2010 Review

42nd Annual Review by John Hargraves


The June 2009-10 year has again been one of intense activity and change. Our main focus up until Christmas was on rebuilding and installing two organs for St Mary’s Cathedral Perth and since then on rebuilding the organ of St Peter’s Anglican Church Willis St Wellington. We have recently reorganized the office with new computers and our own server enabling new email addresses and remote access. Our web site is undergoing a major rebuild and we have set up a SIOC Facebook page.


Organbuilding Staff: In the last year we have farewelled Christian Schleinitz from Germany and welcomed Neil Hooper from Principal Pipe Organs in England and Moritz Fassbender from Klais in Germany on 12 month contracts and Colin Van der Lecq from Perth for one month


St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, Perth WA: On December 8 2009 the largest project we have ever undertaken was inaugurated with a week of special activity surrounding the reopening of the rebuilt Cathedral and new Crypt.



St Mary’s Cathedral Perth Rebuilt Organs: The 71/3 grand organ based on the 1910 Dodd/1963 Gunstar was redesigned and relocated on a new suspended west choir gallery. We are also supplied a new 15/2 chancel organ based on the 1905 Hobday originally built for Newtown Methodist, Wellington and held in storage by the Company for 27 years waiting for a worthy heritage project. Both organs have new terraced drawstop taxi consoles, interconnected by fibre-optic link. The organs feature reconfigured casework, internal layouts and additional stops to make the most of their original heritage and the requirements and potential of the exciting Cathedral space which has a reverberation time of 6 seconds. Dodd and Hobday trained with George Fincham and worked together in Melbourne and Adelaide so it is fitting that these two organs should be so linked.



St Georges Cathedral Perth: In 2008 in association with Patrick Elms & Co we revoiced the reed stops of the 1993 46/3 Smenge west-end organ following major refurbishment of the Cathedral and in 2009 cleaned and tonally regulated the flue stops. The result has transformed the musicality and tuning stability of this dual mechanical/electric action instrument. This year we will be adding a Pedal Contra Bombarde 32’ and a brass Positive Trompet en Chamade 8’.



Auckland Town Hall: In January 2009 we commenced assisting Orgelbau Klais with installation of the new 82/4 organ. The work went on throughout most of the installation period and included erection, building, tonal finishing and tuning. This has been a most interesting and satisfying collaboration with a most successful outcome.



St Peter’s Anglican Church Wellington: In August 2009 we dismantled the 3/26 1885 Hill & Son organ for restoration after water and smoke damage due to an arson attempt on the Church. The project is in full swing in the factory at the present time and includes reconstruction of the much altered organ on historical principles (with some additions) including a new replica attached console and dual mechanical/electric action. The façade pipe diapering is being restored in Melbourne by master decorator Mark Nobel. We have recently acquired the remains (including most of the pipes) of the original 1873 11/2 Hill organ built for St Peter’s and hope to reconstruct it there as a separate project in the future either as an antiphonal west-end division of the main organ or as a separate instrument.



St Paul’s Trinity Pacific Pre sbyterian Church Christchurch: In September 2009 we dismantled the 22/3 1905 Hill & Son organ for restoration following an arson attempt on the Church that caused considerable heat and water damage to the organ. The organ will be fully restored for completion in 2011 when the restored Church is ready to receive it. This beautiful organ was fully restored for the first time by SIOC in 1990.



St Marks Remuera Auckland: In June 2009 we partially dismantled the 40/3 Jones/N&B/L&O/Croft/SIOC organ of St Mark’s Remuera and rebuilt the winding system, the swell slider soundboard and pipes, stop-action and tremulant, Pedal Bourdon and Open Metal windchests, and Choir tremulant. The work was completed in time for Advent services and has greatly enhanced the quietness, reliability and musicality of the instrument, adding firmness to the bass, cohesion to the Swell and power to the Great and pedal reeds. Congress recitalist Joseph Nolan will be putting it through its paces on 19th June.


Christchurch Cathedral: In July 2009 we cleaned the Hill/HN&B/SIOC 64/3 organ again to remove the aftermath of the recent Cathedral earthquake strengthening and refurbishment works. The organ is once again in fine voice as was heard recently when played by Congress recitalist Joseph Nolan.



Unitarian Church, Auckland: In December 2009 we completed restoration of the Swell and Great reservoirs as the first stage of restoring the 1904 George Croft organ, one of the finest and most original of his surviving works.



Epsom Methodist: In February 2010 we overhauled the electrical transmission system of the 1955 3/25 George Croft organ. This organ is a rare and resourceful example of the firm’s best work of the period that has survived without alteration, so we have taken the somewhat unusual course of preserving the electromechanical work, some of which is of Croft’s own manufacture.



Mt Eden Methodist: Also in February 2010 we partially dismantled the 1954 George Croft 2/24 organ and made it safe in preparation for a major redevelopment of the Church property to enhance its heritage and community value. Towards the end of this year on completion of the building works we anticipate reinstalling and overhauling the organ including freestanding modifications to the case.



Gummer Residence: In October 2009 John Gray revoiced the Oboe and tonally regulated this impressive instrument, designed and built up by Robin and recently extended with the addition of a swell division. The organ features his own digital transmission and capture system.



St David’s Cave Memorial Church: In March 2008 we purchased the single manual Positive Organ Co instrument in the Waikouaiti Presbyterian Church pending its demolition and have since restored it and installed it in St David’s Church Cave as a gift from the Company. It will be heard for the first time in its very special new home during this Congress.



Blitz Organ: In 2008 we assembled in our factory the 2/9 1946 Willis organ held in storage since 1981 when we purchased it from Te Awamutu Methodist Church. We have recently overhauled it and Colin van der Lecq will present the musical results to the Congress when you visit on Saturday. The organ was made from parts of bombed organs around Liverpool (including Wallasy Town Hall) in the 1939-45 war and gives a unique perspective to the beginnings of rebirth after the devastation of that time. This organ is available for purchase as is or fully restored.


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