Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Update coming on Rieger Town Hall organ, & others in NZ


churchmouse
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

This is a note to let you know that tomorrow, Tuesday May 18th, Martin Setchell and I will be allowed into the Christchurch Town Hall for the first time since the February earthquake to make a visual inspection of the organ after the 6.4 earthquake. We have no idea what state we will find it in, although reports of the auditorium itself suggest that liquefaction and ground movements have resulted in serious structural damage to the building. There is no electricity yet so it will be headlamp vision at best. I will be taking photos ( lots and lots and lots of photos!) in the short time we are permitted to stay and will somehow post these online (not quite sure where yet) and also a report and update summary on nzorgan.com as soon as possible after our visit in the afternoon. So do check on (your) Tuesday morning for the hopefully not-so-bad news.

 

As for other organs in the city and around the Canterbury province, a Radio New Zealand report this morning said: "Along with the devastation to well-known Anglican and Catholic cathedrals, there is damage to churches right across the city. Following the September and February earthquakes, 23 Anglican, 12 Presbyterian and 10 Catholic churches have been left with serious damage. At least three Methodist churches are unusable, and the Durham Street Church, where three people died, has been destroyed. Church officials will need to consider land and building suitability, and the impact of the falling number of parishioners when considering whether to rebuild." Added to that a Baptist Church was destroyed and a now a vacant lot exists where a Presbyterian church once stood in Madras street. To get some idea of recent views of the city, a professional photographer somehow got access to the cordon and took some stunning pictures that show something of the reality. See these here

 

The New Zealand Organ Preservation Trust lists the damage and news of organs in its May newsletter - but it's a work in progress as we all struggle to gain access to buildings, many of which are damaged and extremely dangerous to enter.

 

A Memorial Trust Fund for young organ builders has been set up in memory of Neil Stocker, one of the men from SIOC killed in the quake while working on Durham Street Methodist Church - read more about this fund on the NZOPT site here). Yesterday Martin played a concert to a packed church filled with culture-hungry Cantabrians, who donated $2200+ for the Stocker Memorial Fund. A very positive occasion that confirmed once again that music has great healing powers. YAY! Gosh, it was SO good to enjoy music and laugh again!

 

I'll post more after tomorrow, (if you use twitter, I'll be wotsitting to there and my user name is @NZchurchmouse)

 

Churchmouse - just a little bit nervous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahhhhh - aftershocks and high winds closed the cordon again yesterday and we were not allowed access. Today, hopefully, aided by the wearing of no less than steel-capped boots, we attempt to get in again. Sigh. If you want moreorless immediate news, follow me on twitter @NZChurchmouse or via Facebook. There will be no wifi within range and this is the best I can do!

 

Meanwhile, the management company who run the Town Hall have announced that the decision whether to repair or demolish the convention centre and Town Hall will be made late August; neither of these venues will be open until the start of 2013 at least.

 

Thanks for your support, all.

churchmouse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahhhhh - aftershocks and high winds closed the cordon again yesterday and we were not allowed access. Today, hopefully, aided by the wearing of no less than steel-capped boots, we attempt to get in again. Sigh. If you want moreorless immediate news, follow me on twitter @NZChurchmouse or via Facebook. There will be no wifi within range and this is the best I can do!

 

Meanwhile, the management company who run the Town Hall have announced that the decision whether to repair or demolish the convention centre and Town Hall will be made late August; neither of these venues will be open until the start of 2013 at least.

 

Thanks for your support, all.

churchmouse

 

 

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

 

 

Poor Jenny and Martin......still in the dark and STILL suffering aftershocks after all this time.

 

We can only hope for the best and encourage you with our good wishes, while raising a glass to 2013, by which time the aftershocks should have subsided, one hopes.

 

MM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear friends

Thank you all for you kind words of support and concern. Our organ is better off than so many others in Christchurch that we have to be thankful; but it may remain unused for a long, long time yet.

Yes, it IS better news than we feared, as far as the organ goes. Despite shattered glass doors and toppled and bent pipes, the main wooden structure of the Rieger seems fine from the limited visual inspection we made yesterday. I couldn't climb up to the Swell and Oberwerk because the access ladder had come away from the wall and was too dangerous - so until that is fixed we won't know about further up. It was the larger perimeter pipes in the great that came adrift - bringing with them some of their wooden supports. None of the façade pipes have been affected and the tracker mechanism looks fine too. Thanks for the wonderful ability of wood to corkscrew and return to its former shape (like the stairs in our house!!). So: this is how the organ is so far.

A little bit more detail is as follows (as pasted on www.nzorgan.com yesterday)

 

"Late on Wednesday 18 May, nearly 3 months after the Christchurch earthquake on February 22nd, Martin and Jenny Setchell were escorted through the Red Zone cordon into the Town Hall auditorium and were allowed to inspect the Rieger pipe organ. Power has not yet been restored to the building so this was a visual inspection by torchlight only. Our impressions are as follows:

1. Exterior casework and façade pipes appear undamaged.

2. Console: All three manuals and pedal board appeared even to the touch and not out of alignment. One of the plate glass console doors (which had been removed during the upgrade) had fallen to the ground and smashed to pieces.

3. Ground level: Inside the case, behind the console, electronic stop action and tracker mechanisms seemed undamaged. Wind trunking - no visible splits or damage. Windchests - sound; Mainframe - intact.

4. Level One: Pedal divisions undisturbed both sides. Bombarde division on back wall undisturbed. In the Hauptwerk division some longer perimeter pipes on either side have broken adrift from their stays, and are leaning against each other. Some pipes in new windchest are askew and leaning.

Some damage to pipes by bending at the boot end. Interior wooden framework seems secure and no visible sign of warping or bending.

5. Level Two: Swell division and new enclosed Oberwerk divisions: Unable to access as upper ladder had broken from wall and was unsafe to use. We hope the ladder will be secured soon to allow full access to the top level.

There is no visible sign of water damage.

 

So far, the organ has survived as well as can be expected, given the severe upward and sideways thrust to the building. More photos to come. "

 

The future of the town hall itself will not be known until the end of August. It feels a sad, sad place.

glass-access-sm.jpg

churchmouse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the news Jenny, I am glad to hear that the organ is not as badly damaged as it could have been. (Now for more of the interminable waiting... )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the news Jenny, I am glad to hear that the organ is not as badly damaged as it could have been. (Now for more of the interminable waiting... )

 

We're getting good at this patience thing, aren't we !?!

Just to let you know, I have now put up a slideshow of 21 pictures taken around and in as much of the organ as we can get to, at this address: www.nzorgan.com/earthquake/Organ-damage/index.html Needs flash but you can enlarge the individual images to see a little more clearly. Although it looks relatively light, it was pitch dark in the auditorium, but thanks to a helpful 6400 ISO camera! (and flashlight of course...) the images are clear enough to see. :rolleyes: So even if the hall itself has been badly structurally damaged, the organ has really done very well.

 

Churchmouse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...