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.
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.
Organist and Choirmaster
Below is the presentation given to the PCC (converted to a video file).
|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|
|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|
|Salicional||8′||Metal, bottom octave from S.D.|
|Vox Angelica||8′||Metal, Tenor C|
|Stopped Flute||4′||Wood, extension of Stopped Diapason 8′|
|Piccolo||2′||Wood, extension of Stopped Diapason 8′|
|Bassoon||16′||Metal, extension of Oboe 8′|
|Swell Sub Octave||16′|
|Swell Unison Off|
|Solo to Great||8′|
|Solo||Compass CC-G, 56 notes|
|Lieblich Gedact||8′||From Great|
|Clarion||8′||Metal, extension of Tuba|
|Solo Sub Octave||16′|
|Solo Unison Off|
|Swell to Solo||8′|
|Great to Solo||8′|
|Pedal||Compass CC-F, 30 notes|
|Acoustic Bass||32′||From Bourdon 16′|
|Contra Dulciana||16′||From Great|
|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′|
|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|