In 2016 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. In July last year I had the happy job of ringing John Alexander and telling him his name had been drawn from a group of quiz entries that had managed to correctly identify the 10 organ excerpt as played on either digital or pipe organs. You can read more in an earlier blog post about the prize winner here.
In an amazing gesture of kindness John immediately donated the organ to his local church St Thomas Stopsley, near Luton. So delivery did not take place until a faculty was granted. This came through in November last year and so we were able to install the organ just before Christmas on 4 speakers and a sub bass bin which the church paid for.
Early in 2017 we arranged for a small formal presentation ceremony to take place. This was most kindly carried out by Philip Meaden Chief executive of the Royal College of Organists.
We clearly had not expected this prize to end up in a church where it is available for many to hear and enjoy. But in so doing it joins a number of other organs we hope will be benefit many more in years to come.
In addition to this Envoy we have made long term loans of 5 instruments to the St Paul’s Organ Outreach Project. Just before Christmas 3 of these instruments have found their way to schools in East London where they will be used to provide teaching instruments at locations that would not otherwise put organ on the school curriculum.
So on February 9th at 5.30 a small group gathered for a short service of dedication. The organ played by John accompanied the Hymn Praise my Soul and David Alexander the priest read the 150th psalm which of course includes those most appropriate lines ‘Let everything that hath breath Praise the Lord’
Philip then presented John with the small certificate to mark the event and his generosity donating the organ to his 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.