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Olton Friary, Solihull


handsoff
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I attended a funeral at this... http://www.oltonfriary.org.uk/ very attractive Roman Catholic church earlier in the week, my first visit there for some 20 years. The organ is in a gallery at the south-east end of the nave with just half-dozen display pipes on view. The deceased was an aunt of my wife's so it wouldn't have been appropriate to go poking around to find the console and have a look at the specification, there being no record on the NPOR.

 

On first arrival I was concerned to see a keyboard of the Roland variety on view but was happier when a very nice string stop came into use from the gallery. It sounded to be a modest 2 manual organ with a single pedal stop but wonder if any local members have any more information or knowledge.

 

I'll thank in advance for any replies as we're away for a couple of weeks from tomorrow.

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I attended a funeral at this... http://www.oltonfriary.org.uk/ very attractive Roman Catholic church earlier in the week, my first visit there for some 20 years. The organ is in a gallery at the south-east end of the nave with just half-dozen display pipes on view. The deceased was an aunt of my wife's so it wouldn't have been appropriate to go poking around to find the console and have a look at the specification, there being no record on the NPOR.

 

On first arrival I was concerned to see a keyboard of the Roland variety on view but was happier when a very nice string stop came into use from the gallery. It sounded to be a modest 2 manual organ with a single pedal stop but wonder if any local members have any more information or knowledge.

 

I'll thank in advance for any replies as we're away for a couple of weeks from tomorrow.

 

 

I know Olton Friary well - have played the organ many times - but have never played here for a service.

 

I suspect that the organ came a very long way down the list of priorities for the Sacred Heart Fathers who have an enormous building to maintain with, few numbers living in it.

In truth the instrument has always been a bit of a disappointment, it, certainly, didn't used to speak well into the church. The organ is much bigger than handsoff appeared to think and is a relatively large three manual. The pipework, as handsoff says is in a galley and I remember being told that the reason it didn't speak well was that the Choir organ faced into the Nave and the Great and Swell faced into what was the old monk's chapel to the right side of the Sanctuary. Tom Sheffield did some work on the instrument some time ago and, made a lot of improvements including, I think, rectifying this. I used it when I conducted Noyes Fludde in there in 2006 when it seemed much improved.

 

The console is in the monks chapel just off the Sanctuary and facing it. It's a three manual 'Compton type' console with stop tabs. I always had the feeling that the instrument was on it's last legs. Firstly, there was considerable delay in the action and a lot of the instrument didn't work and secondly, it was almost impossible to hear exactly the noise you were making. As I said it did seem much improved in 2006 and my organist thought that Tom Sheffield had done a good job in the work he did which, I suspect, was a couple of years beforehand.

 

I can't remember anything about the stop-list except that Tom inserted a new Trumpet on the Great organ - which had come from the Erdington Abbey rebuild of 1981/2 by Hawkins of Lichfield and had previously been in St. Stephen's church, West Ealing. I remember Tom telling me that he thought the trumpet, which sounded quite dreadful in the Abbey at Erdington, sounded fine in the Friary at Olton.

 

I suspect the main organ is used only for weddings, funerals and one of the Sunday morning Masses. The 'Roland' keyboard that Handsoff refers to will be used at the 'Youth Mass' at 6pm on a Sunday which is the, seemingly, main Mass of the day, is hugely popular and attended by hundreds of teenagers!

 

They have a variety of organists playing there who range from extremely competent (Cambridge Organ Scholar - FRCO!) to the embarrassing! Enough said!

 

As for a stop list I can't help!

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I know Olton Friary well - have played the organ many times - but have never played here for a service.

 

I suspect that the organ came a very long way down the list of priorities for the Sacred Heart Fathers who have an enormous building to maintain with, few numbers living in it.

 

In truth the instrument has always been a bit of a disappointment, it, certainly, didn't used to speak well into the church. The organ is much bigger than handsoff appeared to think and is a relatively large three manual. The pipework, as handsoff says is in a galley and I remember being told that the reason it didn't speak well was that the Choir organ faced into the Nave and the Great and Swell faced into what was the old monk's chapel to the right side of the Sanctuary. Tom Sheffield did some work on the instrument some time ago and, made a lot of improvements including, I think, rectifying this. I used it when I conducted Noyes Fludde in there in 2006 when it seemed much improved.

 

The console is in the monks chapel just off the Sanctuary and facing it. It's a three manual 'Compton type' console with stop tabs. I always had the feeling that the instrument was on it's last legs. Firstly, there was considerable delay in the action and a lot of the instrument didn't work and secondly, it was almost impossible to hear exactly the noise you were making. As I said it did seem much improved in 2006 and my organist thought that Tom Sheffield had done a good job in the work he did which, I suspect, was a couple of years beforehand.

 

I can't remember anything about the stop-list except that Tom inserted a new Trumpet on the Great organ - which had come from the Erdington Abbey rebuild of 1981/2 by Hawkins of Lichfield and had previously been in St. Stephen's church, West Ealing. I remember Tom telling me that he thought the trumpet, which sounded quite dreadful in the Abbey at Erdington, sounded fine in the Friary at Olton.

 

I suspect the main organ is used only for weddings, funerals and one of the Sunday morning Masses. The 'Roland' keyboard that Handsoff refers to will be used at the 'Youth Mass' at 6pm on a Sunday which is the, seemingly, main Mass of the day, is hugely popular and attended by hundreds of teenagers!

 

They have a variety of organists playing there who range from extremely competent (Cambridge Organ Scholar - FRCO!) to the embarrassing! Enough said!

 

As for a stop list I can't help!

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I know Olton Friary well - have played the organ many times - but have never played here for a service.

 

I suspect that the organ came a very long way down the list of priorities for the Sacred Heart Fathers who have an enormous building to maintain with, few numbers living in it.

 

In truth the instrument has always been a bit of a disappointment, it, certainly, didn't used to speak well into the church. The organ is much bigger than handsoff appeared to think and is a relatively large three manual. The pipework, as handsoff says is in a galley and I remember being told that the reason it didn't speak well was that the Choir organ faced into the Nave and the Great and Swell faced into what was the old monk's chapel to the right side of the Sanctuary. Tom Sheffield did some work on the instrument some time ago and, made a lot of improvements including, I think, rectifying this. I used it when I conducted Noyes Fludde in there in 2006 when it seemed much improved.

 

The console is in the monks chapel just off the Sanctuary and facing it. It's a three manual 'Compton type' console with stop tabs. I always had the feeling that the instrument was on it's last legs. Firstly, there was considerable delay in the action and a lot of the instrument didn't work and secondly, it was almost impossible to hear exactly the noise you were making. As I said it did seem much improved in 2006 and my organist thought that Tom Sheffield had done a good job in the work he did which, I suspect, was a couple of years beforehand.

 

I can't remember anything about the stop-list except that Tom inserted a new Trumpet on the Great organ - which had come from the Erdington Abbey rebuild of 1981/2 by Hawkins of Lichfield and had previously been in St. Stephen's church, West Ealing. I remember Tom telling me that he thought the trumpet, which sounded quite dreadful in the Abbey at Erdington, sounded fine in the Friary at Olton.

 

I suspect the main organ is used only for weddings, funerals and one of the Sunday morning Masses. The 'Roland' keyboard that Handsoff refers to will be used at the 'Youth Mass' at 6pm on a Sunday which is the, seemingly, main Mass of the day, is hugely popular and attended by hundreds of teenagers!

 

They have a variety of organists playing there who range from extremely competent (Cambridge Organ Scholar - FRCO!) to the embarrassing! Enough said!

 

As for a stop list I can't help!

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Thank you very much SL, that's really interesting. It just shows that one shouldn't make assumptions based on a single hearing! I did get the impression that the organist on this occasion was a perfectly competent keyboard player but maybe not a player used to using the pedals as the "single pedal stop" I heard was used only infrequently and not at all in the hymns or post-service voluntaries. There were no registration changes between verses of the hymns and only 8' stops were used on the manuals; hence my incorrect impression of the organ's size and colours.

 

My wife does have connections with the establishment in that both her parents are interred in the adjoining cemetery so I may enquire if it might be possible to pay a private visit to see and perhaps play the organ.

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My wife does have connections with the establishment in that both her parents are interred in the adjoining cemetery so I may enquire if it might be possible to pay a private visit to see and perhaps play the organ.

 

PM sent!

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