2006 Review

Annual Review 2006, by John Hargraves

A year has gone since we gathered in Dunedin and celebratedNorma's 76 th birthday. Here we are again, gathered in Wellington to celebrate the 100 th anniversary of “Brunhilde”as I want to call her for she is no Brontosaurus but the warrior Queen of New Zealand organs. On the 20 th anniversary of restoration, commencing in December the Company will be giving her a major birthday cleaning and conservation survey.

A year ago SIOC was cleaning and overhauling the 1881 Hill/1926 HN&B/1980 SIOC organ of Christchurch Cathedralafter the rigours of five years extensive structural work on the building to meet the new earthquake protection standards. Now fitted with a humidifier, free of background air noise, and tuned to concert pitch, she has never sounded so fresh and sweet or been so versatile.

The Company then turned to restoring the 1901 Arthur Hobday organ gifted to the Christchurch Association of Organists by the Redemptorists at New Brighton . The Association raised NZ$195,000 for the project and found a wonderful home for the organ in the 1910 Luttrell Bros. chapel of St John of God at Halswell Christchurch . The restored organ was officially handed over to the Order of St John on 17 December and opened with a splendid recital by Michael Stewart.

Waikato University , Gallagher Arts Centre: The resource organ formerly in St James Hopetoun St , Auckland is currently erected and playable in the SIOC factory, awaiting final evaluation by the joint consultants Christopher Hainsworth and Michael Cox. The 1885 TC Lewis organ is to be restored and reconfigured for installation in the new Gallagher auditorium.

Wesley College Clunes , Victoria : The restored 1860 chamber organ and the Smith reed organ are currently erected and playable in SIOC's factory. Restoration of the Clunes Campus Bluestone Church Performing Arts Centre is still 18 months away from completion so it is likely that the chamber organ will find a temporary home in Bendigo Cathedral. The reed organ will be a permanent exhibit in the Clunes Museum .

St Mark's at the Basin, Wellington : Michael Cox made the push for reinstating the Choir Orchestral Oboe and Clarinet stops which were removed in the 1960's rebuild to make way for mutation ranks. With the assistance of Jim Parnell, the Clarinet addition finished since last Congress has completed the programme most convincingly.

Dilworth Boy's School, Auckland: SIOC's most significant contract this year is the just completed major rebuild of the 48 stop 3 manual 1959/76 Geo. Croft war memorial organ in St Patricks Chapel to celebrate the centenary of the School. See our cover advertisement. for details.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland : SIOC recently moved the detached console of the 1969 Harrison & Harrison organ from its second home in the loft above the Chancel Choir to the Bridge between the new Nave and the Chancel. This has enabled the Cathedral Choir to relocate behind the Nave Altar to facilitate a new Worship in the Round liturgy that has been adopted.

St George's Cathedral, Perth : The Cathedral is currently undergoing a major refurbishment programme including provision of a new Welsh slate roof. SIOC is adding two more electric couplers to the West-end Smenge organ and adding a Pedal Principal 8 rank to the East-end Smenge organ.

St Andrew's at Rangiruru, Christchurch : Factory overhaul of the slider soundboards of the 1901 Gray & Davison organ has just been completed, and the pipework is in the process of being re-regulated to ensure that the organ continues to serve both the School and the Parish with distinction.

Southwell School , Hamilton : In January we factory overhauled the Swell slider soundboard as part of an ongoing overhaul of the organ. Increasingly New Zealand 's schools are taking up the mantle of the organ as part of their arts programme.

St Augustine's Cashmere, Christchurch : Work is in progress fitting a new Peterson transmission and capture system and mobile console platform as the first stage of overhauling the 1950 Croft/Bicknell organ. This organ was originally built for a private residence in Waikuku and now contains the Norman & Beard Pedal Violone and Great Double Trumpet discarded from Auckland Town Hall.

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Palmerston North: Overhaul work is progressing in stages to make the Hobday/Croft/Deans organ worthy of its potential in this versatile building. Currently we are re-regulating the pipework, remaking the slider chest actions and completing the reinstatement of the Hobday Swell Horn 8.

St Andrew's Epsom, Auckland: Work is in progresspreparing the new drawstop console formerly part of the Christchurch Anglican, Whangarei Croft organ for installation in the Church later this year along with a further stage of redesign and overhaul work on the St Andrew's Croft organ.

St Mary of the Angels, Wellington : SIOC has just commenced restoring the 1958 Max Fernie memorial organ, which we 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 will be the provision of a new Peterson transmission and capture system. The west gallery is being redesigned to provide a more flexible space capable of accommodating small orchestral groups as well as the choir and a mobile organ console. The new polished heart- rimu floor is stunning.

University of Western Australia , McGillivray Organ, Perth : We are pleased to announce that the company has been awarded the contract to rebuild the 1964 J W Walker organ in Winthrop Hall. 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 and Vox Angelica for the Choir (which is being restored to an expressive division), a Clarion for the Great, a Bourdon 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.

All in all, SIOC's 38 th year has been full of interesting and stimulating challenges as have the many that have gone before. I trust that we will long continue to serve and strengthen pipe organ heritage wherever we are drawn to build, restore and maintain these wonderful expressions of western culture.

 
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