We recently had the pleasure of meeting Reverend John Collins who was brought to Bicester by his daughter to choose his first home practice instrument.
During our meeting I learnt that John had done his undergraduate training at Kings College Cambridge where he was student during World War II. He had played the organ there and for much of his life thereafter but had now not played for 7 years.
Looking for an easier option for organ practice
Now living with his family in the Cotswolds, they had decided it would be nice to give their father an easier practice solution, as the nearby church was cold and still mainly closed due to Covid restrictions. We made an appointment late morning to allow for John to have a gentle start to the day so we knew we were expecting a relatively senior citizen. For some reason I had in my mind John was 90.
John made his way to the bench of a used Jubileum 232 which they had seen advertised on our website. He brought out some music and we soon got chatting about his interest in the organ. John was at Kings when Harold Darke was there and it was clear he knew him well from those days.
I only know of Darke for his wonderful setting of In the Bleak Mid Winter and apparently he was a very proficient Bach interpreter too.
John’s career eventually took him to be the priest in charge at Holy Trinity Brompton Road, which is of course renowned for its musical repertoire and choir.
Take a virtual tour of our showroom above (The Jubileum 232 not included but lots of other Viscount instruments on display).
A perfect organ for home practice
John decided the Jubileum organ was perfect for his home practice needs. As he was leaving, I made a small joke that he was not our oldest customer who I believe is 92. John then confirmed that he was actually now over 95, so I was pleased to confirm that this particular honour had now passed to him and hence this small blog.
It goes to confirm that the organ keeps us young and one is never too old to start again as John is now doing.
We made an agreement that when he has got his Bach playing back in good fettle I will pop over to his home for a private recital. I added that with a bit of luck there will be a centenary recital too. One only has to look to Francis Jackson, now 102 for example (see “Francis Jackson at 100 years young“).
Are you looking for a digital home practice organ? Have a look at some of these articles:
- Home Practice Organs: Has a luxury become a necessity?
- Ten tips for buying a digital organ
- Delivery of a digital home practice organ
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.