2007 Review

 Annual Review 2007, by John Hargraves

A year has gone since we gathered for Congress in Wellington and celebrated Wellington Town Hall Brontosaurus's 100 th birthday. Here we are again, gathered in Christchurch to celebrate New Zealand 's richest urban organ heritage. SIOC has left its mark on most of the organs in this city, so it is fitting that we are well represented at Congress by Director John Hargraves , Office Manager Val Hargraves, and senior tuner/organ builders Gerald Green and Christopher Templeton.

Wellington Convention Centre , Town Hall: In February SIOC completed the major part of cleaning, overhaul and documentation of the 1906 Norman & Beard concert organ. The cleaning was the aftermath of the 2005 refurbishment of the Hall and the conservation documentation was in recognition of the great cultural significance of the organ, acclaimed by experts as the best surviving Norman & Beard organ in the world. The overhaul work was ongoing maintenance of the pipes, pneumatic action and winding systems and provision of new work safety and lighting equipment. The organ is now once again sounding at its best and has since been recorded again by Robert Costin.

Waikato University , Gallagher Arts Centre: The resource organ purchased by the University (C T Lewis 1885/Croft 1935) formerly in St James Hopetoun St , Auckland has now been dismantled and repacked into storage after being playable in the SIOC factory for the last two years. This project has been 8 years in gestation and with the departure of Prof. Chris Hainsworth (the original promoter of the project) to France , the University has appointed a new working group to move the project from dream to reality.

Wesley College Clunes , Victoria : The restored 1860 chamber organ and Smith reed organ have now been returned to Australia . Restoration of the Clunes Campus Bluestone Church Perform-ing Arts Centre is still a year away from completion so the chamber organ is tempor-arily installed in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo where it sounds superb. The reed organ is now a permanent exhibit in the Clunes Museum .

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland :  Indicative of hard usage is the fact that SIOC has recently commenced overhauling and releathering the slider soundboards of the 1969 Harrison & Harrison organ. The eight soundboards are being releathered one at a time by Zack Bennett (now resident in Auckland ) with minimal disruption to the Cathedral's programme.

St George's Cathedral, Perth WA : The Cathedral's major refurbishment programme including provision of a new Welsh slate roof is now nearly complete, enabling installation later this year of the new Pedal Principal 8' stop for the Smenge Chancel organ that we prepared in the factory last year.

St Andrew's at Rangiruru, Christchurch : Factory overhaul of the slider soundboards of the 1901 Gray & Davison organ in-cluding tonal regulation of the pipework was completed shortly after last year's Congress to ensure that the organ continues to serve both the School and the Parish with distinction. Interestingly in the mid 1980's the Church was cut into five sections (one containing the organ) for transportation to Rangiruru from the original site adjacent to the public hospital.

St Augustine's Cashmere, Christchurch : A new Peterson ICS-4000 transmission and capture system and mobile console platform was fitted just after last year's congress as the first stage of overhauling the 1950 Croft organ. This organ was originally built for a private residence in Waikuku and now contains the Norman & Beard Pedal Violone and Great Trombone discarded from Auckland Town Hall .

St Andrew's Epsom, Auckland : The new drawstop console formerly from Christchurch Whangarei Croft organ was installed last year in readiness for completion of the current stage of redesign and overhaul work on St Andrew's 1956 Croft organ later this year.

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Palmerston North:Progressive overhaul work has now been completed to make the Hobday/Croft organ worthy of its potential in this versatile building. In the last year we have re-regulated the pipework, remade the slider chest actions and completed the reinstatement of the Hobday Swell Horn 8'.

Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Christchurch : The façade pipes of the historic 1878 Halmshaw & Sons organ are looking good again (still with their original decoration) after a recent restoration. The lead-rich metal had collapsed and buckled over the years to the point where remedial work was necessary. The Pedal Trombone pipes have also been restored and both sets of pipes have been fitted with additional stays to help preserve this national treasure for the future.

St Mary of the Angels, Wellington : SIOC has recently completed restoring the 1958 Croft organ now known as the Maxwell Fernie memorial organ, which SIOC rebuilt and enlarged in 1984 under his personal direction. It has suffered much water damage in recent years during the restoration and re-roofing of the Church. A feature of the work is the provision of a new Peterson ICS-4000 transmission and capture system. The west gallery has been redesigned with a polished Rimu floor to provide a more vibrant and flexible space capable of accommodating a small orchestral group as well as the choir and a new mobile platform for the organ console.

University of Western Australia , McGillivray Organ: After Easter SIOC dismantled and shipped the 1964 Walker organ in Winthrop Hall. Work has now commenced in the factory after direct shipment to Timaru. The 47 stop 3-maual organ will be restored with some additions, a new Peterson ICS-4000 electrical transmission and capture system and an improved pipe layout on a deepened platform. Additions include a 32' Contra Trombone for the Pedal, a Vox Humana 8' and Vox Angelica 8' for the Choir (which is being restored to an expressive division), a Clarion 4' for the Great, a Bourdon 16' for the Swell and independent Flute's 8' and 4' for the Positive division. The work is planned for completion in early March 2008 in time for the annual graduation ceremonies.

St Johns , Feilding: SIOC is currently restoring the 1923 E. H. Lawton of Aberdeen organ in St John's Anglican Church Feilding, the reinstallation of which should be complete by the time of Congress. Originally exhaust pneu matic, the action has twice been electrified and is now being up-graded with a Peterson ICS-4000 transmission and Capture system. We have re-instated the original Voix Celeste 8' rank formerly removed for a Gemshorn 2' and reinstated the Choir keyboard and original rocking tablet style of stop control formerly removed because the Choir division was never installed.

St Mary's Cathedral, Perth WA : SIOC's most valuable contract ever, is for the rebuilding and relocation of the Cathedral's Dodd/Gunstar organ in 2008-9 when the Cath edral reopens after major re-construction and enlargement.

Last September we dismantled and shipped St Mary's organ to New Zealand in preparation for demolition of the old nave. The 3/67main organ on a new west choir gallery will be coupled to a new chancel organ.

Unitarian Church , Auckland : Our most recent contract is for the restoration of the 1904 George Croft organ, one of the finest and most original of his surviving works. We have nursed the organ's ailing reservoirs and pneumatic action work for some years, so it is with great pleasure that we make this announcement. The work is due for completion in 2009.

SIOC's 39 th year has been full of stimulating challenges and milestones. Garth Cattle (a founding director) retired in September 2006. Tonal Director John Gray has recovered well from a quadruple heart bypass prior to Christmas and Gerald Green has recovered well from a hip replacement in March. Martin Gottlieb, organbuilder from Denmark joined the staff in February. Colin Van der Lecq and Patrick Elms, organbuilders from Perth WA are joining the staff on short term contracts later in the year.

 
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