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Colin Yates

Cavaille-Coll Organ - Parr Hall Warrington

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Just herd the proposed move of this historic organ to Sheffield Cathedral is not going to happen due to a lack of funds

 

Warrington Borough Council comments -

 

The council now plans to consult with all interested parties to discuss the future of the instrument so that it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

 

Kate Hannon (Lab, Orford), executive member for leisure, culture and communities, said:

‘Whilst we are disappointed that following a lot of work and negotiation Sheffield are not in a position to take the organ, I think this gives us a real opportunity to reconsider the future of the instrument.

‘We all want to find a solution where the organ is maintained and enjoyed by as many people as possible and to that end I have asked officers to review the current condition of the organ and establish a range of options for the future. This will be done by ensuring that we consult with all interested parties so that elected members can then determine the best way forward.’

 

The Very Reverend Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, commented:

‘It would have been wonderful to bring this truly great organ to Sheffield, but unfortunately in the current economic climate it has simply proved impossible to raise the funds. On behalf of the Cathedral, I would like to place on record our thanks to colleagues in Warrington, who have done all they can to help us make the project the success it deserved to be.

 

On the subject of another Warrington organ, I seem to remember a previous post relating to The Phoenix Digital organ in Warrington Parish church and the solo 'Solly Flood' trumpet stop

Major General Sir Arthur Solly Flood was CiC of the South Lancashire Regiment & Warrington PC is one of the Regimental Chapels. Solly Flood presented the regiment with two trumpets. These are now housed in the church. the description from the regimental handbook is as follows

 

The Trumpeters’ Case housing the Solly-Flood Trumpets, to be sounded upon ‘great and solemn occasions in the life of the Regiment, and always when the last honor is paid to its members who have given their lives for their country, or when their service and sacrifice are commemorated in after time’, and the Trumpeters’ Book in which these occasions are recorded

 

These trumpets are still used today, on Regimental Sunday which is usually the around the end of Sept, beginning of Oct

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Just herd the proposed move of this historic organ to Sheffield Cathedral is not going to happen due to a lack of funds

 

Warrington Borough Council comments -

 

The council now plans to consult with all interested parties to discuss the future of the instrument so that it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

 

Kate Hannon (Lab, Orford), executive member for leisure, culture and communities, said:

‘Whilst we are disappointed that following a lot of work and negotiation Sheffield are not in a position to take the organ, I think this gives us a real opportunity to reconsider the future of the instrument.

‘We all want to find a solution where the organ is maintained and enjoyed by as many people as possible and to that end I have asked officers to review the current condition of the organ and establish a range of options for the future. This will be done by ensuring that we consult with all interested parties so that elected members can then determine the best way forward.’

 

The Very Reverend Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, commented:

‘It would have been wonderful to bring this truly great organ to Sheffield, but unfortunately in the current economic climate it has simply proved impossible to raise the funds. On behalf of the Cathedral, I would like to place on record our thanks to colleagues in Warrington, who have done all they can to help us make the project the success it deserved to be.

 

On the subject of another Warrington organ, I seem to remember a previous post relating to The Phoenix Digital organ in Warrington Parish church and the solo 'Solly Flood' trumpet stop

Major General Sir Arthur Solly Flood was CiC of the South Lancashire Regiment & Warrington PC is one of the Regimental Chapels. Solly Flood presented the regiment with two trumpets. These are now housed in the church. the description from the regimental handbook is as follows

 

The Trumpeters’ Case housing the Solly-Flood Trumpets, to be sounded upon ‘great and solemn occasions in the life of the Regiment, and always when the last honor is paid to its members who have given their lives for their country, or when their service and sacrifice are commemorated in after time’, and the Trumpeters’ Book in which these occasions are recorded

 

These trumpets are still used today, on Regimental Sunday which is usually the around the end of Sept, beginning of Oct

 

 

It is indeed unfortunate that the Sheffield offer has had to be declined but that is just another symptom of the economic maelstrom . A brave, and I believe, a genuine offer from a party who would have appreciated this instrument. By no means do I infer that Warrington council have not appreciated the organ; far from it; they have done their very best with limited resources at their disposal to keep the instrument operational but again, it all comes down to hard nosed economics and balance sheets linked to, and this has to be said, low attendance at recitals.

 

The hall looks very good now that it has been revamped and the organ sounded very good; not perfect but given the limited resources available still very good.

 

There will have to be more grass roots support if this magnificent instrument is to remain within the hall. Certain individuals are doing all they can to achieve this. They are the unsung heroes working in the background; the people with no names but who " just do the job ".

 

The organ looks

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Thanks very much for your recent information about the CC Organ.

 

I have been told by the Organist of Warrington Parish Church that it was at his request that the 'Solly-Flood Trumpet' stop of the unenclosed Choir Division of their Phoenix Organ was thus named in recognition of the Major General's Presentation of the trumpets to his Regiment.

 

The Organist had 'carte-blanche', so to speak when the organ was being built and one of the trumpets and this Stop will indeed be 'sounded' at the next Regimental Sunday service.

Tempo Primo.

 

 

,

 

Thanks for the input, in fact the Solly - Flood trumpet is according to Bob Birbeck the current organist, based on a stop on an organ in Canada. Apparently the first choice was the fanfare trumpet on the Met in Liverpool, but that wasn't possible

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I hope Ian Bell will not mind if I re-post the message he sent to the orgue-l distribution list earlier today:

 

My attention has been drawn to some kind of petition being circulated on behalf of a church in Warrington, claiming that the Cavaiile-Coll organ in the Parr Hall, Warrington, is about to be scrapped unless those petitioned queue up to sign the said petition in support of its being moved to this church.

 

Whatever the strengths or the weaknesses of the argument for moving the organ to this or any other future home, people should be clear that the bald statement that the organ is at risk of being scrapped is at best ill-informed, at worst mischievous, and at no time during the many years when the future of the organ has been under consideration has scrapping it been suggested as an option. One option that remains very much open, and which is properly being reviewed by the present authorities following a detailed condition report that is in course of being undertaken, is that of the instrument remaining in the Hall, and the implications if it does.

 

If the decision them remains that it is in the best interests of the organ, and of the uses to which the hall is put, if a new home can be found; and if the previous bid by Sheffield Cathedral does in fact prove unsustainable (not yet certain); then the matter of finding an appropriate new home will be re-opened. Come what may, scrapping the organ is not, and has never at any stage been suggested as, an option by those genuinely in positions of responsibility in this matter.

 

It would be good, to save people’s enthusiasms and genuine concern being wasted, if this news were to be known as widely as possible.

 

Ian

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I hope Ian Bell will not mind if I re-post the message he sent to the orgue-l distribution list earlier today:

Although the petition itself doesn't seem to make the claims to which Ian Bell alluded.

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Although the petition itself doesn't seem to make the claims to which Ian Bell alluded.

Agreed but if you click on the website link at the top of the petition, it takes you to a flickr website that states:

 

The Cavaille-Coll organ in the Parr Hall in Warrington is currently under threat of removal as part of a modernisation programme.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/visionthing64...57614126360274/

 

From what I understand, the organist of St Marys Warrington approached the Parr Hall authorities/project team two years ago to investigate the possibility of moving the organ from the Hall to the church. They investigated the option, only to conclude that the organ would require major surgery to fit the church. The rest of the church recognised that they wouldn't be able to afford to maintain the organ, let alone pay for it to be moved and rebuilt. Therefore, the idea was dropped.

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Are there any current news regarding the fate of the Warrington CC organ? Yesterday, Peter van den Heuvel posted a message on his FB saying that the organ can be bought for a sum of 2 to 2.5 million euro, assuming you have a place large enough for it. It seems that Van den Heuvel has been commissioned to dismantle and sell this instrument (to the highest bidder?)

 

M

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Are there any current news regarding the fate of the Warrington CC organ? Yesterday, Peter van den Heuvel posted a message on his FB saying that the organ can be bought for a sum of 2 to 2.5 million euro, assuming you have a place large enough for it. It seems that Van den Heuvel has been commissioned to dismantle and sell this instrument (to the highest bidder?)

 

M

 

I would be interested in any information regarding this instrument, too.

 

Surely it would be a tragedy if this organ were lost to this country? Having said that, the price of between 1.6 and 2 million sterling does seem a little high - even allowing for restoration. I should have thought that several good builders could construct a fair copy from new, for the higher of these two figures.

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Just herd the proposed move of this historic organ to Sheffield Cathedral is not going to happen due to a lack of funds

 

Warrington Borough Council comments -

 

The council now plans to consult with all interested parties to discuss the future of the instrument so that it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

 

Kate Hannon (Lab, Orford), executive member for leisure, culture and communities, said:

'Whilst we are disappointed that following a lot of work and negotiation Sheffield are not in a position to take the organ, I think this gives us a real opportunity to reconsider the future of the instrument.

'We all want to find a solution where the organ is maintained and enjoyed by as many people as possible and to that end I have asked officers to review the current condition of the organ and establish a range of options for the future. This will be done by ensuring that we consult with all interested parties so that elected members can then determine the best way forward.'

 

The Very Reverend Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, commented:

'It would have been wonderful to bring this truly great organ to Sheffield, but unfortunately in the current economic climate it has simply proved impossible to raise the funds. On behalf of the Cathedral, I would like to place on record our thanks to colleagues in Warrington, who have done all they can to help us make the project the success it deserved to be.

 

Sadly, the situation has not improved in the last 11 months since this announcement was made by the Executive Member of WBC.

There has not yet been a meeting of interested parties to discuss the future of the instrument, whether it be in Warrington or elsewhere.

 

The USA promoter of the recent Twenty-fourth Annual Scotland and England Organ and Castle Tour wanted to include the Parr Hall in the itinerary, but there was a lack of response from WBC, so this was yet another missed opportunity to put this instrument on the map again.

 

At the Parr Hall Bi-Centenary Recital last year, to Commemorate the Birth of the Organ Builder, there was considerable interest that it would not be too long before another Recital was announced. Unfortunately, as much as we wanted this to happen, we were told that we would have to book the Hall as a Community user, and this was out of the question, purely from a financial point of view.

 

In spite of everything, the C-C Organ was still in Recital condition last year, but I am no expert on the subject and regard myself as a bystander, albeit, a very entusiastic bystander.

 

I can only suggest that Peter van den Heuvel's offer of the Warrington C-C Organ on his Facebook web-site could have been to raise interest in the instrument, and nothing more.

The van den Heuvel organ, built in the style of C-C was removed from the Duke's Hall of RAM last August and this is now for sale.

 

It saddens me to see that Fugue State Films have chosen to include the C-C Organ of Farnborough Abbey in their film to mark the organs of Aristide Cavaille-Coll. This is a fine instrument, but it is a Mutin, built after the Death of A C-C.

The 1870 C-C Organ which is presently in the Parr Hall would have been a fine example of the French Organ Builder to include in the film.

 

We have come a long way since the late 1960's when local Town Councillor Harold Edwards found that the Parr Hall Organ was to be sold to a local scrap-merchant for £105.

We can only hope that the present situation and uncertainty is resolved before too long.

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If there were a guaranteed good home for the Cavaille Coll, in the UKalbeit in somewhere other than the UK,would it not be better to let it go somewhere where it would be truly appreciated rather than let it moulder?

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If there were a guaranteed good home for the Cavaille Coll, in the UKalbeit in somewhere other than the UK,would it not be better to let it go somewhere where it would be truly appreciated rather than let it moulder?

 

I agree, Denis. This would be the answer, but not doing anything at all about the problem achieves precisely nothing.

We have a situation where no one wants the organ ----- the Warrington Borough Council want it out of the Parr Hall, but no one in the whole wide world seems to be interested in acquiring it.

This has been going on for approx. 5 years now and there is still no solution in sight.

 

In 2007 we were told by the WBC that there would be no more Recitals and that they weren't prepared to discuss it, end of story !

 

To give credit to the WBC, they do not want to let it moulder, far from it. They have sought the advice of Ian Bell and are keen to find another home for the organ, but if one cannot be found, what next ?

 

The C-C Organ is not a museum piece, as some would like it to be. It is a fine instrument and is worthy of being maintained AND heard.

 

Unfortunately for the organ, there has been a recent Heritage Lottery Fund Grant awarded to another worthy cause in the town. So I think it will be out of the question that there is any more money in the pot for the organ unless someone else takes it on.

 

I sincerely hope that those Members of the Mander site who are interested in the C-C Organ's future will be able to suggest a solution.

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... It saddens me to see that Fugue State Films have chosen to include the C-C Organ of Farnborough Abbey in their film to mark the organs of Aristide Cavaille-Coll. This is a fine instrument, but it is a Mutin, built after the Death of A C-C. ...

 

 

I believe this to be incorrect - although I am aware that John Rowntree asserts that it was built by Mutin. It appears that his reasons for doing so are as follows:

 

1) The date of installation is around six years after the death of Cavaillé-Coll. There is no reason why the organ might not have been situated in another church, prior to its arrival at Farnborough - there are plenty of instances of this happening to other instruments.

 

2) The frame of the Farnborough organ looks older than the rest of the instrument. Possibly. It may also have been knocked around a fair bit; it has been moved at least twice and, whilst the pipe-work, soundboards and other components must have been dismantled, it is feasible that the building frame was kept fully assembled and moved by hand - perhaps even 'shunted'. This may have contributed to any damage or perceived ageing effect of this part of the instrument.

 

3) The pipework is all numbered but more than one job number is used. I am not sure that anything could be construed from this. T.C. Lewis, aside from only using even numbers for jobs (perhaps to make his catalogue look more impressive), was not averse to assigning a new job number to an instrument which had received further work, subsequent to its original installation. He was not the only builder to do this.

 

Rowntree goes on to speculate that the instrument may have been a former salon organ from France and therefore Mutin may have simply built the instrument from a variety of second-hand parts. Rowntree then states:

 

4) However the organ case was clearly made new for Farnborough because it fits between the pillars with millimetres to spare. Again, possibly; however, it could simply have been luck - or that this site was chosen because it was one place (apart from the North Transept, where it resided from 1949-67) where it did fit. Its present position is not exactly a typical site for an organ, either in France or the UK. (Yes, I know that the orgue-du-chœur at S. Sulpice, Paris, is placed in a similar location - but this church is vast, and the organ is not directly behind the altar.)

 

The following information may be gleaned from the website: The organ was installed in 1905, but constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll & Company. Although it arrived at Farnborough after the death of Cavaillé-Coll, it bears his name rather than that of his son-in-law Mutin, and the workmanship is of a quality which identifies this model with the highest standards of the best days of that company. The Empress Eugénie, Comtesse (Countess) de Teba commissioned [an] instrument from Cavaillé-Coll, for the Abbey Church of St Michael, Farnborough.

 

A link to a photograph;

 

http://www.cavaille-...m_Above2_L.jpg.

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"I should have thought that several good builders could construct a fair copy from new, for the higher of these two figures" -are we talking UK builders?

 

I did not have a specific firm in mind. I would be interested to know whether these figures are reasonable.

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I believe this to be incorrect - although I am aware that John Rowntree asserts that it was built by Mutin.

 

Thank you pcnd5584. I can understand your reasoning and am not in a position to agree OR disagree with you.

 

I entered 'Charles Mutin' in the Mander Forums search engine and saw the topic 'Cavaille-Colls in Britain'

from which I quote: - Pierre Lauwers 27 Jan 2005.

'Mutin began using ACC's stocks, so that the first organs had the same quality. Later, the quality suffered because Mutin was more of a Manager than an artist. Claude Noisette de Crauzat does not list it among ACC's organs.

In 1984, he wrote 'the best conserved ACC organ in Britain was the one in Warrington, formerly built for a Mr Hopwood in Ketton Hall (correction, Bracewell Hall, Lancashire).

 

A further quote from John Pike Mander 27 Jan 2005 - 'I believe this (Farnborough) to be an early Mutin which is why it is so often attributed to CC.

 

Another quote from Guest_Roffensis 17 July 2005 - 'The organ is actually Mutin however'.

 

A quote from P F Baron 17 July 2005 - 'That is certainly true, and this organ definitely looks like a Mutin from the very first years of the XXth century.

For a short while, Mutin used the name-plate "A. Cavaille-Coll, a Paris", but with a wood substrate of lighter colour, as it is the case there (under Aristide, the substrate was dark, the name of the wood is "palissandre" (rosewood).

The shape of the stop-knobs and the stop labels (with a coloured ring round them) are also typically Mutin.'

 

I conclude with the National Pipe Organ Register (NPOR) [No 8452] 'Builders - 1905 Charles Mutin (Survey date 2004)

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Thank you pcnd5584. I can understand your reasoning and am not in a position to agree OR disagree with you. ...

 

Reply by PM.

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I agree, Denis. This would be the answer, but not doing anything at all about the problem achieves precisely nothing.

We have a situation where no one wants the organ ----- the Warrington Borough Council want it out of the Parr Hall, but no one in the whole wide world seems to be interested in acquiring it.

This has been going on for approx. 5 years now and there is still no solution in sight.

 

In 2007 we were told by the WBC that there would be no more Recitals and that they weren't prepared to discuss it, end of story !

 

To give credit to the WBC, they do not want to let it moulder, far from it. They have sought the advice of Ian Bell and are keen to find another home for the organ, but if one cannot be found, what next ?

 

The C-C Organ is not a museum piece, as some would like it to be. It is a fine instrument and is worthy of being maintained AND heard.

 

Unfortunately for the organ, there has been a recent Heritage Lottery Fund Grant awarded to another worthy cause in the town. So I think it will be out of the question that there is any more money in the pot for the organ unless someone else takes it on.

 

I sincerely hope that those Members of the Mander site who are interested in the C-C Organ's future will be able to suggest a solution.

 

 

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

 

 

Of course the Borough Council do not want the organ, because "culture" is now in the hands of a separate management "company" who wish to acquire charitable status.

 

From what I can make out, true art and true culture has now been sacrificed to more "commercial" interests.....comedians, pop concerts and general light entertainment, from which they hope to generate a healthy cash-flow and rid the coucil of financial burden. You can bet your last shilling (5p) that the ambition is to create an entertainment venue rather than a concert/exhibition hall, which will involve heavy carpets, drapes, a swish stage, spectacular lighting and all the other things found in profusion elsewhere. The average charge for these "spectaculars" seems to be about £25, which is a lot of money for what is generally second or third rate "culture," no matter how much one may appreciate Ken Dodd, (now getting past it), Adam Ant (long past his best) and all manner of has beens and nearly goods.

 

After all, there isn't a problem having municipal parks and gardens, if you get the local garden centre to organise voluntary "dig up and plant" festivals, where unpaid amateurs and retired folk also provide the spades, rakes, manpower and plants.

 

It's a sympton of a cash strapped economy I'm afraid, but whether they could ever make culture in Warrington, (or anywhere else), "self sufficient" is open to debate. What is certain, is that the economic climate will dictate a culture of popularism and artistic prostitution, which brings me back to C-C, and I'm not thinking Cavaille-Coll!

 

Best,

 

MM

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

 

After all, there isn't a problem having municipal parks and gardens, if you get the local garden centre to organise voluntary "dig up and plant" festivals, where unpaid amateurs and retired folk also provide the spades, rakes, manpower and plants.

 

It's a sympton of a cash strapped economy I'm afraid,

 

Nothink of the sort guv, it's called the Big Society!

 

On a serious note, as our civic concert halls's organs are generally underused and perhaps often underappreciated, how about if organ enthusiasts offered to put on regular "Big SOciety" concerts. You know, council provides the hall, organ enthusiasts tune the organ, provide the organist (volunteering of course) and the audience (free admission of course). Big society and all that.

 

Hmmm, thought that might not be a goer.

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Nothink of the sort guv, it's called the Big Society!

 

On a serious note, as our civic concert halls's organs are generally underused and perhaps often underappreciated, how about if organ enthusiasts offered to put on regular "Big SOciety" concerts. You know, council provides the hall, organ enthusiasts tune the organ, provide the organist (volunteering of course) and the audience (free admission of course). Big society and all that.

 

Hmmm, thought that might not be a goer.

 

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

 

 

This is how the theatre organ world has survived for years, the prinipal outlay being the fee for a professional organist. Others have often played for no fee at all.

 

The problem with public halls is that it is cheaper not to use them unless it's a big earner, and the usual way of putting people off is to claim that the local authority cannot show favouritism, and that the hall has to be booked at the appropriate cost.

 

Civil Servants are very good at stone-walling, and with listed buildings, they often let them get into such a state that they need to be sold but cannot find a buyer. Then it becomes a public danger and they pull them down. By doing nothing at all, they are achieveing two aims. Firstly, whatever the artefact is, it falls out of public perception. Secondly, the hope is that it will become a dangerous structure by the non-process of neglect, for which any local authority has the perfect excuse of being cash-strapped.

 

Warrington is not alone.....there are others such as Bradford, Newcastle (etc), where the organs languish in a state of disrepair. But for the sterling work of Prof Ian Tracey and Ian Wells, the organ at St Geroge's Hall, Liverpool would have gone the same way.

 

It may well be that the only effective way of getting anything done is to publicise, as much as possible, the existence of these important instruments, and to use whatever media outlets are available to us.

 

Best,

 

MM

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

 

 

This is how the theatre organ world has survived for years, the prinipal outlay being the fee for a professional organist. Others have often played for no fee at all.

 

The problem with public halls is that it is cheaper not to use them unless it's a big earner, and the usual way of putting people off is to claim that the local authority cannot show favouritism, and that the hall has to be booked at the appropriate cost.

 

Civil Servants are very good at stone-walling, and with listed buildings, they often let them get into such a state that they need to be sold but cannot find a buyer. Then it becomes a public danger and they pull them down. By doing nothing at all, they are achieveing two aims. Firstly, whatever the artefact is, it falls out of public perception. Secondly, the hope is that it will become a dangerous structure by the non-process of neglect, for which any local authority has the perfect excuse of being cash-strapped.

 

Warrington is not alone.....there are others such as Bradford, Newcastle (etc), where the organs languish in a state of disrepair. But for the sterling work of Prof Ian Tracey and Ian Wells, the organ at St Geroge's Hall, Liverpool would have gone the same way.

 

It may well be that the only effective way of getting anything done is to publicise, as much as possible, the existence of these important instruments, and to use whatever media outlets are available to us.

 

Best,

 

MM

Thanks MM, That is my aim, to publicise the instrument as much as I can, without upsetting those who have direct responsibily for it.

 

With the help of the Mander Forum, I hope to achieve something. It is pleasing to see that there is still enough interest being shown in this C-C Organ. I have had a great deal of support from Roger Fisher, Benjamin Saunders, Professor Ian Tracey and David Wells, Organ Builder. These four have done so much, dare I say it, just for the love of the instrument.

 

I can add to these, the names of Douglas R Carrington, a past Editor of The Organ magazine, and Gilbert Kennedy. Their interest in the organ more than 40 years ago was invaluable, and we must not forget this.

 

It is my hope that one day, the C-C Organ will have a Curator and sufficient funding for its renovation and upkeep, wherever that may be.

 

It was against all the odds that we were able to promote the Bi-Centenary Recital last year. This was very encouraging to me and for this reason alone, I think we should try to keep up the interest.

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