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Organist’s space: events, organ travels and player stories

Quiz Winner John Alexander from Luton

Viscount Organs quiz winner

This year we ran an extensive three month competition to introduce more people to the sound of digital church organs. We developed a Quiz that tested the players as to whether they could identify specific clips of music as a pipe organ or a digital organ. We had a phenomenal result in terms of the number of people who participated and had great fun taking part. We had over +1000 formal entries into the draw and more than 1500 overall take part. (You had the option to just play for fun, or provide your email address to be entered into the draw).

The winner would receive one of our home instruments – the Envoy 35-F pictured below.

Viscount Envoy 35-F

And the winner is…

I had the very pleasurable task of picking up the phone to call a mobile number submitted by one of the many entrants who had scored 10/10 in our online quiz.

I was terribly excited – but anxious! Would they pick-up, was the number correct? I was also a little nervous as I had never given away such a significant prize before in my life. The first call went to voicemail and I bottled out of leaving a message and the second call a few hours later also went to the mail box. I was determined such an important breaking of news was to be done in person so I hung up.  A few hours later I got a call back so it took a few moments to realise I had the lucky winner on the other end of the line so I was now caught lost for words!

I couldn’t be happier about who won the prize

I have to confess, secretly I was hoping that we would get a winner at the younger end of the age range as we so urgently need youngsters to engage with the instrument, but I had not anticipated a young winner of such generosity.

Meet John Alexander from Luton (pictured below). He is just 26 and having won the instrument you see him playing his immediate reaction was to give it to Stopsley Parish Church,where he is the organist.

John Alexander, Luton, Viscount Organs

John Alexander, the 2016 Viscount Organ Quiz competition winner, playing his winning organ.

A PCC meeting has already approved this move so all that now remains is a faculty application for the installation to proceed.

On July 8th, John came to Bicester with his father David to give the organ a once over. You see the happy duo pictured below but father David is also ‘Father David’, the priest in charge at Stopsley so we could not be more delighted that this instrument is so soon a second gift from this lucky winner to his local community.  This set of coincidences really warms the heart and reassures us that there is amazing goodness out there close at hand.

Viscount Organs Quiz winner

John and his Dad – Father David Alexander

We are delighted also that the chief executive of the Royal College of Organists, Philip Meaden, has agreed to make a presentation of this instrument to the winner so we will bring you news later in the year of this ceremony and the final details of the installation in St Thomas Church Stopsley.

St Thomas Stopsley Church

St Thomas Stopsley Church, at night

A very big thank you to everyone who took part in the competition and also shared it with their friends and family through Facebook.

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I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.