  
Positive Unison off  
Positive Sub  
SWELL ORGAN (Manual III expressive)
Geigen Diapason 8
Melodia 8
Viole de gambe 8
Salicional 8
Viole Céleste 8
Voix Céleste 8
Fugara 4
Chimney Flute 4
Flautino 2
Mixture III
Contra Oboe 16
Trumpet 8
Oboe 8
Clarion 4
Fanfare Trumpet (ant)  
Swell Sub  
Swell Unison Off  
Swell Super  
Antiphonal I on Swell
Antiphonal  II on Swell
Positive on Swell  
SOLO ORGAN (Manual IV, expressive)
Principal Flute 8
Gambe (digital) 8
Gambe Celeste (digital) 8
Orchestral Flute (digital) 4
Harmonic Trumpet 8
French Horn 8
Clarinet 8
Orchestral Oboe 4
Fanfare Trumpet (ant) 8
Tower Chimes  
Chimes (digital)  
Harp (choir)  
Celesta (choir)  
Solo Sub  
Solo Unison Off  
Solo Super  
Antiphonal I on Solo
Antiphonal  II on Solo
Diapason 8
Trumpet 8
Concert Flute 8
Spitz Flute 8
Spitz Flute Celeste 8
Viole 8
Nacht Horn 4
Octave 4
Mixture III  
Trumpet 8
Vox Humana  
Cor d’Amour  
Antiphonal I Sub
Antiphonal I Unison Off
Antiphonal  I Super
Diapason Conique 8
Concert Flute 8 (Antiphonal 1)
Spitz Flute  8 (Antiphonal 1)
Spitz Flute Celeste  8 (Antiphonal 1)
Viole  8 (Antiphonal 1)
Nacht Horn  4 (Antiphonal 1)
Tremolo  (Antiphonal 1)
Antiphonal  II Sub
Antiphonal  II Unison Off
Antiphonal II Super
Trumpet 8
Contre Violone (digital) 32
Contra Bourdon (digital) 32
Diapason 16
Bourdon 16
Contra Salicional (swell) 16
Lieblich Gedeckt 16
Rohrbourdon (great) 16
Octave 8
Bourdon 8
Principal 8
Flute 8
Rohrbourdon (great) 8
Dolce Flute 8
Choral Bass 4
Rohrbourdon (great) 4
Flute 4
Flute 2
Mixture  III
Contra Bombarde (digital) 32
Bombarde 16
Contra Oboe (swell) 16
Bombarde 8
Fanfare Trumpet (ant) 8
Clarion 4
Chimes (solo)  
Tower Chimes (solo) 8
Antiphonal I To Pedal 8
Antiphonal II To Pedal 8
Great To Pedal 8
Swell To Pedal 8
Choir To Pedal 8
Positive To Pedal 8
Solo To Pedal 8
Great To Pedal 4
Swell To Pedal 4
Choir To Pedal 4
Positive To Pedal 4
Solo To Pedal 4
Swell to Great 16
Swell to Great 8
Swell to Great 4
Choir to Great 16
Choir to Great 8
Choir to Great 4
Positive to Great 16
Positive to Great 8
Positive to Great 4
Solo to Great 16
Solo to Great 8
Solo to Great 4
Swell To Choir 16
Swell To Choir 8
Swell To Choir 4
Solo To Choir 16
Solo To Choir 8
Solo To Choir 4
Solo to Swell 16
Solo To Swell 8
Solo to Swell 4
Positive on Solo 8
Positive on Swell 8
All Swells To Swell  
Pedal Divide  
Great/ Choir Transfer


Also in the Sanctuary is the 1988 Delhumeau II manuals/11 rank tracker organ, Hammond B-3, Harpsichord and Steinway grand piano. In the Chapel, but within ear-shot of the other organs (we have had several concerts using the 3 pipe organs), is the 1983 Roche II manuals/11 rank tracker organ.

Concerts/Worship at United Church

With the help of many, United Church continues to host many fine musical concerts, is home to the United Chorale, Norma Pfriem Children’s Choir, and supports a Schola program for young choral students. The Greater Bridgeport AGO Chapter and United Congregational Church host an Annual Pipe Screams Concert that features many of our AGO Chapter members, university choirs, that entertains 850+ attendees. The net proceeds from this joint effort goes to support the M. Louise Scholarship Award used to help young organists with college tuition and expenses. We are very appreciative for the staff and congregational support for our POE event using this great venue.

Recent AGO Performances

Programs, Videos, Photos:
March 6, 2011 – 2nd Annual Community Choral Festival
June 6, 2010 – Frederick Teado Pipe Organ Encounter Recital

October 21, 2012 – 11th Annual Pipescreams
October 30, 2011 – 10th Annual Pipescreams
October 30, 2010 – 9th Annual Pipescreams
October 25, 2009 – 8th Annual Pipescreams
October 19, 2008 – 7th Annual Pipescreams
October 21, 2007 – 6th Annual Pipescreams
October 22, 2006 – 5th Annual Pipescreams
October 23, 2005 – 4th Annual Pipescreams
October 24, 2004 – 3rd Annual Pipescreams
October 25, 2003 – 2nd Annual Pipescreams
October 27, 2002 – 1st Annual Pipescreams


March 6, 2011 – 2nd Annual Community Choral Festival
Variations on an Easter Theme, (John Rutter), Galen Tate, Jeffrey Wood, dual organists
Welcome, About Our Program, Rev. Sara D. Smith, John Polo, Constance Chase
Improvisation-Hymn to Joy, Dr. John Michniewicz, organist
Femina Melodia Drummers, Jan Gregory, director
Come, O Come, Our Voices Raise, (Alec Wyton), Frank Martignetti, director; Dr. John Michniewicz, organist
Psalm 150, (Cesar Franck), Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell, director; Galen Tate, organist
Light a Candle, (Marta Keen)-Norma Pfriem Children’s Choir, Delia Motavalli, Anika Vanderwal, duet; Traci Galla, director
Come Away to the Skies (Paul Halley) – United Congregational Church, Bridgeport, Allegra DeVita, soloist, Dr. John Michniewicz, director
Gloria (Guillaume Dufay) -Femina Melodia, Jan Gregory, director
This Little Light of MineRev Sara Smith/Congregation
Message-Community of Hope, Rev. Sara D. Smith, Esq
Singing Hallelujah All Day (Eddie Robinson)-Messiah Baptist Church, Bridgeport, Jonathan Berryman, director
Followers of the Lamb (Shaker Melody, arr. Robert Wetzler) – Stratford Methodist Church, Rev. Meg Williams, director
Verleih uns Frieden (Grant Us PeaceFelix Mendelssohn), Dr. Carolina Flores, director; Jeffrey Wood, organist
Like A Mighty Stream (Moses Hogan), Constance Chase, director; Dr. Joe Utterback, pianist; Dr. John Michniewicz, organist
God of the Ages (George Warren), Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell, director; Jeffrey Wood, organist
Allegro assai Vivace from Sonata I (Felix Mendelssohn), Jeffrey Wood, organist

Photo Galleries:
October 25, 2009 – 8th Annual Pipescreams
October 30, 2010 – 9th Annual Pipescreams
October 30, 2011 – 10th Annual Pipescreams
October 21,2012 – 11th Annual Pipescreams
March 6, 2011 – 2nd Annual Community Choral Festival