Historic Restorations

Our restoration philosophy is to conserve the original fabric and character of the instrument as far as possible and reconstruct missing, worn-out or modified parts in facsimile style and materials except where this is no longer practicable. In most cases, we aim to restore the organ as a working instrument rather than a museum exhibit and to recreate the original sound and feel of the organ where this has been lost or compromised.

In some cases, we remove accretions and modifications and in others, we retain or increase them if it is important to the continued artistic use of the organ and does not compromise its construction or future maintenance in any permanent way. We are committed to research unknown areas of construction technique, musical style, and architectural detail before embarking on a restoration project, and are particularly attentive to what the organ can teach us and wary of what assumptions we try to impose on it.


Organ Rebuilds

Our rebuilding philosophy has been to minimise the revealed weaknesses and maximise the potential strengths of the core instrument, to transform it into the most appropriate, enduring and artistic organ for its intended building and associated music-making.

This may involve alteration or enlargement of the specification, modification or renewal of the action, reconfiguration of the console, internal layout and/or casework, and transplantation of the organ to a new position or building. Increasingly over the years the disciplines of conservation and restoration have been applied to our rebuilding work, especially in regard to romantic style organs that were tonally altered in response to the fashionable 'neo-baroque' style of the 1960's and 70's.

SIOC has rebuilt many organs, ranging from classic rebuilds to virtually new instruments. Some examples are Nelson Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral Dunedin, Christchurch Cathedral, St Mary's Catholic Nelson, St Patrick's Basilica Fremantle, Sydney Conservatorium, Scotch College Melbourne St Mary's Perth and the list can continue.

Our Book is Available for Purchase

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