The Silence of the Organs

A deathly hush now emits from that chamber of secrets behind the decorated organ pipes and the two keyboards of our pipe organ. The gaping hollow now reveals wooden structures and unintelligible struts and mechanisms which once allowed our instrument to sound forth its merry, if somewhat strained and untamed noises.

The bent and mangled pipes, along with some that were in much better condition, have now been removed to the workshop of Village Organs where they will be lovingly restored and given a new lease of life. While the experts will carry out more or less the minimum of work necessary to restore all the physical and mechanical problems within our instrument, the result will be far-reaching as far as the sound is concerned as well as the state of the inside of the organ, an area which few had seen and therefore it is hard for some to appreciate how much work was needed.

The previous 1977 (42 years ago) renovation of our organ was in fact a holding job in which 25% - 30% of the organ was disconnected and left to disintegrate. "The Village Workshop (Pipe Organ Builders)" will bring this all back into use and with a few extra (used) pipes and clever electrical additions the organ will return to its former glory of some 70 years ago, in fact it will be better than that and more complete for the use of accompanying the congregation and choir. It will also be more fit for purpose when the church hosts choral concerts.

When we buy cars and washing machines etc. there is the expectation that 10 years is a pretty good life. The same applies to electronic musical instruments, although that does seem to be stretching more towards 20 years these days. However, a pipe organ is expected to go on for a 100 or more years with a 50 year “cleaning” and small alterations, such as renewal of electrical parts and any worn out moving parts.

We are very pleased that on this occasion the whole organ is being restored so that while there could be a few teething problems when reassembled, the instrument should continue for at least another 50 years without any major problems, and at that point it should not be in need of the sort of work being carried out this time. We are ensuring that the next generation will have a worthwhile instrument to use in worship.

While we can now just afford the cost of this work, we are inviting everyone to ‘sponsor’ notes as a way of finishing and celebrating the project: An organ keyboard is called a “manual” and until Christmas we had two. In a way, each manual is a separate organ which can be used together or separately to provide a range of dynamics and colours. They are named “Swell” (because one can vary the loudness and softness), Great (it has some of the louder stops for leading the congregation) and “Choir” (because it has some quieter stops suitable for accompanying the choir). Now the third manual is being reinstated we have even more notes to sponsor. Each manual has 56 notes making a total of 168 notes. Then of course there is the Pedal Organ of thirty notes (a bit like the cello/bass section of an orchestra), played by the feet. In all there will be 198 notes up for grabs!

The following article explains you how you can sponsor a note or a chord or even a tune. As a congregation you have been really splendid in the way you have found the money to date and supported the organ project. If we can have one last push to complete the project, I am sure you will be very happy with the result.

We are already planning a weekend on the 18/19th May in which the organ will be officially reopened on the Saturday Evening and and blessed by the Bishop of Edmonton at Choral Evensong on the Sunday. Make a note in your diaries!

Jonathan Marten


Notes for Notes

In this final push for the organ restoration, we are inviting individuals, families, or groups to sponsor a note or two… or three, or even a chord (four notes!). One note costs three notes and a chord of four notes costs five notes… Which is to say:

A note, ranging from C-G over four and half octaves (black notes included) on the three manuals: £30 a note, or a 4 note chord (major or minor!), for £100 (See diagram). Other combinations of notes are also available by negotiation, subject to availability…! Similarly it would be possible to buy your favourite hymn tune, as melody, or even full harmony. But remember the more notes you buy, the more notes you spend! Cwm Rhondda, for example has nine notes in the tune and so would cost £230. The bass part has 8 notes (£200), the tenor 6 notes (£160) and the alto 8 notes (£200). Or you could ‘own’ the complete hymn for £790. Which is, we grant you, rather a lot, good as the hymn is! A complete major scale would be £200 and a complete chromatic octave (12 notes) £300. The possibilities are endless. You could even write your own tune, or spell your name… To buy the great name of BACH is only £100 (‘H’ is B natural in German…)

Notes may be bought anonymously or openly, and a grid mapping which notes remain is on display below and in Church. A form to indicate preference will be available in church. All donations are, of course, tax efficient where appropriate.

Gordon Giles

Sponsor an Organ Note
  • Please click on the note or notes on the relevant keyboard(s) or pedals below one at a time and add them to the shopping basket.
  • Once you have finished your selection apply any relevant coupon.
  • On the Checkout page fill in the Gift Aid Declaration form if applicable then complete your donation below.

Key: Gold notes are already sponsored

Chords: For our purposes all chords are made up of four notes from its 'key' or 'root' note. Major consists of the 'root', 'third' 'fifth' followed by the 'octave' of the 'root'; minor is the same except for the third note which is flattened. So C Major is 'C', 'E', 'G' and 'C' - C Minor is 'C', 'Eb', 'G' and 'C'. Notes can go across the different keyboards if the notes you would like to sponsor are unavailable across one keyboard.

A Google search for an image of a particular chord will show you which notes make up the chord - here's one that should help:  This site includes some of the more complex and exotic sounding chords.