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2014 Review

John Hargraves MNZM | Director

Congress 2014 is for the first time being celebrated in our southernmost City of Invercargill which takes SIOC right back to its roots.

The first two projects of the fledgling company were a restoration of St Stephen’s Presbyterian (1/7 Positive Organ Co, SIOC 1968) and a rebuild of St John’s Anglican (3/47 Lewis 1872, Norman & Beard 1904, Hill Norman & Beard 1936, SIOC 1969).

In 1972 we followed these with rebuilding the 1904 2/14 Pearce organ of Central Methodist church, now in storage at St Mary’s Basilica after the closure of Central Methodist by amalgamation in 1995.

In 1979 we built a new 2/30 4rk ext. organ for Holy Trinity Anglican Church and in 1983 we restored the 1921 1/6 Pearce organ of All Saints Church.

The pipe organ scene in Invercargill has been quiet since then with several new digital instruments to keep local organists on their toes.

46th Annual Review:

June 2013-14 year began with an exciting first ever NZAO Congress in Melbourne, the home of nine out of 20 major projects we have completed since 1990 in Australia.

The first organ visited was the 1899 3/38 George Fincham organ of St Mary Star of the Sea West Melbourne which we restored in 1993 with support from the National Trust. Another instrument visited by request of NZOPT was the 1877 2/14 George Fincham organ of Church of All Nations Carlton which we restored in 1992.

A highlight of the Congress was Indra Hughes’ performance of J S Bach’s Art of Fugue on the new Reiger organ of Scots Presbyterian Church. This fine instrument incorporates the casework of the previous 1874/1891 McKenzie/Fincham organ which we revoiced to restore McKenzie’s fine sound before its removal to an organ museum in China.

SIOC Projects completed or in Progress June 2013 – May 2014:

St Pauls Papanui Christchurch – install restored EQ damaged organ case and façade pipes. July 2013.

All Souls Clevedon – renew treble magnets. Aug. 2013.

St Patricks Cathedral Auckland – reset, key- action, pitch & temperament. June- Sept. 13.

Crossroads Methodist Papakura – overhaul slider actions and swell engine. Sept. 2013.

Baptist Tabernacle Auckland – Overhaul Choir action and new entry. Oct. 2013.

Dunedin Town Hall - recommission organ after Hall upgrade. Nov. 2013.

St Michael and All Angels Christchurch – restore and rebuild EQ damaged organ for restored church. Nov. 2013

Christs College Christchurch – repair water damage. Jan. 2014.

Our Lady of Fatima Christchurch – remove organ from EQ damaged church. Jan. 2014.

Auckland Town Hall – acclimatisation adjustments. Jan. 2014.

Pitt St Methodist Auckland – refurbish console, new transmission & capture system, overhaul slider and offset actions. Jan. 2014.

Taranaki Cathedral – repair rodent damage to action. Jan 14.

St Peters Riccarton Christchurch – remove organ from EQ damaged church. Feb. 2014.

At Violinos Music Farm Ashburton –supply, direct and finish Positive Organ Co organ. Mar. 2014.

St Aidans Remuera – repair and strengthen Pedal Trumpet 16; pipes and stays. Mar. 2014.

Takapuna Methodist – repairs and new internal access. Mar. 2014.

Waitaki Boys School – repair water damage. Apr. 2014.

Tanunda Regional Gallery South Australia – revoice and restore 7 sets of reed pipes. Apr. 2014.

St Johns Presbyterian Wellington – new blower & basic overhaul. May 2014.

Knox Presbyterian Christchurch – restore and rebuild EQ damaged organ for rebuilt church. Completion due Sept. - Oct. 2014.

Wellington Town Hall – remove organ for restoration as part of EQ strengthening of hall. Dec. 2013. Completion due 2016.

A special project that is only now reaching installation completion has been the revoicing and restoration of 7 reed stops for the 1875 Hill grand organ, transplanted and restored over 15 years under the auspices of OHTA at Tanunda Regional Gallery in the Barossa region of South Australia. This organ built originally for Adelaide Town Hall was the focus of last year’s OHTA conference in October unfortunately without the reeds. Now that they are installed, excitement is building to hear the astonishing results, so watch for an announcement.

In September I am planning to represent SIOC at the biennial Congress of the International Society of Organ Builders in Transylvania (Romania). I will be accompanied by our senior apprentice Joshua Anderson who will make good use of his recently awarded Neil Stocker Memorial scholarship for the purpose. Joshua has made an excellent recovery from his earthquake injuries and I expect will complete his apprenticeship with distinction this year.

Our major project completed for All Saints Day last year was 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 remained open for worship throughout the devastating earthquakes of 2010-11 and utilised our “Blitz” organ for services during the restoration. Earthquake damage to the Church and organ brought the need for this work to a head though proposals were already on the table. Our vision to clarify and restore the heritage of this instrument incorporating judicious additions and a mobile terraced drawstop console with digital transmission has been a fascinating and rewarding challenge.

Jeremy Woodside returned from UK to play the afternoon opening recital to a packed house with great panache, and was rewarded with a standing ovation. This was followed by a memorable choral evensong that DOM Paul Ellis and the choir beautifully presented. The organ came through what can be a trying day for the organbuilder with flying colours, proving its musical worth in sight and sound.

A special project for this year now nearing completion in the factory is rebuilding the 3/31 1900 Jenkins / 1914 Pearce / 1987 SIOC organ of Knox Presbyterian Church Christchurch after both church and organ were badly damaged in the 2010-11 earthquakes. The new Church on the site retains the footprint and roof structure of the old with new concrete, glass and timber walls and floor. We have reconstructed the original organ case, electrified with (digital transmission) and modestly enlarged the pneumatic organ and mobilised the adapted 1914 console in accord with the Church’s stated mission plan to provide a flexible concert space in the inner city. A challenging building construction is nearing closure of the walls and should be completed before the year’s end.

Another special project is the removal, restoration and reinstallation of the 4/57 1906 Norman & Beard concert organ in Wellington Town Hall that we embarked on in November 2013 with a 5 week programme for 8 men plus scaffolders and riggers and the latest in crane technology, a 3 tonne spider crane. This project which is fundamentally about strengthening the building to 100% EQ code by base isolation is currently on hold for 6 months while budget issues are addressed.

This organ is arguably New Zealand’s most significant heritage instrument and will be restored without any change to its original form. Assuming that we receive confirmation of the next stage in June as expected, the work should be completed in 2016.

The earthquake recovery of Christchurch is frustratingly but understandably slow given the vast scope and complexity of devastation and problematic land issues. Some churches (especially larger ones) are taking the opportunity to rationalise their buildings by amalgamation and downsizing and their organs with digital substitutes. Heritage buildings and values all over the country have taken a disproportionate hit as they do whenever disaster strikes. In greater Christchurch 25 organs have been removed to storage, 5 have been destroyed, 16 are in closed buildings, 33 are playable.

In spite of this gloomy outlook for the future of the pipe organ we remain busy and committed to building and restoring heritage organs of craftsmanship and artistry that transcend utility interests. There is plenty going on behind the scenes to maintain our confidence and we will soon have more exciting announcements.


2013 Review

45th Annual 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”.


Waiapu Anglican Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Napier - New Zealand

Newspaper article 1


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