Author Topic: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset  (Read 55512 times)

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Barry Williams

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2011, 02:06:50 PM »
The parochial church council has the legal responsibility for the money and the fabric of the church, with all the items therein, subject to law. 

Members of this board and others are of the view that the parochial church council is unwise in the exercise of that responsibility.

By far the easiest way of changing the situation is to stand for election to the PCC.  Once elected, the opportunity can be taken to present a different view at a PCC meeting. 

Alternatively, the matter may be raised at the Annual Meeting of Parishioners, which can be attended by any resident parishioner or person on the church electoral roll.

The responsibility for the church's finances is in the hands of the PCC.  Trying to persuade the church how to use it resources from outside may be very difficult and in any event often provokes considerable resentment, because not all the facts are known.  Whilst members of this Board may well know much about the organ and possibly quite a lot about the parish, they cannot know as much about the finances of the church as the PCC members.

Even if the church cannot afford to restore their pipe organ at the moment, I hope someone will tell them that they can obtain a second-hand electronic instrument for less than 10,000 and can almost certainly get a good resale value when the time comes to sell.

I do wonder whether the parish has yet consulted the Diocesan Advisory Committee about the situation.  I agree with John that it is would be unfortunate if the PCC did not commission a report from a properly qualified organ builder(and preferably one who is an IBO Business Member).  However, it may be that the regular tuner, who could well know the instrument intimately, has given an informal report and that is sufficient for the PCC, which  sees no reason to spend several hundred pounds on a further report.

Barry Williams




Jonathan Lane

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2011, 02:18:31 PM »
Barry, I have a real issue with organ builders charging for reports.  Organ building appears to be one of the few professions where this is still done.  We do not.  We run a business, and I have shareholders who wish the business to be successful, consequently as Managing Director it is part of my job to ensure we win work.  This, like most companies working in manufacturing, after all that is what organ building is regardless of the artistic aspect, is achieved by making visits to churches and preparing reports.  Whilst we would love to be paid for the act of winning work, it is fundamentally wrong in my view that we should expect churches to pay for the time we spend in trying to win that work, hence we do not charge. 

As for the IBO, I will always refuse to become a member, as previously mentioned by me elsewhere, we win our business and subsequently our reputation on how well we carry out the work we do, they only reason I can see for being a member of the IBO is the 'so-called' grievance procedure, which according to our lawyers is superceded and significantly improved by contract law and laws regarding sales and services.  It is a little like shops saying you have rights of exchange for 30 days if the goods are faulty!
 
Jonathan

Barry Williams

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2011, 02:42:08 PM »
Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for your views.

The question of charging for reports has been debated extensively within IBO and elsewhere.  Whilst I respect your view, you are in a very tiny minority on this point.  I hope you will agree with me that producing a report is a time-consuming and costly exercise.  One of the reasons for charging is to stop churches (and sometimes 'independent' organ advisers) from obtaining multiple quotes.  I recall seeing one church proudly stating on its fund-raising brochure that it had obtained thirteen (!) quotes from organ builders.

As for IBO, there are many more benefits to membership than the grievance procedure, but I doubt whether you could be persuaded on that point either.  However, one of the main points of IBO is that those who are Business Members have had their work inspected.  There is an ongoing accreditation scheme with continuing inspections.  It may not be perfect, but there is nothing else available.  It is the same with music examinations.  They are no guarantee of the standard of performance, but they do indicate something.  Afer all, Jonathan you are exceptionally well qualifed as an organist with letters after your name that many would like to have.  (Including me.)  Yet many would look to your huge and successful experience as a professional musician as much as to your impressive post nominal letters. 

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.  For example, Bill Drake is not an IBO member, but the quality of his organ building speaks for itself.  Moreover, he does not normally do the type of work that concerns the majority of churches.

Please be assured, that if you prepare a report in the Diocese where I am organs adviser I shall invite the church to pay you, if only to cover some of the expenses incurred in quoting and reporting.  The labourer is worthy of his hire!  (Including you.)

Barry Williams

Jonathan Lane

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2011, 03:01:38 PM »
Dear Barry,

Thanks for your comments, and as you know, these qualifications take years to get, as did my communication engineering ones, which I never use!! However, the act of work towards exams is the main reason for taking them, as a means to improve the players ability rather than the letters in themselves.

I see the benefit of accreditation, but in most cases organ advisors use IBO membership of a pre-requisite for 'recommending' an organ builder to the DAC and Chancellor.  Needless to say, I need not tell you the system that organ advisors work under and how DAC's advise the Chancellor, we both know how it should work and how it does work in a number of cases.  I have a Rector who understands the system intricately and doesn't put up with any messing around with DAC's!

However, there are many other builders, some big names such as Trevor Tipple in the West Midlands, and many smaller ones around the country who have managed to keep organs going in many churches which would otherwise remain silent.  Part of what we do is help facilitate this work through our own work on organs around the country.  We love working on the big projects, and while there are only two of us currently full time, hopefully rising to four in the summer, we have a number of other people to call on when the work is busy.  For me, reputation is far more important than accreditation, as you know, there are a number of cathedral organists out there without the qualifications you would expect carrying out music making of a high standard!

Back to exams.  I have a major criticism of the ABRSM, which I have had for years and which, if I were in charge, or perhaps had the time to be, would change, and that is make examiners professional and carry out examining throughout the year.  It would ensure more consistency, and I have certainly seen a lot of incosistency over the years!

If we ever come across each other professionally at some point, and I'm sure we will as we cover Cornwall to Kent and South Coast to Birmingham at present, I will of course refuse payment and return any such payment, as it is company policy not to be paid for inspections, meetings and reports.  I agree that the work can sometimes be very time consuming, there are two projects we are currently working on which have required relatively detailed drawings, however, that is part of working in the 21st century, we win our work by our work, and when we do we reap the benefits of being paid for the job!

Best wishes,

Jonathan

Barry Williams

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2011, 03:57:15 PM »
Dear Jonathan,

It is good that we can debate on this Board and share ideas and concerns.  I agree with much of what you say, particularly about Trevor Tipple, who is a very fine organ builder.

I agree that it is the work for examinations that achieves the result.  June and I had that experience last September when we both (at the same venue - don't ask about the frog and the puddle!), entered for professional qualifications.  We were each convinced that we had failed and the other had passed.  Happily, we both passed, but it was the effort that improved our performance.

Perhaps, if you quote in my diocese, you will give a discount equivalent to the payment for quoting when you do the work, for that seems a reasonable compromise.  On that matter, one organ builder told me that an quote for a largish two manual rebuild could easily cost some 700, being two days of work, charged at 350 per day.  That seems quite reasonable and is a considerable burden for any business to bear.  You have a slightly smaller firm, but even so, it is costly.  I am very concerned that churches do not abuse the kindness of organ builders such as yourself.

June joins me in sending best wishes to you and Fran.  We must meet again soon.

As ever,

Barry

dragonser

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Estimates and charging
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2011, 04:01:27 PM »
Hi,
this is an interesting discussion.
firstly I do work for myself but I don't work on Pipe Organs. I used to give free estimates for the repairs I did.
the reasons were that I felt that I would be more likely to get work this way.
I found however that in a "few" cases people would ask me for an estimate on one bit of equipment, and then I wouldn't be asked to complete the work, then I would be asked to look at another piece of equipment by the same people.....
and so on.
this meant that I ended up providing many estimates for people rather than actually getting repair work done [ and being paid for it ]. 
so I decided to start charging for providing estimates, but to keep the charge at a reasonable
level. I don't mean to indicate  that any of the charges mentioned here are unreasonable !
This does seem to have worked from my point of view, as if the repair estimate is not accepted at least I have some money towards time and possible travelling costs etc
of course every industry is different and what may work in one industry may not work in another .....

I'm not going to start on the minefield  of  relevant qualifications !

regards Peter B



The question of charging for reports has been debated extensively within IBO and elsewhere.  Whilst I respect your view, you are in a very tiny minority on this point.  I hope you will agree with me that producing a report is a time-consuming and costly exercise.  One of the reasons for charging is to stop churches (and sometimes 'independent' organ advisers) from obtaining multiple quotes.  I recall seeing one church proudly stating on its fund-raising brochure that it had obtained thirteen (!) quotes from organ builders.

 

Barry Williams

Barry Williams

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2011, 05:13:26 PM »
A British organ builder of repute was asked to quote for a new organ in the chapel of an Oxbridge College.

Like most organ builders, he noted the time spent on the work, which was considerable, with CAD three dimensional drawings, detailed costings, etc.  At his standard charge out rate it came to just over 10,000.  He later learned that he was not even a serious contender, for the establishment took his ideas and went to a foreign builder with them.

I maintain that charging for reports and quotations is entirely proper, though I respect Jonathan's ethic of not doing so.  Some organ builders often do not charge for quotations if they already have the care fo the instrument.

Barry Williams

revtonynewnham

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2011, 08:31:38 PM »
Hi

None of the 4 firms we asked to look at the restoration of the organ here made a charge (and it would have only been 3 except that one came, had a look - and that's the last we heard - I can only assume that he didn't want the job!).  We did ask about charges - and we certainly didn't expect a detailed report (as a Baptist church, it's only the Church Meeting who make final decisions - there's no hierarchy, etc. (which can be a very mixed blessing)).

We did provide a lunch for the one builder who was not local, as a courtesy.  The fact that his firm got the job was due to their pricing (and no, it wasn't the cheapest - nor the most expensive) and also that they were able to take the whole instrument off-site to work on it - pretty well essential in our situation.

There were a number of other builders that I could have asked - but I felt that 3 was reasonable - especially as they weren't charging.  (It did include the person who then was looking after the organ)

As to accreditation, the firm concerned was not at the time a member of IBO (only 2 of the 4 were) although they have since applied for, and gained accreditation, and the work on the organ here was one of their examples for inspection in the historic restoration category.

Every Blessing

Tony

Jonathan Lane

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2011, 01:12:23 AM »
This is an interesting discussion for me, as I am very keen to hear the various positions on this.  Barry's Oxbridge quote example is quite an interesting one, and I would agree that the incurred cost to the organ builder in time, travel and other materials has been can be high indeed!  The Oxbridge example is one end of the scale, and there are many probably not much short of this.  Our daily rate is costed at 250 for our skilled staff, probably low, but our overheads are inevitably lower than larger firms.  So as Barry suggests two days of work should be charged at 500. 

It is impossible to tell whether we are taken for a ride by some churches, however, my generally feeling is we are not.  My initial contact with churches, including the first visit is usually no more than a discussion of needs and to some extent finances available.  This progresses to a report, but usually only when there is a further indication of interest.  Not that it means a great deal, but I do mark everything with copyright, including drawings!

One other matter I would be interested to know more about is organ builders quoting ridiculous amounts for a job simply because they don't want the work.  Our position is we are happy to take on any work no matter how small, as MD I plan to continue that ideal as long as I am in charge!

Jonathan

Jonathan Lane

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2011, 01:13:58 AM »
I am aware that this has taken us off topic slightly, but we await more news, in the meantime, I believe the discussion on here is very worthwhile.

Jonathan

David Pinnegar

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #50 on: March 17, 2011, 04:26:42 AM »
Dear Jonathan

It's great to see here and hear you enthusing on this forum as a pipe organ builder. That's what this forum is for and if any organ builder sees this forum and raises their eyebrows at seeing a good opportunity for promotion, that's what this forum is for . . . and ultimately everyone with pipe organ passion in their blood may be better informed and pipe organs, such as we hope this one at Crewkerne will be cherished and flourish

Best wishes

David P

Jonathan Lane

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #51 on: March 18, 2011, 12:58:52 AM »
Dear Barry,

Fran and I send our best wishes back to you and June, it would be good to catch up at some point, and here about your exam adventures!

Best wishes,

John

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2011, 02:19:24 AM »
It is some time since there was a post on this board which had anyway veered  well away from the subject.   It is also quite a while since I had my meeting with churchwarden John Clotworthy.  Afterwards I did write up a report for posting here but clicked the wrong thing and the whole ******** lot disappeared into the ether!  Now back from holiday I'll have another go.

The Crewkerne situation is exactly as expected, the PCC have passed a resolution and the matter has been put to bed, will not be re-opened for further discussion.  JC confessed that no quotes had been obtained and he couldn't remember what Farley's guesstimate back in 2006 was for. 

I drew his attention to this site, to BIOS and to the fact that another up-to-date quote for action repairs would be a good idea.  He agreed and made some notes.   We went around in circles for an hour when he had to go out to "another meeting" - ? !!

When I first introduced myself the name was known to him. I was therefore quite amused that he felt it necessary to establish my'bona fides'.  It seems that other, mostly uninformed, folk have been asking lots of questions and he was not really prepared to talk any more.  I have a feeling there are underground political aspects that were not forthcoming.

In an email the Archdeacon of Taunton tells me he is keeping an eye on things, that is good news.

It seems therefore that little more can be achieved at the moment except keeping the situation 'alive' in peoples minds, and on here.   As their whole project revolves around money (and JC admitted that litte had been donated as yet - yippee!) we can only wait until such time as they petition for a faculty.... unless anyone has any good ideas.

Regards ........... John

organforumadmin

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2011, 02:30:10 AM »
Dear John


It's really great to know that this forum is serving its purpose in helping to keep alive discussions about organs so that considerations remain active, informed, and perhaps a decision that others might criticise in the future can be reconsidered before it's too late.


Lack of funds can sometimes be a blessing in terms of preservation!


Thanks for keeping us informed.


Perhaps what's also good about this forum is that those looking at possibly replacing a pipe instrument with an electronic will see the very active discussions about electronics among users and designers and realise that the technology of the pipe organ  . . . has been fully developed for a long long while whilst electronics are in a permanent state of flux and even the pros can't really decide how best to _emulate_ the pipe organ . . . no matter what the manufacturers make out at any one particular instant. That should be enough of a hint for any parish to want to ignore the manufacturers and to keep their pipe organs!


In church this morning, I was very impressed at how the 6 or 7 rank octopod organ (it has a 4ft and an Oboe) supported the proceedings so very well and how very boring an electronic instrument of only that number of stops would be . . .


Best wishes


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John

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2011, 10:57:10 PM »
I feel I should post the following report which has come to hand.   For those able to fully understand - which does not really include me - it will be fascinating reading. 
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It might be interesting to look at some technical issues here.   From the original 1980s paperwork it seems that the Rothwell pneumatic action was two stage with key touch boxes controling primary action purses.   

The valve arrangement required that the purses be under pneumatic strain to hold the notes 'off' and at rest for 'on', not an ideal design it has to be admitted.  The cost of renewing the whole of the pneumatic action was prohibitive, not an uncommon situation it seems.

It further transpires that electrification seemed the preferred option as it provided the basis for improved playing aids and an independent Pedal division.   Something the purists will sniff at no doubt, but a valuable improvement noted by many organists who knew and played the organ as it was. 

However, the ideal option of making e.p. under action engines was also cost prohibitive and so the design was based on substituting the pneumatic purses with lever magnets holding the power pneumatic exhaust/supply valves off by the armature spring.  The note is then turned on when the magnet is energised.   A design study was done and the calculated force due to the wind pressure on the exhaust valve was well within the limit of the magnet's spring force for a reliable action.  In fact, a method exactly similar to a Roosevelt chest with external magnets.

Over the years the armature pivots, which are stainless steel with colloidal graphite lubrication, became sluggish due to dirt and needed the occasional bit of TLC.  However, it now seems that the odd cypher, due to the armature not fully closing, has become a source of some irritation and the reason for the current proposal.

It is indeed strange and illogical that the whole organ is being abandoned (they would say "mothballed") for the sake of a good clean and, at the most extreme, the replacement of some magnets.   There are also insulated sleeves on the key contact striker bars which could be replaced or even rotated via 180 degrees for a new lease of life.

Clearly there are other maintenance tasks that need to be included but the total cost is unlikely to exceed that of a digital machine.

So, there you have it.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The final two paragraphs show how unnecessary is the stance, the proposals and the mind-set of the Crewkerne PCC.  They have been persuaded that a toaster is what is needed......... so very, very sad.

Yet it may not even happen, as the previous post has pointed out, lack of finance can be a great preservative..  I suppose a parallel situation was at Chichester Cathdral.

Regards ...................... John
 

Barrie Davis

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #55 on: May 14, 2011, 12:47:19 AM »
I would like to hear the comments of any pipeorgan builders about this. To my mind it would appear to be more economic to spend money on the existing organ.

Barrie

John

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2011, 03:36:05 PM »
@ Barrie.     You have hit the nail, that is the exact and precise crux of the matter - spending money (which they don't actually have at the moment) in the right area.   A half decent 'toaster' (if there is such a thing) would cost a heck of a lot more than a couple of cans of WD40 + labour, and only last 15/20 years at the maximum.

As I've said before they appear to be both deaf and blinkered.   The PCC have been led down this particular path and it seems that strong-willed persons are ruling the roost.

One can only hope that money for this particular project will not be forthcoming.   I understand the Chancel roof needs many thousands spending on it but there has been a specific request for toaster donations.

Please everyone, keep this alive with your comments and perhaps even suggestions.

ATB .................... John

Jonathan Lane

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #57 on: May 15, 2011, 06:28:15 PM »
Its an interesting point and very valid that the church seems to be pursuing this regardless of the state of the roof!

However, answering Barrie's question, and some may say I would say this as I'm a pipe organ builder, the most useful application of funds would be to repair the existing organ, and then start a fund for work in 10-20 years to completely renew the action and restore the organ fully.  The latter is a relatively expensive option, although would give the organ another 100 years (compared to an electronic, which would need replacing possibly 7 times in this period, although the frequency of replacing the electronic  every 15 years would not keep ahead of technoligical advances, just replace a worn our electronic).  The former option would be relatively cheap and a fraction of the cost of a decent electronic and last the same number of years!

Jonathan

David Pinnegar

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #58 on: May 15, 2011, 10:40:24 PM »
Hi!

In view of my experience yesterday with a state-of-the-art impressive console electronic instrument of former international fame in its previous incarnation, this church should be advised that unless they have someone on tap with experience
1. of pipe organ voicing
2. acoustics in terms of placement of sound
3. of specifying or of constructing speakers not to conventional PA or Hi-Fi designs but to designs that make the sounds appearing through them as the source of those sounds rather than a reproduction of those sounds,
they are not going to get an instrument that satisfies off-the-shelf and will always pale into insignificance against their old pipe organ.

A couple of years ago I went to a concert in Sussex by an international recitalist on a hire instrument of one of the major manufacturers - a 4 manual instrument - the best they had, and it sounded like an organ through a hi-fi system. I would rather have stayed at home listening to my own hifi system which on account of speakers was better by far and in comparison the one manual organ in the church came to life.

Best wishes

David P
« Last Edit: May 16, 2011, 04:13:40 AM by David Pinnegar »

Barrie Davis

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Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2011, 12:34:54 AM »
Hi

Very good points David. Halesowen replaced a 3 manual Rushworth with the top of a range instrument, all the speakers are sited in what was the old Choir Vestry, wuth the exception of the 2 Solo Reeds the speakers of which are at the West End of the Church. It simply does not work. The bank of speakers at the East end in the old vestry is very large, but even so the sound is not good.

All Saints Sedgley has a large 3 manual, all the speakers are in the West gallery and angled to hit to roof before fianlly hitting the ears, this works!!

Best wishes

Barrie

 


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