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A terrible winter for organs


bombarde32
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I was just thinking how bad this winter has been for organs. I regularly play organs which have been in desperate need of attention and I have to say that this winter, with the added heating and consequent lowered humidity has finally and terminally sorted out a few of them. Many many electronics have now appeared in our local churches in the South of England where the heating system has finally killed off the old pipe organs.

 

Upon investigation, the same old comments are heard.

 

" The organ is so unreliable, we can't get anyone to play it!"

"We now have a fantastic new digital organ we have people flocking to play it! The choir has gone from strength to strength."

"Our organist told us that unless we replaced the organ, he was going to leave."

"We need the space for a coffee/kids/vestry area, the new digital organ takes up so much less room"

 

and in one church, recently

 

"We know the organ is by George P England, but there are so many holes punched in the underneath of the swell soundboard, it is unusable and we don't have the £140,000 to fix it when our Diocesan share is £72,000 per year and we struggle to even meet that."

 

The electronic builders are making a fortune, in spite of the recession!

 

We are coming to the days when we will not be able to hear a pipe organ in England outside of a Cathedral.

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Yes, depressing, isn't it.

 

But hopefully there will always be enough places that recognise the qualities of a real pipe organ and there will be musicians that continue to insist upon them.

 

There are also stories of churches that have replaced their electronic imitation organ with a real one, or ressurected their old one after some fallow years.

 

Of course, with declining numbers of church attendance, increased financial pressures and less vicars around, there are bound to be more and more redundant churches and organs.

 

Part of me thinks that we can't save every organ - and why would we want to save every undistinguished and inadequate octopod? - but let's at least aim to keep those real organs that are beautiful musical instruments in their own right and keep the future viable for them.

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I was just thinking how bad this winter has been for organs. I regularly play organs which have been in desperate need of attention and I have to say that this winter, with the added heating and consequent lowered humidity has finally and terminally sorted out a few of them. Many many electronics have now appeared in our local churches in the South of England where the heating system has finally killed off the old pipe organs.

 

Upon investigation, the same old comments are heard.

 

" The organ is so unreliable, we can't get anyone to play it!"

"We now have a fantastic new digital organ we have people flocking to play it! The choir has gone from strength to strength."

"Our organist told us that unless we replaced the organ, he was going to leave."

"We need the space for a coffee/kids/vestry area, the new digital organ takes up so much less room"

 

and in one church, recently

 

"We know the organ is by George P England, but there are so many holes punched in the underneath of the swell soundboard, it is unusable and we don't have the £140,000 to fix it when our Diocesan share is £72,000 per year and we struggle to even meet that."

 

The electronic builders are making a fortune, in spite of the recession!

 

We are coming to the days when we will not be able to hear a pipe organ in England outside of a Cathedral.

 

=========================

 

 

 

Cold and heat combined, are a terrible combination. Things leech water content as they chill, and the central-heating does the rest. I expect some organs will improve as the weather gets warmer, but certainly a lot of damage will have been done this winter.

 

Still, we've had worse winters in my own lifetime, and most organs survived them.

 

MM

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We have seen a lot more problems this year. However, a lot of churches are very aware of the issues. There is a church in South West London we currently look after who are working towards a complete rebuild which will solve many of the problems they currently face. We have already had to repair the ageing Compton switching, and the church was some nine months without any heating and despite the heating being back in action, we are now struggling to keep it in tune. We tuned ten days before Easter and by Palm Sunday the Swell had already gone out of tune. Its very frustrating as a tuner, as I like my organs to be perfect!

 

On the positive side however, we are seeing a lot of interest in organ restoration and organ transplants, and many churches are saying they will either move heaven and earth to save their pipe organ, or are seeking a replacement for a failing electronic. Most organists I know still prefer to play the real thing too!

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I was just thinking how bad this winter has been for organs. I regularly play organs which have been in desperate need of attention and I have to say that this winter, with the added heating and consequent lowered humidity has finally and terminally sorted out a few of them. Many many electronics have now appeared in our local churches in the South of England where the heating system has finally killed off the old pipe organs.

 

Upon investigation, the same old comments are heard.

 

" The organ is so unreliable, we can't get anyone to play it!"

"We now have a fantastic new digital organ we have people flocking to play it! The choir has gone from strength to strength."

"Our organist told us that unless we replaced the organ, he was going to leave."

"We need the space for a coffee/kids/vestry area, the new digital organ takes up so much less room"

 

and in one church, recently

 

"We know the organ is by George P England, but there are so many holes punched in the underneath of the swell soundboard, it is unusable and we don't have the £140,000 to fix it when our Diocesan share is £72,000 per year and we struggle to even meet that."

 

The electronic builders are making a fortune, in spite of the recession!

 

We are coming to the days when we will not be able to hear a pipe organ in England outside of a Cathedral.

 

Hi

 

The organ in my (small) church seems to have survived quite well - despite the heating, but then it was restored just a couple of years ago. the only problem has been some tuning instability because of the large changes of temperature and humidity.

 

I recently played http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi...ec_index=D04625 and that has suffered. The church's heating failed in January, and although it is now sorted, the organ will need some attention (and I was told that it will receive it prior to their church anniversary next month). Unusually, the building normally is constantly heated at a background level (I don't know how the small congregation manage to afford to run the place) but with the heating failure, two of the slides were so stiff that they are almost unmovable (Open Diap & Stopped Diap Treble) - and a key ivory just fell off - along with the stop label for the Open Diap while I was playing - presumably due to humidity changes. Still, it's good to know that this historic organ (still hand blown) will be looked after.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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