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Practice Costs - A Question

Guest drd

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I agree with Paul that £3/hour is good value for a 52-stop, four manual Harrison in a heated church. As it happens, most of the people who avail themselves of the facility join the Friends of Music and get a 50% discount. There is an even lower rate for those who, in addition, regularly attend services. I have never seen any of the youngsters' names in the Practice Book, so I believe they get free use of the instrument.


Unless you are prepared to practice in the dark, and see your way in and out by means of a torch, you do have to turn on about 3kW of unbelievably ghastly lighting (think street lamps). Bear in mind this is a church that at one time had a seating capacity of 2,200 - it isn't small.


Unfortunately, Arthur Harrison's original specification (which I have in front of me) doesn't mention the blower. I seem to remember from other correspondence that it was something like 10A or 15A at 470V DC*. So the electricity consumption won't be trivial, though I doubt it would be more than £1/hour, including the lighting.


The Halifax PC rate compares well with the £5/hour I was quoted some years ago for practice on a two-manual instrument of around twenty mediocre stops (but only enough wind for about ten) cobbled together from a variety of other instruments and located in an unheated building. Scarcely any of the pedal was working, and I found over 70 faults on the manuals.






* This motor never got installed. When Harrisons' men had been in Halifax for about a month, they discovered that the town was in the throes of being converted to alternating current. This was rather a problem, because the church wasn't scheduled to be switched over for some months. Bishop Frodsham, the vicar, had a temporary three-phase supply installed purely for the organ blower. Evidently, it ran some distance along the pavements before crossing the churchyard. Bishop Frodsham was a man used to getting what he wanted.

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