After a very busy week it is nice to look forward to catching up with some private work and time at the week end as most often we do, but just occasionally the weekend piece is interrupted by the need for help which just cannot be ignored. July the 22nd 2017 was one such a day. At 7.30am I noticed a post on our forum advising us that an Envoy 35-F needed for a wedding in 7 hours time needed repair and another wedding was scheduled for the next day.
At this stage of the game I did not know where the instrument was located or how to get in touch with the customer as no contact details had been left on the post so I headed off to the office to see if there was a message on our answerphone.
Organ Repair Service can require travelling long distances
On the way in I contacted Peter to confirm where the spares needed could be found and learnt that the customer was located in Llanaber 2 miles north of Barmouth in North Wales, only 180 miles from Bicester! So while a very long drive as the picture shows a destination and church very much worth visiting.
Spares on board, I set off for the church. M40 M42 M6 and M54 were all clear and covered at speed but once past the A5 the roads are very much limited to 50 miles an hour taking one through some magnificent scenery. The final stretch taking one along the north shore of the Barmouth Estuary before dropping down into Barmouth itself.
St Mary and St Bodfan Church, Llanaber
St Mary and St Bodfan has one of the most beautiful of any church setting being perhaps no more than 100 yards from the beach. A grade I listed church the interior delights as well with a magnificent beamed roof above the chance whilst the ceiling above the sanctuary is panelled and its bosses and carvings picked out in gilt. The nave is divided on either side into five arcades. They show the transition from Norman architecture to the Early English Style. The piers are Norman in character with foliated capitals from which spring pointed arches. The four clerestory windows on either side of the nave are examples of Early English lancets.
After 15 minutes on site the organ was back in action. The problem was a failure on the motherboard which was easily replaced. The main CPU card was reinstalled and the pre-recorded music for Sundays wedding was recovered. This was very helpful as this was a piece especially composed for the occasion and not yet written down.
Owain Pritchard the organist was delighted if not a little amazed that from his contact late on Friday evening his instrument was repaired by 12.45 the following day. Weddings are a very special event in all our lives and for many they are a once in a lifetime event so the obligation to ensure our organs are ready for action is especially important. The call to achieve this for 2 weddings that weekend was compelling. It was good to know as I drove home that somewhere near my re-joining the M54 the 3.00pm wedding was just underway.
As I had expected the church and its unusually large graveyard has the most lovely outlook to sea and if one has to select a final resting place I can imagine that this one will be especially comforting to the relatives of those who choose to lie there in peace.
Video from St Mary and St Bodfan
Finally you can watch this video I found on YouTube from the church.
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.
Judith Anderson says
I have an old chapel organ that I bought decades ago from an auction in Gloucester. As I am moving house I am considering what to do with it. I suspect that the bellows need attention so I haven’t played it for ages for fear of damaging them. An auction house in Cardiff told me it’s worth next to nothing but I love it. Is there any chance you could advise? I could send you a photo. I live in Cardiff
David Mason says
Judith, To advise I need to see a photo to understand the work involved to dismantle and re build in a new location. Sadly the auction house will not be far wrong unless it is a very pretty looking instrument when there is additional appeal/value in the case.
Julius Maxwell says
A remote Church in Nigerian village own a 3 manual Unico 400 Vicount Organ that needs repair. I visited the organ my self and saw the Organ in ruine. the donor of the organ have been addviced to replace the organ with a new Rodgers Organ but, I want the organ part to be supplied by the manufacturer. Local worshipers come from distance villages just to come and listing to the organ. I need urgent reply please.
David Mason says
Hello Julius, Can you advise in more detail what is wrong with the instrument? Regards David
Michael Joseph Greatrex says
I have a Mason & Hamlin organ with 14 stops. The ivory stop names are missing from 8 stops. Get I get them anywhere please ?
David Mason says
Hi Michael, I suggest you ask Renatus who are very proficient at many organ parts. Here is their web site.
http://www.renatus.co.uk/organ_home.php Regards David