2004 Review

Compiled by John Hargraves, SIOC Director

Yes I expect to be at Congress in Hamilton , with exciting news about pipe organs, a subject I am still passionate about after 40 years in the trade. So make time to read this or seek me out and find out more about what's happening in the New Zealand and Australian organ-building scene.

On 30 March I attended the opening recital on the 50 stop, 3 manual, 1930 Hill, Norman & Beard organ transplanted from the redundant Presbyterian Assembly Hall in Sydney and restored/rebuilt by SIOC (in association with PD Jewkes Pty, Sydney) for the Scotch College Memorial Hall in Melbourne. The recital given by 26-year old Clive Driskill-Smith, recent winner of the Calgary competition, RCO performer of the year and sub-organist of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford was a splendidly enjoyable occasion attended by over 900 people including the 76 player strong College symphony orchestra conducted by DOM John Ferguson. The programme was unusual in that selected movements of some major works were amongst those played to show off the full capabilities of the organ and orchestra. Works by Elgar, Karg-Elert, Bach, Durufle, Mendelssohn, Bingham, Howells, Dupre and organ concerto's by Handel and Saint-Saens delighted the large and appreciative audience. You would have heard a pin drop at the almost inaudible ending of Howell's, Master Tallis Testament.

This was a challenging and artistically rewarding 2-year project that included a new gothic styled case and façade pipes, rebuilt organ chambers, a highly disciplined new organ layout, and a new console (originally made by HN&B for St John‘s Toorak) with Muldersoft transmission and capture system in including MIDI player. John Maidment OAM was the consultant.

At the time of last year's Congress in Christchurch we were reinstalling the 2-manual, 25 stop, restored/rebuilt 1886 Bishop & Son/Tustin/Lee organ in St John's Methodist Church , Nelson. This exciting project, which John Scott wrote up in Organ News was opened on June 8 by Paul Brown, organist of the church and senior master of Nelson Boys College . We reconstructed the original freestanding casework destroyed in 1965 using surviving parts and an 1891 photograph. We restored the original specification with some valuable additions. We rebuilt the Lee detached electric console and fitted it with a Muldersoft transmission and capture system complete with MIDI player. We restored the original hand pump reconstructed from surviving parts and repaired and retained the 1910 Norman & Beard basement reservoir and hydraulic feeders. We restored the original winding system and wind pressure of 92mm based on one double-rise reservoir. We restored the original structural framework.

During the last year we have carried out many interesting smaller projects as usual including the organs of Holy Spirit Cathedral Palmerston North (Oboe revoicing, top-note machine rebuilding, façade pipe strengthening), Craighead School Timaru (overhaul, Open Diapason addition), St Mark's Remuera (ongoing overhaul and revoicing), St Christopher's Pres Seatoun (overhaul), St Barnabas Stoke (overhaul), Wanganui Collegiate School (ongoing overhaul), Holy Trinity Avonside (overhaul), St Andrew's at Rangiruru (Double Open Diapason addition), First Church Christ Scientist Auckland (dismantling and storage), All Saints Hokitika (partial overhaul), Cambridge Terrace Congregational (cleaning), St Joseph's New Plymouth (Muldersoft transmission and capture systems), St Luke's Mt Albert (stage 3 overhaul), St Andrew's Epsom (ongoing overhaul, revoicing), LDS Hataitai (overhaul), Lake Tekapo residence reed organ (restoration), Lower Hutt residence reed organ (restoration), Gisborne residence harmonium (restoration).

We are currently cleaning and overhauling our own 1977 organ at Old St Paul's Cathedral Wellington and the Pearce organ at Wesley Methodist Hastings (including a new drawstop console formerly made by Crofts for St Andrews College ). We are also making a new 5 rank 21-stop residence organ from recycled materials for Cedric Hargraves in Timaru and carrying out restoration work for an Australian organ builder. Other exciting projects in New Zealand and Australia are currently being negotiated and will be announced soon.

At Easter (thanks to my daughter Bronwyn) we finally got the SIOC web site up after thinking about it for a long time.


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