Organ repair and refurbishment

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Current organ casework
Current organ casework

Our organ accompanies our worship at the Sung Eucharist and Choral Evensong services each Sunday, leading the hymns, accompanying the choir as they sing anthems and canticles, and playing music before and after to help prepare you, and to send you on your way. Could you imagine services without the organ?

Unfortunately, after very nearly 50 years of constant use, it is becoming worn out – you may have heard some keys getting stuck on, or notes sounding that shouldn’t be, and some pipes going out of tune regularly. There are many hundred moving parts and electrical switches which need attention and pipework that needs cleaning and repairing.

F. H. Browne & Sons have built and maintained our organ for well over a hundred years, and with the support of David Flood (Organist and Master of the Choristers at the Cathedral, and Diocesan Organ Advisor), were approached to provide a quotation to overhaul and improve its versatility. The PCC have unanimously accepted this quotation, firstly as being good value for money, and secondly as appropriate for St Stephen’s.

Proposed new console
Proposed new console

This will be an opportunity to not only clean and repair what we already have, but to enhance the instrument with some carefully chosen new stops – these will add colour and variety to the sounds that are available: soft stops for quieter moments and a solo stop that is designed to sound like a trumpet that should be perfect for the opening fanfare of the Wedding March, amongst other things. In order to control the organ, a new movable console will be built giving us flexibility to have it in different places in the church – not only in the chancel with the choir but perhaps at the front of the church for concerts or recitals, meaning that the organist will be able to hear the balance of the organ properly, and an audience would be able to see what the organist is doing! It will also look much more like a ‘traditional’ organ, with draw stops each side of the manuals (what the keyboards are called on an organ).

Work should now start very soon, with a contract being signed with the Organ Builders at the end of October, once a faculty has been granted. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to see work being done; the organ will be carefully removed and taken to Browne’s workshop in Ash where the work will be carried out.

We are lucky that we have had a very generous bequest in the past that will cover a large proportion of the required funding, but that still leaves us needing to raise some substantial money to be able to complete the work. This is something that I’ll write more about next month, and you’ll begin to hear about opportunities for you to contribute over the coming weeks. In the meantime, do take a look at the full presentation below, that I gave to the PCC and members of the congregation at the open meeting on 20th September.

Stephen Barker
Organist and Choirmaster


Below is the presentation given to the PCC (converted to a video file).

Proposed specification
Great Compass CC-G, 56 notes
Contra Dulciana 16′ Metal, extension of Dulciana 8′
Open Diapason 8′ Metal, Bottom octave in case front
Leiblich Gedackt 8′ Metal, bottom octave wood
Dulciana 8′ Metal
Principal 4′ Metal
Wald Flute 4′ Wood
Twelfth 2 2/3′ Metal
Fifteenth 2′ Metal
Mixture II 19.22 Metal
Sesquieltera II 12.17 Metal
Swell Sub-Octave to Great 16′
Swell to Great 8′
Swell Octave to Great 4′
Solo to Great 8′
Swell Compass CC-G, 56 notes
Violin Diapason 8′ Metal, bottom octave wood
Stopped Diapason 8′ Wood
Salicional 8′ Metal, bottom octave from S.D.
Vox Angelica 8′ Metal, Tenor C
Gemshorn 4′ Metal
Stopped Flute 4′ Wood, extension of Stopped Diapason 8′
Nasard 2 2/3′ Metal
Fifteenth 2′ Metal
Piccolo 2′ Wood, extension of Stopped Diapason 8′
Bassoon 16′ Metal, extension of Oboe 8′
Cornopean 8′ Metal
Oboe 8′ Metal
Swell Sub Octave 16′
Swell Octave 4′
Swell Unison Off
Solo to Great 8′
Solo Compass CC-G, 56 notes
Lieblich Gedact 8′ From Great
Oboe 8′ From Swell
Tuba 8′ Metal
Clarion 8′ Metal, extension of Tuba
Solo Sub Octave 16′
Solo Octave 4′
Solo Unison Off
Swell to Solo 8′
Great to Solo 8′
Pedal Compass CC-F, 30 notes
Acoustic Bass 32′ From Bourdon 16′
Bourdon 16′ Wood
Contra Dulciana 16′ From Great
Principal 8′ Metal
Bass Flute 8′ Extension of Bourdon 16′
Fifteenth 4′ Extension of Principal 8′
Octave Flute 4′ Extension of Bourdon 16′
Trombone 16′ Extension of Solo Tuba 8′
Bassoon 16′ From Swell
Trumpet 8′ From Solo Tuba 8′
Clarion 4′ From Solo Tuba 8′
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell Octave to Pedal
Solo to Pedal