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Neil Crawford

St. George's Edgbaston Birmingham

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Yet another sad tale of a church with a very fine organ

to be replaced with a digital organ. The organ was restored in 1976 and GTB gave the opening recital.

the specification ,please see the following link:-

 

Organ Specification

 

 

the organ has unfortunately has been ciphering due to damage done by a previous director of music to the church and cost needed to restore is over £200,000 which of the course the church does not have.

 

 

java script:emoticon(':lol:')

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Guest Andrew Butler
I bet if it were the church roof they'd raise it...

 

 

But surely that would cost even more - would raising the roof not entail increasing the height of the walls as well? :lol:

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Yet another sad tale of a church with a very fine organ

to be replaced with a digital organ. The organ was restored in 1976 and GTB gave the opening recital.

the specification ,please see the following link:-

 

Organ Specification

the organ has unfortunately has been ciphering due to damage done by a previous director of music to the church and  cost needed to restore is over £200,000 which of the course the church does not have.

java script:emoticon(':lol:')

 

Three Open Diapasons on the Great plus a Sifflote...? :P

 

Someone hoping to 'add brightness' no doubt. :lol:

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the organ has unfortunately has been ciphering due to damage done by a previous director of music to the church

 

more detail please?

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the organ has unfortunately has been ciphering due to damage done by a previous director of music to the church

 

more detail please?

 

I copy the following from the St. George's website

 

"The 1980s saw considerable physical and tonal reorganisation, and the addition of much second-hand pipework from St Mark's Cheatham Hill, Manchester , Erdington parish church, Christ Church, Oxford and Birmingham Town Hall, among other sources. This was done by the then organist, David Bruce-Payne, with the assistance of some knowledgeable students. In 1996-8 the electrical switch gear was replaced by a solid-state system, new manual keyboards were fitted, and a 32' Contra Trombone was added, by David Gallichan"

 

The organ is in a mess, £200,000 to restore an organ rebuilt in 1975!

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second-hand pipework from ... Christ Church, Oxford

Ah. Someone was asking recently about where that might have gone (apart from the bottom 12 notes of the 32ft which are on the Grove organ at Tewkesbury).

 

Paul

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more detail please?

 

I copy the following from the St. George's website

 

"The 1980s saw considerable physical and tonal reorganisation, and the addition of much second-hand pipework from St Mark's Cheatham Hill, Manchester , Erdington parish church, Christ Church, Oxford and Birmingham Town Hall, among other sources. This was done by the then organist, David Bruce-Payne, with the assistance of some knowledgeable students. In 1996-8 the electrical switch gear was replaced by a solid-state system, new manual keyboards were fitted, and a 32' Contra Trombone was added, by David Gallichan"

 

The organ is in a mess, £200,000 to restore an organ rebuilt in 1975!

 

 

Where were the Diocesan Organ Advisors allowing the all this work to happen?

 

FF

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Good question. I don't know why no one questioned what was going on!

I attended the opening organ recital in 1976 which GTB gave and the organ sounded superb.

The organ in its present state is almost unplayable, it cipher's quite a lot.

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Ah.  Someone was asking recently about where that might have gone (apart from the bottom 12 notes of the 32ft which are on the Grove organ at Tewkesbury).

 

Paul

 

 

Yes - I was.

 

So now I know....

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Very sad, if all as reported above. I used to sing there with school chapel choir for concerts and carol services in the 1980s, and as a Roman Catholic, this was my first experience of the 9 Lessons phenomenon. This was also the first time I'd ever seen an organ with THREE keyboards...can still remember wondering what could possibly be the need for the third...

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Guest Andrew Butler
Very sad, if all as reported above. I used to sing there with school chapel choir for concerts and carol services in the 1980s, and as a Roman Catholic, this was my first experience of the 9 Lessons phenomenon. This was also the first time I'd ever seen an organ with THREE keyboards...can still remember wondering what could possibly be the need for the third...

 

Contrabordun from the ssg forum i take it? fancy seeing you here! asb

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Ah.  Someone was asking recently about where that might have gone (apart from the bottom 12 notes of the 32ft which are on the Grove organ at Tewkesbury).

 

Paul

 

 

I thought it was only 5 or 6 pipes from Christ Church Cathedral on the Grove at Tewkesbury. The local army were called in to errect them at the time. They have never ever spoken. For some reason the ridiculous convoluted wind system there prohibits this, as I understand it.

 

An interesting story is connected with these. Michael Peterson was telling me that for some time they were stowed down the side of the south aisle, and one American lady came along and thought they were neolithic coffins. Americans, in general, are so gullible aren't they ? and not over blessed with grey matter. How could a body be squeezed into something only about 15" wide, if that.

 

Regards M.S.

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Very sad, if all as reported above. I used to sing there with school chapel choir for concerts and carol services in the 1980s, and as a Roman Catholic, this was my first experience of the 9 Lessons phenomenon. This was also the first time I'd ever seen an organ with THREE keyboards...can still remember wondering what could possibly be the need for the third...

 

 

Yes, I used to be at Lordswood School and we had evening carol service at St. George's. I was also impressed at an early age by the organ.

 

When George Thalben Ball gave the opening recital he refused to use the new organ bench which he found too high. an old shorter organ bench was used

proped up with bricks!

 

I hope someone out there will offer to the church to buy the organ as I can see it

sold off in parts as it falls further into disrepair.

I gather the church may be looking at a Phoinex or Copeman hart as the replacement.

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I thought it was only 5 or 6 pipes from Christ Church Cathedral on the Grove at Tewkesbury.

Yes, you're right - it's five. And a photo I saw of them recently seemed to show a damaged lip on one of them.

 

Paul

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Yet another sad tale of a church with a very fine organ

to be replaced with a digital organ. The organ was restored in 1976 and GTB gave the opening recital.

the specification ,please see the following link:-

 

Organ Specification

the organ has unfortunately has been ciphering due to damage done by a previous director of music to the church and  cost needed to restore is over £200,000 which of the course the church does not have.

java script:emoticon(':)')

 

This is indeed a great pity.

 

Apart from preferring the GO reeds to be independent (and fitting an ignition-style ventil to the Tuba) on paper it appears only to need restoration.

 

Is this the only quote which the church authorities have obtained? It seems surprising that it was so badly damaged by a previous member of staff that the cost of restoration is likely to be so high.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
This is indeed a great pity.

 

Apart from preferring the GO reeds to be independent (and fitting an ignition-style ventil to the Tuba) on paper it appears only to need restoration.

 

Is this the only quote which the church authorities have obtained? It seems surprising that it was so badly damaged by a previous member of staff that the cost of restoration is likely to be so high.

 

 

My experience with these things is that if a new appointee doesn't like an instrument, that fact alone almost invariably guarantees that it is always described in print as well nigh unplayable. I could give you plenty of examples of this...mind you we all could.

 

I was once told that I had put too small a figure down on a proposal for getting an organ back into playable condition and I gave the following story as my answer.

 

Scenario:

Your roof leaks. You have puddles appearing inside the house.

 

Builder no. 1 says

'Some tiles have slipped'. He can go up on a ladder and refix them. Cost £200. Leak will stop. Roof ought to be sound for a few more years without trouble.

 

Builder no.2 says

'Some tiles have slipped, the nails are obviously rusting through, I'll strip the roof and relay them all. Scaffolding etc. Cost £2,000.' Your leak will stop, roof ought to be sound for another ten to twenty years.

 

Builder no.3 says

'We've inspected from the inside, some of your rafters are suspect, so in order to do a lasting job, the whole roof must come off. Work will take a month and there will need to be scaffolding for all that time plus a large amount of new material. Cost £12,000+.'

 

Which builder is right?

The surprising answer is they all are! The amount you spend always has to be determined on how long you want the job to last and (much more critically) how much you have available to spend.

 

Another builder might well quote for repairing faults, cleaning chests and underaction etc. at St.George's Edgebaston and put in an equally sensible quote for less than £50k. Now, supposing you don't like the sound of your organ anyway, even if everything 'works' - good voicers are not cheap, but an expert voicer can often turn your sow's ear into something far more pleasant. Most of the best organs in the world have stops that have been re-worked to their advantage over the years.

 

I should add, most of the best organs in the world also cypher from time to time... it's usually only dirt or a lazy spring!

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Absolutely right, Paul. Many, many examples in Belgium!

 

"Beyond repair", etc, Kegelladen? But Heer Pastoor, nobody can fix

such a thing anymore today, you need a new organ.

Sometimes it was even enough to decrete an organ was "decadent in style" to destroy it completely -while still in good condition-!

 

In french one says " He who wants to drawn his dog says it has got the rage".

 

Pierre

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Absolutely right, Paul. Many, many examples in Belgium!

 

"Beyond repair", etc, Kegelladen? But Heer Pastoor, nobody can fix

such a thing anymore today, you need a new organ.

Sometimes it was even enough to decrete an organ was "decadent in style" to destroy it completely -while still in good condition-!

 

In french one says " He who wants to drawn his dog says it has got the rage".

 

Pierre

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Where Organs are concerned its a question of priorities. One has to take into account the cost involved and if it is going to be possible to raise and amount like 200.000 St georges is no longer a rich Parish and theres just isnt that many Church Goers on the electoral role there. To make matters worst there is St Augustines Church where Roy Massey was Organist . Also in need of a major rebuild at some considerable expense. I dont know why the Church has opted for digital this is just taking the easy way out. I don't see why the Church does not obtain 5 different quotes which they have to do if they want to get help from the Lottery . Or have the work done in stages. In St Georges case it would be the soundboards and actions windchests which require attention. The Console was refurbished at some considerable expense some years ago. That was a waste of time as the actions then were in a poor state. In aadition to this a great big 32 Contra Trombone was put on by the previous Director of Music which wasnt really neccesary for a building the size of St Georges. My advice get a professional fund raising expert in to exhaust all ways of raising the require funds to save this fine Organ.

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Where Organs are concerned its a question of priorities.  One has to take into account the cost involved and if it is going to be possible to raise and amount like 200.000  St georges is no longer a rich Parish and theres just isnt that many Church Goers on the electoral role there.  To make matters worst there is St Augustines Church where Roy Massey was Organist .  Also in need of a major rebuild at some considerable expense.    I dont know why the Church has opted for digital this is just taking the easy way out.  I don't see why the Church does not obtain 5 different quotes which they have to do if they want to get help from the Lottery .  Or have the work done in stages.  In St Georges case it would  be the soundboards and actions windchests which require attention.  The Console was refurbished at some considerable expense some years ago.  That was a waste of time as the actions then were in a poor state.  In aadition to this a great big 32 Contra Trombone was put on by the previous Director of Music which wasnt really neccesary for a building the size of St Georges.    My advice  get a professional fund raising  expert in to exhaust all ways of raising the require funds to save this fine Organ.

 

 

Unfortunately St. Georges had no choice, the organ is cyphering very badly

and it was a waste of time trying to patch the organ, no way a restoration could be

be done in stages .The church do not have £200,000 and noway the Lottery will give money to pipe organ restorations anymore. (this is what I gather)

 

I agree with Ronald, Why on earth did the director of music have a 32 ft reed installed with the actions in a poor condition? ......Idiot!!

I understand st. georges will have a large 4 manual pheonix to be installed

before the end of the year.

 

We at St. Augustine's (just up the road) are also facing a problem with our much loved three manual Hill / Nicholson instrument which is playable but the electrics

are in a fairly bad condition. All the soundboards need replacing and some pipework are not sounding.

The blower has just been inspected and its in a bad condition. we need £140,000 plus to rebuild which we do not have! So we will may go the same route.

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Unfortunately St. Georges had no choice, the organ is cyphering very badly

and it was a waste of time trying to patch the organ, no way a restoration could be

be done in stages .The church do not have £200,000 and noway the Lottery will give money to pipe organ restorations anymore. (this is what I gather)

 

I'm not sure this is true - I'm trying to summon the courage to apply for lottery funding myself

 

 

We at St. Augustine's (just up the road) are also facing a problem with our much loved three manual Hill / Nicholson instrument which is playable but the electrics

are in a fairly bad condition. All the soundboards need replacing and some pipework  are not sounding.

The blower has just been inspected and its in a bad condition. we need £140,000 plus to rebuild which we do not have!  So we will may go the same route.

 

I sympathise - I'm in the same boat. New blower, humidifier, all leatherwork (wind and actions), all electrics need replacing, plus the whole thing needs a bloody good clean. Some of the console electrics are, apparently, Skinner from about 1935, all installed in 1956, untouched since.

 

Unfortunately, the state of the organ reflects the state of the church, also built in 1956, and has been totally untouched and unloved since.

 

It's not going without a fight though.

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