Our wonderful 1882 Hill and Sons organ is creaking at the seams. With only cleaning and relatively minor tonal adjustments and the addition of a trumpet stop over the last 130 years, it is in need of some fairly major attention and cleaning.
The work necessary includes:
- Cleaning: about every 20 years or so this is needed as flies and dust settle within the pipes, dulling their sound and either stopping them working completely or partially;
- Electrics: the mechanisms installed in 1993 are worn out and need replacement;
- Refurbishment of the "action": the rods, levers, wires and pivots which transfer the movement of the keys into an action that lets air into the pipes to let them sound.
- Couplers: these enable one keyboard to be played from another or additional notes to be played at the same time and need renovation as they largely don't work anymore;
- The soundboards: (the pipes sit on these) also need major renovation after 130 years of work, the result will be a far lighter touch at the keyboards;
- The Swell Box: half the pipes in the organ are enclosed in a box; the shutters do not now open sufficiently to let enough sound out;
- Pipework: some pipes need replacing for both the sound to improve and to enable a better lead from the instrument;
- Wind trunking changes: some pipes fitted in 1993 are not fed with sufficient air, making them sound out of tune (particularly when the couplers are made to work properly;
- The bellows: having worked without attention for 130 years, the leather which allows them to expand and contract, feeding air under pressure to the soundboards, is very brittle and likely to fail at any time;
- The Trumpet: it has become dreadfully raucous, unreliable and largely unusable now needing a total rebuild and re-voicing so that it blends properly with the rest of the instrument;
- Increasing the volume of the instrument: the organ was built into a stone chamber with little thought of supporting a large congregation; minor (largely unnoticeable) changes to the casework surrounding the instrument will allow its sound to escape better into the church.
Following a report from the Diocesan Organ Adviser (Paul Hale) which itemized and outlined the work to be done, four quotes were obtained. The PCC has chosen the organ builder and the next stage is to apply for a Faculty (the Church of England's legal authority to do the work). Meanwhile, fund raising will be undertaken for, with VAT, the total amount to be raised is £70,000. That sounds a great deal but the work is intricate and will take several people well over three months to complete.
There have already been a number of successful fundraising events: a sponsored carol singing; a beer tasting evening; and a "bandless" barn dance among others. As you can see from that list, there have been some imaginative ideas for fundraising which have got us started but we still have a long way to go.
If you want to contribute your ideas or time and support, please contact Director of Music, Peter Davies on 01778 347381 and he'll be glad to have whatever time and talent you can offer.
The organ is a very important part of the worship in our church. Not only is it used every Sunday for worship but it is used for weddings, funerals, civic and Remembrance services. It is a key part of assisting the congregation to sing. Many people across the community are very thankful that it was there when they needed music for special services. By careful restoration, it can be available into the future.
Donations large and small will be gratefully received and acknowledged as we work towards reinvigorating this wonderful, heritage instrument for the future.