Blower update – July 2017

Watkins and Watson

As you will have seen, we have been without a blower since April, and the decision-making process has been an extremely long and tortuous one.  However, a decision has now been reached and the order will be placed with Watkins and Watson, Ltd., of Poole, Dorset.  This has seemed to be the best option for a variety of reasons, taking into account all the factors concerned.  We now have to hope that the work can be completed in time for the licensing of our new Priest-in-Charge, Rev. Pauline Bicknell, on Wednesday 30 August.  This had seemed a long time away, but is now looming large!

In short, the work will be carried out over a few days, and will involve removal of the old blowers, replacement by a new, single blower and replacement of the starter system, which had also failed and, like the blower, dates from 1927 at the latest!  90 years isn’t really a bad innings!  The new system will involve and continuous soft-start, so that the blower speed will increase gradually, avoiding sudden stresses on the mechanical parts, and being less audibly obvious.

We should point out that each of the other two firms who had tendered for this work (British Organ Blowers, Ltd., of Derby and DBS Engineering of Deeside) had put a huge amount of effort into their considerations and suggestions, and anyone finding themselves in a similar position would be well-advised to approach either or both of them, as well, of course, as Watkins and Watson, when considering their options.  This has been a very long process!

Tom Bell

Not, strictly speaking, a post about the organ; however, we are delighted to congratulate Tom Bell on his appointment by the Royal College of Organists as Regional Director for the North West of England and the Isle of Man.

Tom, who is currently Organist and Choirmaster at St Michael’s, Chester Square, London (where one of his predecessors was Sir Arthur Sullivan, of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) had his first experiences of the organ here in Ormskirk, where he sang as a chorister and where his father, Philip, served for a time as Organist.  The structure of Regional Directors is a new venture by the RCO, which is the premier body of organists in the UK, in an attempt to reach out into the community.  Tom has done a lot of outreach work already, is a regular contributor to the Organists’ Review, and is Artistic Director of the London Organ Day, amongst other ventures.

Visit his website at: http://tombell-organist.net/about-tom

 

 

Blower Update

We are currently considering three options and hope to make a decision in the very near future.  We have received professional advice from three potential top-quality contractors, each of whom has suggested a different solution.  All these companies have given us first-rate attention and are worthy of consideration by anyone finding themselves in the same situation!  The companies concerned are Watkins & Watson, Ltd., of Poole, British Organ Blowers, Ltd., of Derby and DBS Engineering, Ltd., of Deeside.  The first two have long track records of first-rate specialist knowledge and the third has done very successful remedial work on a number of major installations, including Liverpool and Chester Cathedrals.

 

Our options are as follows:

  1. Install a single, reconditioned blower, being one which was previously in use for a short period at the church of St Mary, Redcliffe, Bristol, including a new motor and starter.  This is the Watkins & Watson suggestion.
  2. Install two new BOB blowers to replace the existing pair, but running independently, along with new starter arrangements.
  3. Re-engineer the faulty parts and fit a new motor and switchgear; the suggestion of DRB Engineering.

We are just waiting for the final estimate to come in, after which we hope to be able to proceed.

It just remains to thank all these firms for their kind attention overt this period.

Blowing Plant RIP

After 90 years of continuous service, our blower engineers, Watkins and Watson, tell us that the time has come for its replacement.  Following two rounds of major surgery over the past few years, it is now beyond repair.  Reflecting the size of the instrument, it is an unusually large blowing plant, which is necessary in order to deliver the requisite quantities of wind at high pressures.  (For the technically-minded, the lowest pressure on this instrument is 4″wg for the Choir Organ!)  And so the organ, for the moment, is silent.  We hope to be able to remedy this in the near future.

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SUMMER FAIR/OPEN DAY 2016

04 June 2016 saw the annual Summer Fair at OPC; this year, it was themed around the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

 

To raise awareness of the organ, four short recitals were organised, to provide music as visitors looked around the church.

 

10:30 am and 11:30 am

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Terry Crolley, MSc, FRSA, FLSM;

Organist of St Margaret’s PC, Altrincham

 

10:30 –

Overture to Occasional Oratorio .   G.F. Handel

Arioso.   J.S. Bach

Voluntary in D.   J. Hook

Intermezzo (Cavalleria Rusticana).   P. Mascagni

Fugue on Carillon Soissons Cathedral.    M. Durufle

Largo.   S. Burtonwood

Alla Marcia.   J. Ireland

 

11:30 –

Rigaudon.   A. Capra

Largo.   G. F. Handel

Prelude and fugue in b.   J.S. Bach

Intermezzo (Cavalaria Rusticana).   P. Mascagni

Toccata.   A. Knevel

 

 

2:15pm and 3:15 pm

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Simon Russell, MA (Cantab),FTCL, FLCM, LGSM, ARCM, ARCO, FLCM

Organist of St Mary’s PC, Nantwich;

Regional Director of the Royal School of Church Music

 

 

Chorale prelude on Abridge. C.S. Lang (1891-1971)

Chorale Prelude on ‘O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sunde gross’ (BWV 622) J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Chorale Prelude on Martyrdom. CHH Parry (1848-1918) and also the one on Rockingham

Meditation on Love Unknown . Francis Jackson (b.1917)

Chorale Prelude on Herzliebster Jesu. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Chorale Prelude on Caswall. Peter Hurford (b.1930)

Hymn Prelude on Song 13. Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)

Chorale Prelude on ‘Komm, heiliger Geist,Herre Gott’. Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Pipedreams 2016 tour

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On Sunday 22 May, Ormskirk Parish Church was the venue for a group of around 50 organ enthusiasts from across the USA, as part of their fortnight-long ‘Pipedreams Tour 2016’ of the North of England and Scotland.  This annual tour takes members of the group around the world; this year’s focus being the North of England and Scotland, they were visiting a number of interesting organs, under organiser J Michael Berone, along with UK link Tom Bell, who started his musical life here in Ormskirk.  On the day of the visit, OPC fitted in between visits to Lancaster Priory and Liverpool Cathedral, although they had also had the opportunity of visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool, as well as St George’s Hall.  Amongst other venues visited was Adlington Hall, Cheshire, where the 1670 instrument reputed to be by ‘Father’ Smith had been rebuilt in 1741/2 by Richard Parker, who also undertook the 1758 rebuild in Ormskirk.  Tom Bell gave an excellent demonstration of the organ and its resources, and other members of the tour had the opportunity to try it out.  Altogether, a very interesting day which they seemed to have enjoyed, before hastening off towards Liverpool!

Drone Photographs

During the preparation for the new CD – ‘The Organ of Ormskirk Parish Church’, several photographs were taken, using a drone camera.  Photos were by Martin Maynard of Sounds Good ODM Ltd., the producers of the CD

Some of these appear below:

Aerial View 2

The church from the south-west.

 

Aerial view 1

The church from the south

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The church from the west