It is always nice to hear from from our church organ customers on occasions. A few weeks ago I received a lovely message from John Hay from St Mark’s Church in Barnet Vale, where we had installed a Viscount Envoy 33-DFV in March 2019.
The email also helped me resolve a little mystery! I had seen many videos during lockdown with Martyn Noble playing an Envoy 33-DFV organ but of course did not know where it was recorded.
A great testimonial from the customer
John wrote in his email that he thought we would be interested to know how they were getting on with the Viscount Envoy Organ. He then continued by giving us this glowing testimonial on the instrument.
The Organ has been very well received by all our Organists who play for us and also the congregation. It is a fantastic instrument and an excellent replacement for our now dismantled and removed Pipe Organ.
It is incredibly versatile and durable as well as looking so in keeping with traditional Church Organs. There have been a number of occasions when we have had to use the long-awaited recording facilities which has been a lifeline in the time of scarce supply of Organists and Organ Scholars.
John Hay, Churchwarden, St Mark’s Church, Barnet Vale
John then proceeded to tell me how, during the recent lockdown, the organ had been played regularly by Martyn Noble (Sub-Organist at H.M. Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace). They had been able to allow access to the Church so he could practice and create his online videos without disruption or interruption (you can see all his videos using the Viscount organ on his YouTube page).
Below is one of the videos that Martyn recorded at St Mark’s Church.
John was delighted that Martyn was able to use the organ during this difficult period. And that it had been put to good use and not stood idle for the 15 weeks that the Church had to remain closed during the Pandemic. Luckily they were permitted to use the Church in this way as Martyn was able to work alone under the guidelines.
Help needed from our Organ Community!
During this period, after receiving an email, the church also discovered that a little known Composer, William Ralph Driffill was Organist at St Mark’s from 1916 till his death in 1922. It will be the Centenary of his death on 24th April 2022 , which happens to be a Sunday and the plan is to hold some sort of event to mark that occasion, hopefully a concert or Recital with his music being performed.
Do you know of Driffill’s music, or anyone interested in it? John noted that he is probably better known on the continent? We would love to hear from you if you have any information about William Driffill. We’ll pass on any information that you might have to John and the church.
Although it is still some time away we hope to be involved in some way in celebrating this Centenary. Maybe there will be a suitable guest organist playing a piece or in some other way which we will agree at a later date.
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.
Martin White says
There is a good entry on Driffield in A Directory of Composers for Organ, with titles and publishers