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Moving Organs


David Coram
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Of the last 6 rebuilds (small tracker jobs, up to 20 stops) I have worked on, 5 have involved moving the organ to a more musically advantageous location, whether this means back to the west end, one bay west or just forward a few inches. One is still under discussion but seems set to involve the construction of a new west end gallery.

 

Is this an isolated hotspot, or is this sort of thing happening all over? Would be interested to hear other experiences of organ moving, particularly from the player's perspective.

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Of the last 6 rebuilds (small tracker jobs, up to 20 stops) I have worked on, 5 have involved moving the organ to a more musically advantageous location, whether this means back to the west end, one bay west or just forward a few inches.  One is still under discussion but seems set to involve the construction of a new west end gallery.

 

Is this an isolated hotspot, or is this sort of thing happening all over?  Would be interested to hear other experiences of organ moving, particularly from the player's perspective.

 

There's one near me hopefully about to go into a west gallery from a chancel 'hole' - a good local builder and open minded incumbent make all the difference. 'Played there last week for a wedding and it will certainly be better than the current (temporary) electronic parked by the chancel steps.

 

AJJ

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There's one near me hopefully about to go into a west gallery from a chancel 'hole' - a good local builder and open minded incumbent make all the difference. 'Played there last week for a wedding and it will certainly be better than the current (temporary) electronic parked by the chancel steps.

 

AJJ

Not St Peter's Little Cheverell by any chance?

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A word of caution, though I'm far from sympathetic...

 

The organ I first learnt upon is a little known, and grossly undersetimated, 3M Binns (extended from earlier 2M Nicolson) in Tetbury Parish Church (Gloucestershire). It really is a very fine beast, few mechanical aids, but fabulous great chorus including one of the finest 3-rank mixtures imaginable.

 

During the time that I grew up as a chorister, and later effectively organ scholar, with this instrument it occupied a positition in the south-east of the church. In the late 1970's it was rebuilt and relocated to the west gallery - indisputably a better position for the organ to be heard to its full effect. However, a significant proportion of the cost of the project arose from the decision to relocate the organ - and it has never recovered from it. With hindsight, if the same funds had been allocated to contracting a better builder to renovate the instrument in its existing location it would have been money better spent.

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That's a sad situation. Quality has to come first. The cost of moving should be absolutely minimal. All the instances I've mentioned have involved the organ being dismantled down to the building frame - putting it back up in a different place doesn't really amount to much assuming the platform and electrical work is provided.

 

I played Tetbury once and was very impressed. I hope it's faring better.

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