An Installation by Anthony Bogdan Organs Ltd
The Parish Church of The Holy Trinity, Balsham, the original building was built two hundred years before the present building which dates back to 1014
As we have already reported the present church dates from the from mid 1200 and the ordering of the church is mid 1400s, Some scholars believe it was at the behest of Hugh of Balsham, Bishop of Ely and founder of the oldest Cambridge College, Peterhouse.
The Bishop had a residence here as it was a convenient stage on the journey between London and Ely which explains the size and the importance of the Church.
Nowadays it houses a small two manual Walker pipe organ which is not big or loud enough, for the vast nave. The church is effectively cut in to two as the rood screen is glazed with Perspex. The glazing continues from the top of the screen to the height of the chancel arch.
Richard had long telephone discussions with Anthony Bogdan Organs. Anthony sugested the swell and great divisions were to be sited on the screen with the choir and pedal divisions placed behind the pipe font on the north aisleA Gem electronic organ was installed in the nave with speakers on the screen. This electronic organ was in an advance state of decay and the reproduction of sound was compromised. Organist, Richard Skinner had a vision for a new musical era at BalshamChurch. For Richards plans a three manual instrument was required and it should be capable of supporting large Christmas and Easter Congregations. The search began.
The idea worked well and the swell strings drift round the church with the pedal softly emanating from the pipe front. The ensemble is crowned by the ethereal clarinet again from behind the north aisle pipe front. The solid English diapason chorus with majestic full swell and the pedal division under pins the whole ensemble. The solo tuba does it’s job and crowns the whole organ.
I will let organist Richard Skinner take up the story……………………….
Richard Skinner, Organist of Balsham writes…………………
One of the most important factors in deciding which digital organ to install at Balsham was how to hear one in a similar size church as our own. Samples to be found on the various web sites. show rooms and smaller buildings were not entirely satisfactory due to ‘internal’ recordings or inadequate sound systems (in our case).
After having been in conversation with Anthony Bogdan Organs, I decided to travel up to Bolton to listen to and play a Viscount that he had installed in St Augustines Tonge Moor recently. Very fortunately I was offered the opportunity to play Anthonys large three manual Harrison at The Parish Church of St Thomas an hour beforehand, thus offering an ideal comparative situation.
The rest is history. On ‘reporting back to HQ’ it was agreed that an order be placed, hopefully for installation in November. An on site visit was arranged and Mr Bogdan came to us to plan out the placement of the sound system required for our large Parish Church..
Installation is now complete and everyone is thrilled with the sound, including of course myself, a not so old sceptic! This instrument will lead a congregation of three hundred plus choir and orchestra just as beautifully as a small Sunday morning Eucharist. My advice to anyone wanting an alternative to a perhaps unaffordable pipe organ is talk to some one with experience and who is an organist themselves.
Richard Skinner GRSM ARCM