St John’s Church, Gordon – Update

11 months into a project, we are pleased to say we are not far away from putting the tools down and to start packing! Factory work of stage 1 is nearing its completion and it is a big milestone. The four-manual instrument in symphonic-romantic style is designed by St John’s Church Director of Music Dr Brett McKern and SIOC Director John Hargraves and comprised of pipes by Hill, Norman & Beard from the 1934 organ formerly in First Church of Christ Scientist, Christchurch, the 1928 (#2655) HN&B Christie organ in St Stephens Presbyterian Church, Lower Hutt and the 1907 Norman & Beard organ in First Presbyterian Church, Dunedin.

 For those in the know this is what we are working at:

Man. 1 Chancel Choir, 14 Stops
Man. 2 Chancel Great, 10 Stops (# = slider chest)
Violoncello8′ (F)Bourdon16′ (A)
Hohl Flute8′ (G)#Open Diapason8′ (S)
Gamba8′ (M)#Claribel Flute8′
Voile Celeste TC8′ (H)Rohr Flute8′ (A)
Unda Maris8′ (N)#Dulciana8′
Viola4′ (F)#Principal4′
Wald Flute4′ (G)#Harmonic Flute4′
Lieblich Flute4′ (I)#Twelfth2 2/3′
Nazard2 2/3′ (I)#Fifteenth2′
Piccolo2′ (G)Tromba8′ (E)
Tierce1 3/5′ (N) swell to great
Clarinet8′ (L) solo to great
Tuba (Solo)8′ (K) choir to great
Choir Tremulant great octave
Cymbelstern great unison off
choir octave
Man. 4 Chancel Solo, 7 Stops (# = slider chest)
choir unison off
Rohr Flute (Great)

8′ (A)
choir sub octave
Gamba (Choir)

8′ (M)
swell to choir
Viole Celeste TC (Choir)

8′ (H)
solo to choir
Clarinet (Choir)

8′ (L)
great to choir
Tromba (Great)

8′ (E)
Man. 3 Chancel Swell, 13 Stops (# = slider chest)

8′ (K)
#Lieblich Bourdon16′
Glockenspiel (39 bells)

#Lieblich Gedackt8′
  solo octave
#Geigen Diapason8′
  solo unison off
  solo sub octave
#Voix Celeste TC8′Chancel Pedal, 12 Stops
#Gemshorn4′Resultant Bass32′ (C&D)
#Fifteenth2′Open Diapason (Wood)16′ (C)
#Mixture2 rksViolone16′ (S)
Contra Oboe16′ (B)Bourdon Major 16′ (D)
#Horn8′Bourdon Minor 16′ (A)
Oboe8′ (B)Octave8′ (C)
#Vox Humana8′Bass Flute8′ (D)
#Clarion4′Choral Bass4′ (C)
Swell TremulantBass Cornet32′ (A) 3rks
swell octaveTrombone16′ (E)
swell unison offTromba8′ (E)
swell sub octaveBassoon16′ (B)
solo to swellGlockenspiel
great to pedal
choir to pedal
swell to pedal
solo to pedal

Working with their usual precision, our men are utilizing their skills and knowledge with the utmost dedication.

Brand new Tasmanian blackwood mobile drawstop console and platform by Mike Young and American oak case by Moritz Fassbender have been crafted to perfection and now undergoing the final processes of staining, spraying and polishing.  

Pipes – both flues and reeds have been carefully selected by John Hargraves, with personal assistance from Dr McKern, cleaned and repaired. Some had to be purchased new from F. Booth & Son of the UK and Tim Gilley of Australia. All 2,056 of them adjusted and voiced by Christopher Templeton and John Gray. The big Open Woods and Bourdons have been mitred by Julian Shaw to fit the fine, but unusual space under the church rafters.

The old N&B slider Swell soundboard has been meticulously overhauled by John Cookson. 2 new soundboards – Choir electro-magnetic and Great slider – have been built by Moritz Fassbender and Gerald Green. All three – neatly wired, with the pipes racked in and stayed. 14 chests and 5 reservoirs, some refurbished, others brand new (by Neil Hooper, John Cookson, Gerald Green, Moritz Fassbender) have been executed to the highest standard and now awaiting the final testing.

4 deluxe keyboards, draw stops and tabs from P & S Organ Supply (England) are fitted in the console. Integrated Control System ICS-4000 from Peterson Electro-Musical Products (USA), as well as thousands of other multi-coloured and multi-purposed cables, connecting different parts of the Chancel organ have been and are still being wired by Kris Shaw and Bryan Jones.

It’s “all hands-on-deck” now, when the D-Day for loading the container is in such a close proximity. The Rendall organ has been taken out of St John’s Church to clear the area for the builders to make a new space before the Chancel organ arrives. Careful planning is well under way in regards to its shipping and installation. Exciting time!

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More than a Pipe Dream

This book pays homage to the highly skilled individuals in the South Island Organ Company who have dedicated so much of their lives to designing, building and restoring pipe organs, highly complex musical instruments as they are. It unveils an impressive amount of detail about this unique company's development, achievements and adventures, including secrets of the instruments construction and the art of restoration, all of which is presented in a highly readable manner so that you will never feel overwhelmed by technical jargon.

This book is the work of multi-award-winning writer Jill Worrall.

$99.99 plus postage & handling fee.

Here are some comments:

  • "Thrilled to have the book arrive today. What a gorgeous production it is and how poignant the earthquake stories and images. Thank you and I will enjoy it in greater detail as the days go by". - Tim McWhannell
  • "The book has arrived....amidst the busy day, I just had to have a quick flip through. I am absolutely gobsmacked!  What a magnificent publication -accolades all round!
    You have exceeded!  I am wordless, and speechless!
    Bravo!" - Roy Tankersley
  •  "The book arrived today! Excellent publication" - Alan Edwards
  • To John: "I enjoyed the book...indeed more than a pipe dream, that's for sure. From it I can see you've had a  remarkable and interesting career amongst some great talented craftsmen and artisans and have formed a great company in SIOC which you must be proud of. The tragedy of the losses SIOC suffered with the deaths of your men following the earthquakes is so sad and I am sure is a deep loss to you and Val personally. But what an outstanding first 50 years" - Craig Maclean & family
  •  "My copy has arrived. It is superb!! Many thanks to Val and John, and to all those who had input into its publication" - Robert Cleaver