The organ upon which Jingle Bells is believed to have been composed more than 100 years ago can be found today in a church in Tallahassee.
The Jingle Bells organ has become a treasured link to Christmas past.
In a corner of a historic church in Florida’s capital city sits an organ with a unique history of its own. The organ was built between 1837 and 1838, and is believed to be the instrument on which Poet and Pastor John Pierpoint wrote the Christmas classic, Jingle Bells.
Michael Corzine is a professor at Florida State University’s School of Music, where the organ sat in storage for nearly 40 years before a doctoral student discovered it and began tracing its history.
Corzine says the student learned the organ came from a church in Savannah, Georgia, where John Pierpoint’s brother was the minister and where Pierpoint was living in 1858.
He says, "As far as we know, while in Savannah, this was the only keyboard instrument he had access to and this is the same time period when he wrote and published Jingle Bells."
What we do know is the organ came to its current home at St. John’s Episcopal Church on long-term lease from FSU in May of 2000.
After nearly 170 years, the Jingle Bells organ still has a steady job.
It’s used for the Sunday evening service every week at St. John’s.
This time every year, you’ll hear the cheery notes of a beloved Christmas tradition on the very organ that played them the very first time.
In addition to its use by the church, the organ is also available to Florida State University music students for performance and practice.