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A New Organ in North Devon


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I've just returned from a holiday in the Witheridge area of North Devon and on 3 previous visits watched with interest the evolution of the organ in St John the Baptist's Church in the village.


This year saw the new organ in place and fully operational; see http://www.npor.org.uk/NPORView.html?RI=M00012

There is one slight correction to the stop list; the Great Organ mixture is a 3 rank not 2 as shown.


Before visiting the area I contacted the church through their website and very quickly received a warm invitation from the organist to examine and play the organ. On the day my wife and I were given a tour of the 2 cases and the innards and a quick demonstration of some of the features before being let loose on it, first with the organist walking around the church to enable him to hear it from a variety of positions and then with an empty church for as long as I wished. It was interesting to see a piece of paper from the original Dicker organ signed by the builder which was found inside and is now framed inside the chancel case. Some 60% of the organ has used the old pipes with judicious extension to allow for the greater manual and pedal compass compared to the original.


The console is very comfortable and highly intuitive to use even for me used to a 1m + p tracker with no playing aids. The right-hand "swell" pedal is actually a crescendo pedal for the whole organ with 4 different settings available. The sound is quite magnificent with a huge range of tonal possibilities which I fully explored at until Mrs H. suggested that 90 minutes was quite enough for her...


This organ is similar in concept to the new instrument in the Guild Chapel, Stratford-upon-Avon but with a lot more space available in the organ chamber.


I have added a pair of photographs my wife took, without my knowing, on a very basic digital camera and which I'm afraid aren't very sharp but show the scene albeit with me in them. The first shows the console reasonably well and...









the second the chancel case.






There has already been a successful concert season including organists Martyn Noble and Andrew Millington and more are planned for next year. In the meantime if members are in the area I am sure that an approach such as I made would result in an equally warm and friendly response.

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