2013 Review

John Hargraves MNZM | Director

NZAO Congress this year looks to be an exciting pipe organ adventure in the great city of Melbourne, in a country that has honoured SIOC with many opportunities over the years since 1990 when we completed our first project there, transplanting and rebuilding the 3m 1868 Fincham organ from St Kilda Institute for the Blind to Paton Memorial Uniting Church, Deepdene.

In 1992 we completed restoration of the 2m 1877 Fincham organ at Church of All Nations Carlton, closely followed by the 3m 1899 Fincham organ of St Mary Star of the Sea West Melbourne, (a challenging project that will be featured on the first day of Congress). Restoration of the 2m 1884 Fincham of Trinity Uniting Brighton followed in 1995.

In 1996 we completed a 3m organ for St Aidans Uniting North Balwyn by transplanting and enlarging a 2m 1897 Jenkins from Dunedin. This was followed in 1997 with rebuilding a 1970 Fincham residence organ for Ken Barelli.

In 2002 we transplanted the 2m 1879 Hill organ from St Peters Christchurch to Wesley College campus at Glen Waverley and then restored the 1 manual chamber organ from former Wesley Bluestone church at Clunes for Wesley College campus. It was reinstalled in Sacred Heart Cathedral Bendigo until restoration of the Bluestone church was completed in 2010.

Our most recent project in Melbourne was transplanting and reconstruction of the 3m 1930 Hill Norman and Beard organ from the Scots Assembly Church in Sydney to Scotch College Memorial Hall Hawthorn in 2004.

In recent years the focus of our work in Australia extended to NSW and WA with restoration of two historic organs in Windsor and rebuilding the 3m 1973 Pogson organ at the Sydney Conservatorium.

WA has been the scene of some of our largest and most complex projects, firstly at St Patrick’s Basilica Fremantle in 1997 when we rebuilt and interconnected the largest 4m and 2m instrument church installation in the country. Then in 2008 we rebuilt the 3m organ in Winthrop Hall of UWA Perth, followed in 2009-10 by a rebuild of the 3m Dodd and transplant of a 2m interconnected Hobday organ from Wellington NZ in the reconstructed Cathedral of St Marys Perth.

Most recently we have added a Fanfare Trumpet and Pedal 32 Reed and tonally regulated the 3m Smenge organ of St George’s Cathedral Perth.

Our current Australian project is revoicing and restoring the 7 reed stops for the 1875 Hill organ being restored and transplanted under the auspices of OHTA at the Tanunda Regional Gallery in the Barossa region of South Australia. This organ built originally for Adelaide Town Hall will be the focus of this year’s OHTA conference at the beginning of October.


45th Annual Review

June 2012-13 year began with an exciting pre- NZAO Congress concert at the Town Hall in Wellington featuring the incomparable Olivier Latry on the Norman & Beard organ with the NZSO performing Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Dukas “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

Congress began on Saturday with Douglas Mews performing Bach on the Flentrop organ of St Pauls Lutheran, followed by Richard Apperley demonstrating the historic Henry Erben organ at the National War Memorial; both instruments welcome recent additions to the city.

Our 2010 restoration/rebuild of the 3m 1885 Hill organ at St Peter’s on Willis featured strongly in the Congress programme, firstly in a masterclass conducted by Olivier Latry, then on Sunday at Choral Matins directed by Dianne Halliday, and again on Monday at the playing competition.

An absolute highlight of the weekend was the duo performance by Olivier Latry and Shin-Young Lee of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” on the organ of St Paul’s Cathedral.

From 29 July – 4 August last year I had the privilege of attending the International Society of Organbuilders conference in Switzerland and with 120 colleagues from around the globe discovering the tremendous depth and quality of Swiss organ culture from the 15th to the 21st century in the cities of Zurich, Einsiedeln, Lucerne, Bern, Chur, Visp, Bellelay, Sion and Fribourg.

24 February 2013 was our Earthquake memorial concert for the lives of Neil Stocker, Scott Lucy and Paul Dunlop given on the organ of Sacred Heart Basilica, Timaru by Christopher Hainsworth to a large appreciative audience.

We have spent much of the last 12 months rebuilding the 4/72 organ of Waiapu Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Napier, currently the largest Church organ in NZ. Inauguration included a week of exciting events commencing with the dedication service on 4th April, concert by Olivier Latry the following night, demonstration lecture by DOM Gary Bowler, former DOM Vincent James and consultant Roy Tankersley on Saturday, Vierne Mass sung by the Cathedral Choir at Sunday Communion and concert by Malcolm Archer the following Tuesday.

From our viewpoint the project has been a resounding success, bringing a bold vision to reality on time and budget. The main facets were to honour the 1885 Lewis and 1973 Croft heritage at a time of vulnerability, add an expressive 4th manual in the former Positive location behind the Great and alongside the Swell. For perfect dynamic balance we relocated the Positive division to an open display in the north loft formerly housing the console, which we replaced with a beautifully crafted terraced drawstop mobile one on the Sanctuary floor.

The Solo division complements and enhances the Swell with stops such as Clarinet, Oboe and Vox Humana that in a larger chamber might have been incorporated with it. However combined with orchestral flutes and strings they are far more versatile as a separate division. With artistic voicing and finishing the overall result is a powerful yet refined and well integrated instrument that is very much at home with a wide body of organ repertoire and choral accompaniment befitting the needs and acoustic of the Cathedral.

We sincerely thank Gary Bowler and the Cathedral authorities for their courageous commitment to the project and faith in our ability to realize their dream.

We are now focussed on our next major project restoring and rebuilding the 3/39 1872 Bevington / 1888 Jenkins / 1896 Fincham & Hobday organ of St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, Christchurch. This elegant 19th Century timber gothic church on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Durham St is one of the few that has remained open for worship throughout the devastating earthquakes and is only now closing for 3 months for EQ repairs and restoration of the organ chamber ready for reinstallation of the organ in September. Earthquake damage to the Church and organ brought the need for this rebuild to a head though proposals were on the table for sometime prior. Our vision is to clarify and restore the Bevington, Jenkins and Fincham & Hobday heritage, enhanced with judicious additions and a new mobile terraced drawstop console with digital transmission.


SIOC Projects completed or in Progress June 2012 – May 2013:

St Bedes School Christchurch: EQ organ removal. Oct 2012.

St Chads Linwood Christchurch: EQ repairs. October 2012.

Taranaki Cathedral: New drawstop solenoids and knobs. October 2012.

St John’s Dannevirke: Site repairs. November 2012.

Holy Trinity Otahuhu: Site repairs. November 2012.

Upper Riccarton Methodist: EQ repairs and site overhaul. November 2012.

Wanganui Collegiate School: Resite console and site repairs. December 2012.

Private reed organs Christchurch and Queenstown: restoration. November – December 2012.

Christs College Christchurch: EQ repairs. January – February 2013.

Tawa Baptist: Site overhaul. February 2013.

St Pauls Papanui: EQ restoration of casework and facade pipes. April 2013.

World Mission Society of Church of God Christchurch (former Shirley Methodist):

EQ repairs March – April 2013.

Dunedin Town Hall: Recommissioning after 2 year shutdown for Hall refurbishment. April 2013.


Upcoming Projects:

Pitt St Methodist Auckland: Console refurbishment, new Peterson transmission and capture system.

Knox Presbyterian Christchurch: EQ restoration and rebuild, new Peterson transmission and capture system, mobile console.

Supported by HotSource IT