Author Topic: A news article about an inspirational instrument...  (Read 1908 times)

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A news article about an inspirational instrument...
« on: November 09, 2010, 02:00:00 AM »
Once in awhile I run across an article that does not really "pigeonhole" itself neatly into one board or topic or whatever...

What one person would typically consider an "inspirational" instrument would not necessarily fit with another's assessment 100% of the time, at least as something one could consider to be "universally inspirational"...

The following article is such an example.  It mentions nothing of the organ's specification or tonal qualities, or anything of the organ's  international historical significance, albeit it is one of a handful in the country where it is installed...

But it has inspired one individual to devote a considerable amount of time to its maintenance and continues to do so...

The Church of the Assumption, the oldest church in Penang, West Malaysia, lies within a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing colonial architecture.

Once inside, another attraction awaits—a pipe organ almost a century old, but still thundering through the church during Mass every Saturday evening.

However, few are aware that an old man has been almost single-handedly maintaining this “king of instruments”— one of only a handful in Malaysia.

“I am a self-confessed pipe organ nut and believe that while they may cost more than the electronic variety, they last much longer,” said Chorus Master Ian Campbell, now in his late 60s, who has been responsible for the organ’s upkeep.

The pipe organ was built in England in 1914 and erected inside the church two years later. No records exist of the organ’s professional maintenance until 1972, when it had deteriorated to an almost unplayable state.

Among major restoration works done by Campbell and his helpers included replacing the organ’s bellows and restoring its pneumatic pedals.

Campbell’s commitment is no surprise. Apart from being a church chorus member since he was young, he has also been playing on the pipe organ since he was a teenager.

“The organ still runs well due to the love and dedication of Ian Campbell,” said principal organist Leonard Selva Gurunathan.

Leonard added that maintaining the pipe organ involves a hefty sum and expressed his disappointment over the lack of support from Church and other heritage groups.

Rather, Campbell and other parishioners raise funds through various ways such as selling CDs produced by the chorus.

The lack of attention to the church and its pipe organ comes after Assumption Church was downgraded in status from being the Cathedral of Penang diocese in 2003, when the bishop of Penang moved his seat to Holy Spirit Church outside the city.

For Campbell, Leonard and a few other parishioners who stayed on, the old pipe organ remains at the center of their music-making during Saturday worship.

As Leonard puts it, “There is no other instrument that can picture God so well sonically other than the pipe organ.”

Elsewhere on this forum we have learned of the unconscionable destruction of, well, not one of the world's greatest instruments, but one which despite its faults was capable of providing its church congregation with "years of trouble-free service" given attention was paid to some of the "beginners mistakes" made during its initial construction...  An organ, which if replaced, would likely cost over one million dollars US :o    Oddly enough, money, nor the lack of it, was the motivation for its destruction;  but in a nutshell it was essentially a personality conflict between two people for which the organ became an innocent victim in the crossfire.

So I wish to include in  our ever-growing list of "inspirational" instruments the DeMarse Opus 7...


« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 06:56:15 AM by KB7DQH »
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