Organ matters - Organs matter!

Organs in danger => Organs in danger => Topic started by: KB7DQH on September 24, 2010, 05:58:53 AM

Title: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: KB7DQH on September 24, 2010, 05:58:53 AM
Church mentioned in the article has already installed a "demostration" electronic... The pipe instrument in their Grade I-listed building becoming increasingly unreliable and in need of restoration :'(
http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/Pulling-stops-battle-church-organ/article-2678112-detail/article.html (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/Pulling-stops-battle-church-organ/article-2678112-detail/article.html)

Article describes the congregation as being "divided" on the issue at hand...  The "churchwoman"
seems to think that an electronic would be "simpler to repair if something did go wrong with it"...

Too many examples exist of properly maintained pipe instruments greatly outlasting their electronic counterparts to allow this miscoception to breed uncontrollably :o

My quick search of the NPOR database did not come up with any information on the pipe instrument,
it may not be listed???

Although a small article, it seems to center the debate on the cost of pipe vs electronic rather than organ vs. ????


Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on September 24, 2010, 06:24:29 AM
I'm afraid I have to laugh as well as cry at what the lady church warden has said.  A quote from the article:

'But churchwarden Dorothy Tozer said the cost of renovating the existing organ would be around £80,000, whereas a new electronic organ would cost £35-40,000. And there was a positive response to the organ at its debut service on Sunday. She said: "We don't have the money to do either of these things at the moment and we are still raising money to repair our roof as it is. If the organ stopped working, we would be forced to use a piano. But it is something we are looking into as the pipe organ isn't expected to last much longer. This past winter was the death knell for it. We need to look at the long-term future and if we were able to get an electric organ put in, it would be much simpler to repair if something did go wrong with it.'

They are looking at spending £40K on an electronic, which would by a medium quality instrument, as opposed to £80K to maintain their pipe organ.  Perhaps a few facts are relevant, from anecdotal as well as proven evidence.  If you are lucky your electronic organ will last 20 years before a major upgrade is needed, whereas the pipe organ will last many more, a new pipe organ of high quality should see 200 years out.  An organ the size of that at Crewkerne would cost up to £500 per year to tune, whereas a single callout for repair on the elctronic may well exceed that (a friend's electronic organ needed a single part at £450 plus two visits by the engineer to allow it to even work at all, the chance of a pipe organ being put totally out of action is rare.)  Most organ builders would carry out essential maintenance on a standard tuning visit, which ensure potential problems are dealt with swiftly, whereas a fault with an electronic organ is unpredictable and therefore unpreventable.  One electronic organ I played had to have four callouts in as many weeks when it was less than three years old, but not under the guarantee.  I'm not sure how long electronic organ builders guarantee their organs for, but we conditionally guarantee all new material for 25 years.  If the church in question had contacted me they might be looking at a simple and straightforward solution, but my feeling is, lack of investment over the years since Brian Daniels did the last major work may well have caused them to reap what they do now (and knowing Brian personally, I am sure his work at Crewkerne was up the the typically high standards of his other work.

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: KB7DQH on September 24, 2010, 11:48:01 AM
And if the roof isn't fixed neither electronic nor pipe instrument (or a piano for that matter) will survive for very long....

However, other congregations have found unique funding methods to assure their beloved pipe instruments don't fall silent 8)http://www.organmatters.co.uk/index.php?topic=184.0 (http://www.organmatters.co.uk/index.php?topic=184.0)

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: revtonynewnham on September 24, 2010, 03:22:05 PM
Hi

The organ is on NPOR  - http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D08090  Hint - only put the minimum search terms in for an NPOR address search - I used "Bartholomew Crewkerne" - and make sure you spell the names correctly - computer's don't have the intelligence to spot wrong spellings in database queries!

This is actually quite worrying, as the organ had work done just 6 years ago.  Why the sudden urge to get rid of it?  Maybe there's been a new incumbent who dislikes organs and want's to "modernize" - or church politics at work?

What this (and other churches looking at the same options) need to realise is that, although the electronic might be cheaper initially, and need less maintenance, it will never sound as good as the real thing, nor will it last as long.  They're looking at spending some £30,000.  Being generous and giving the new organ a life of 20 years, that's costing them £1,500 a year, not taking into account inflation, etc.   Try asking the church treasurer to put aside that amount every year and see what response you get!  That's the realitiy of the situation.  The pipe organ, if properly rebuilt, will last a minimum of 50 years before needing major work, and then will go on for at least another 50!  If they can use tracker action, it will last even longer.  The chamber organ here had survived getting on for 200 years and at least 5 changes of location with no evidence of any professional work - certainly, the last 2 moves were done by an amateur, and quite possibly the others were as well.  I wish churches would look at the total cost of ownership, and not just the short-term cost implications.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on September 24, 2010, 04:48:49 PM
Quote
if we were able to get an electric organ put in, it would be much simpler to repair if something did go wrong with it

Who's pulling the wool over these people's eyes? What's simpler, a blower, bellows held together with leather, wood chests, metal pipes and wooden sticks connected together by leather buttons . . . or multi-layer printed circuit boards with micro-spaced connexions and batteries on boards which rot and corrode the lot . . .

What I really hate to see is the online and paper publications of the electronic touts who score up their "installations" supplanting pipe organs, often making a facadist development of the organ case, their publications looking like trophy hunters' scoreboards. I also find the electronic manufacturers' literature patronising and appealing to people with an IQ of 90 or 95 at most. But there again, perhaps that's just the sort of person who would be daft enough to throw out the investment of a pipe organ for the lure of a fancy load of television set and computer circuit boards.

Can anyone get hold of the church concerned and direct them to this thread on this forum?

I bet some electronic tout with a vested interest is behind it suggesting how unrescuable their pipe organ is . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on September 24, 2010, 09:32:42 PM
Hi

The organ is on NPOR  - http://www.npor.org.uk/cgi-bin/Rsearch.cgi?Fn=Rsearch&rec_index=D08090  Hint - only put the minimum search terms in for an NPOR address search - I used "Bartholomew Crewkerne" - and make sure you spell the names correctly - computer's don't have the intelligence to spot wrong spellings in database queries!

This is actually quite worrying, as the organ had work done just 6 years ago.  Why the sudden urge to get rid of it?  Maybe there's been a new incumbent who dislikes organs and want's to "modernize" - or church politics at work?

What this (and other churches looking at the same options) need to realise is that, although the electronic might be cheaper initially, and need less maintenance, it will never sound as good as the real thing, nor will it last as long.  They're looking at spending some £30,000.  Being generous and giving the new organ a life of 20 years, that's costing them £1,500 a year, not taking into account inflation, etc.   Try asking the church treasurer to put aside that amount every year and see what response you get!  That's the realitiy of the situation.  The pipe organ, if properly rebuilt, will last a minimum of 50 years before needing major work, and then will go on for at least another 50!  If they can use tracker action, it will last even longer.  The chamber organ here had survived getting on for 200 years and at least 5 changes of location with no evidence of any professional work - certainly, the last 2 moves were done by an amateur, and quite possibly the others were as well.  I wish churches would look at the total cost of ownership, and not just the short-term cost implications.

Every Blessing

Tony

Agree totally Tony.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on September 24, 2010, 09:38:08 PM

What I really hate to see is the online and paper publications of the electronic touts who score up their "installations" supplanting pipe organs, often making a facadist development of the organ case, their publications looking like trophy hunters' scoreboards. I also find the electronic manufacturers' literature patronising and appealing to people with an IQ of 90 or 95 at most. But there again, perhaps that's just the sort of person who would be daft enough to throw out the investment of a pipe organ for the lure of a fancy load of television set and computer circuit boards.


I think you have hit the nail on the head, but they will always get sucked.  I spend half my free time sourcing secondhand but decent electrical gear for church, because it is better than the cheap stuff people try to sell you new!  Recently we have purchased off eBay a digital recording mixer which retails at £7K, I paid £160 and it took me 1.5 hours to fix, we also have a £900 DAT recorder which cost £41, and a £15K broadcast TV camera which cost just over £200. 

What I constantly see is churches getting sucked in by it will only cost you X amount and won't be any trouble after you have installed it.  Until the guarantee runs out that is!  I make no pretence that our organs are more expensive than electronic ones, but I also guarantee them for longer than your average electronic will last.

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: barniclecompton on September 24, 2010, 10:24:08 PM
I have tried emailing the church, but the email addresses given dont seem to work!
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: NonPlayingAnorak on October 03, 2010, 05:56:04 PM
To be fair, the organ doesn't look great visually (heavy casework blocking windows), nor does it look great tonally. I think the best thing they could do would be to build a new 3m 40ishSS tracker-action instrument with a tonal scheme essentially similar to the original Rothwell scheme (just a bit bigger), with casework by someone like David Graebe. Still, replacing it with a toaster really is stupid! I've left a comment on the original newspaper article to that effect, and I'm just awaiting the registration confirmation email...

EDIT: having re-read this, it would seem silly not to suggest re-using some of the existing pipework, thinking especially of the Rothwell reeds, such as survive unaltered, and that Harrison & Harrison Trumpet... though the entire Great organ looks essentially unaltered, and should be good. The Swell 8, 4 and 2 flues should be salvagable, too, as should the original ranks surviving on the Pedal. Still, I think the organ would be better off rebuilt at the West end on a gallery, with a new building frame and new case... the existing case could then, potentially, be used to front something else in a much bigger building.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: KB7DQH on March 04, 2011, 08:44:41 PM
 :(http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/Church-pull-stops-order-digital-organ/article-3285302-detail/article.html (http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/news/Church-pull-stops-order-digital-organ/article-3285302-detail/article.html)

Quote


Church to pull out stops in order to get digital organ

ST Bartholomew's Church in Crewkerne has announced plans to acquire a digital organ to replace its deteriorating pipe organ.

An electric organ was trialled at the church on Abbey Street in September and proved popular with most parishioners.

But without the money to purchase the upgrade, churchwarden John Clotworthy said the new organ will not be arriving at the church any time soon.

In the church newsletter he said: "There has been concern over a lengthy period now about the deteriorating condition of the church organ, and debate about how to deal with the problem.
Click here for more

"The Parochial Church Council passed a resolution in January that in view of the deteriorating condition of the pipe organ and in the light of current pressures on the church's resources, it considers a digital organ should be acquired, but only when financial circumstances permit.

"This view is being taken because a digital organ would be a great deal cheaper than restoring the pipe organ, and the sound it produced in the trial was good, in the view of most churchgoers.

"It should be emphasised that the church is not in a financial position to acquire a digital organ in the near future.

"There are other demands on any capital resources which come to hand, such as repair of the chancel roof."

St Bartholomew's, a grade one listed building, is appealing for donations to help the cause.

http://www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk/news_view/9470/16/1/crewkerne-organ-fund-waits-behind-roof-repairs (http://www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk/news_view/9470/16/1/crewkerne-organ-fund-waits-behind-roof-repairs)

Quote
Mr Dale is passionate about church music and said: “We have a very strong choral tradition at this church and the organ could fail at any time. There is nothing like the sound of a real pipe organ but what is important to us is maintaining the church music. If we cannot raise the money for the digital one in time, we could be without any sort of organ for several years and our music tradition will dissipate.

“There are no major bodies we can apply to who specialise in the preservation of  organs such as this one, perhaps if it was historically pure but it has been much altered over the last 100 years, it wasn’t the top of the range but probably second so a good quality instrument.

Quote
Lottery funding has been redirected so much toward the Olympics that there is no hope in that direction. I know of churches who were promised grants and had them withdrawn at the last minute.”

Quote
The PCC would like to emphasise that the fabric of the organ will remain, regardless, as the pipes and structure are sound, it is only the mechanism that is worn out.

Mr Clotworthy added that  they could only consider looking at the pipe organ repair if a substantial sum was given, or sourced, for that purpose alone. A special fund has been set up which is already receiving donations specifically for the digital purchase only, but  there is a long way to go.




Two new news articles which have appeared regarding the fate of this instrument...

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 09, 2011, 03:46:07 AM
If you read the second link in Eric's post above, you will see some figures quoted, which frankly are purely misinformation.  Firstly to get a half decent electronic, which will last them maybe 15 years before major work, they are look at £50K plus.  Secondly, I'm not entirely sure where the figure of £75-80K comes from, if as they say the pipes and structure are sound, that means the organ needs a new electrical system.  Even if they fitted a state of the art system, this would come to about the same sum that they are quoting for the electronic organ, if they however went with a cheaper or more piecemeal option, the price would be considerably less.

The organ is described by the organist as about to fail at any time.  This is highly unlikely, unless caused by fire, flood, or earthquake (RIP our colleagues in Christchurch), as a colleague mentioned to me today 'organs in general do not have heart attacks; they merely groan with arthritis!'  I'm not against the use of electronic instruments where they are necessary, but it would seem that the church would be far better of spending £10K now on major electrical work, than spending £25-30K now on an electronic, and when that dies in ten years or so, see their bill rise to nearer the £75-80K they believe it will cost them now.

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: KB7DQH on March 09, 2011, 05:05:58 AM
Assuming E-P action and water ingress they may be looking at the "classic case" of complete chest releathering in addition to the electrical work?

Not unheard of in the construction industry here in the US for contractors with too much work on their hands at the moment to "high-ball" an estimate to avoid doing the work-- putting enough money into the bid to cover additional resources that would need to be acquired to keep the rest of the work on schedule...

 Same practice comes into play when the job looks to have too many possibilities for hidden additional expense... and not wanting to "lose their shirt" even if the contractor "needs the work" ;)

At least the church has the forethought to keep the pipe organ in place until resources are made available for its restoration in future rather than scrapping it ;)

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 11, 2011, 04:08:00 AM

At least the church has the forethought to keep the pipe organ in place until resources are made available for its restoration in future rather than scrapping it ;)


We are about to acquire an organ which had the same intent in 1986 when they installed their electronic.  The elctronic organ installers trampled the Great pipes and heaped most of them in the Swell, on top of the Swell pipes.  The organ is now going.  Good for me though, as its the organ I learnt to play on!
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on March 11, 2011, 04:16:23 AM
We are about to acquire an organ which had the same intent in 1986 when they installed their electronic.  The elctronic organ installers trampled the Great pipes and heaped most of them in the Swell, on top of the Swell pipes.  The organ is now going.  Good for me though, as its the organ I learnt to play on!

Dear Jonathan

I don't think it would hurt here to actually name the electronic installers who did such callous damage to pipework . . .

(One of my projects recently has been to develop effective speakers to enable such an instrument to be mothballed without such risks to pipes . . .)

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis on March 11, 2011, 01:43:00 PM
This is a quote from their recent magazine;
Readers will be aware that there has been concern over a lengthy period now about the deteriorating condition of the church organ, and debate about how to deal with the problem. I reported in the December edition of "Voice" that the PCC would return to this difficult issue at its January meeting.
The PCC passed a resolution that "in view of the deteriorating condition of the pipe organ, and in the light of current pressures on the church's resources, the PCC considers that a digital organ should be acquired, but only when financial circumstances permit". This view is being taken because a digital organ would be a great deal cheaper than restoring the pipe organ, and the sound it produced in the trial was good, in the view of most churchgoers.
It should be emphasised that the church is not in a financial position to acquire a digital organ in the near future. There are other demands on any capital resources which come to hand, such as repair of the chancel roof, and in any case, the church has an ongoing problem meeting day-to-day running costs. If anyone wishes to contribute towards a digital organ, the PCC Treasurer would be pleased to receive donations.

John Clotworthy, Churchwarden

They seem to have been very badly advised, I wonder who they are buying the digital organ from.

Barrie
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 11, 2011, 09:25:56 PM
I wish they would contact us, after all we are not very far away, and we would be able to show them what could be done, on very little money, to keep the organ in playing order and relatively good condition until further restoration work could be undertaken.  If anyone knows anyone at the church, het them to contact me on 07836 299025 or at organbuilder@jonathan-lane.org.uk ad I will be happy to arrange a visit, and we don't charge for the visit either!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 11, 2011, 09:27:27 PM
We are about to acquire an organ which had the same intent in 1986 when they installed their electronic.  The elctronic organ installers trampled the Great pipes and heaped most of them in the Swell, on top of the Swell pipes.  The organ is now going.  Good for me though, as its the organ I learnt to play on!

Dear Jonathan

I don't think it would hurt here to actually name the electronic installers who did such callous damage to pipework . . .

(One of my projects recently has been to develop effective speakers to enable such an instrument to be mothballed without such risks to pipes . . .)

Best wishes

David P

As much as would like to, I think it would be better for people to work it out for themselves, needless to say, we are talking about a major manufacturer, and it was a bespoke organ.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on March 12, 2011, 05:29:23 PM
I wish they would contact us, after all we are not very far away, and we would be able to show them what could be done, on very little money, to keep the organ in playing order and relatively good condition until further restoration work could be undertaken.  If anyone knows anyone at the church, het them to contact me on 07836 299025 or at organbuilder@jonathan-lane.org.uk ad I will be happy to arrange a visit, and we don't charge for the visit either!

Jonathan


I have only just registered as a member here, I have done so on the suggestion of Brian Daniels.
Both he and I are former organists of this church and are both saddened at the present situation.

Jonathan and others have put their fingers on an important point here.  To the best of our knowledge no reputable organ builder - not even Michael Farley who is currently responsible for tuning and maintenance - has been asked to quote for any repairs to the action now deemed necessary.   The figures of £70/80K being banded about by the churchwardens and the present organist would seem to have been picked out of thin air as part of what can only be described as 'scaremongering' of the uninitiated.

I concurr with the others about the stupidity of spending even £30K on a digital job that can only last up to 20 years and then be redundant.  Surely this is not good stewardship.

Letter and emails have been sent to BIOS, the Diocesan Secretary, the Archdeacon of Taunton and others pointing out the above in the hope that 'Authority' will play it's part in assuring that no ridiculous toaster is allowed into that wonderful building on a permanent basis.

May common sense prevail

.........John.   
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: twanguitar on March 13, 2011, 12:53:44 AM
Sorry, but I think the jibe on the name of the churchwarden at Crewkerne is not worthy of any forum. No argument can be won like that, more likely lost.  Let's stop behaving like kids, can we?

Maybe a moderator worthy of the name might feel moved to delete this post.

TG
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on March 13, 2011, 04:17:08 AM
Dear TG

Thanks for taking a well deserved sideswipe at one of our moderators - it was an "NPA comment" which might have been thought by many but left unsaid . . . but I would not want to be po-faced enough to remove it, particularly as it might draw attention of the worthy gentleman concerned to look at the commonsense and expert opinions expressed in this thread. We all drop clangers at times and the noise can draw attention to an important issue. However I'd hope that good humour may prevail . . . and that the whole situation may be resolved happily ever after.

John - thanks for joining the forum and joining in and you express some very appropriate thoughts.

For my own part, recently I have been consulted by an organist of a number of parishes in the west, one of which has an electronic organ. The instrument is a commercial instrument which causes the organist no end of frustration both in terms of realism and of voicing, to which really the electronic manufacturers haven't paid a lot of attention or expertise. The technology is specialised and to my knowledge there is only one person in the country who knows whether that instrument can be voiced and what equipment is needed to do it. Whilst parts may be available theoretically after 15 - 20 years, the changing technology means that the people who know what to do with them have moved on, forgotten, retired, died. In contrast, pipe organ technology is immortal.

For my own part, I try to enable the presentation of the repertoire of the King of Instruments inspirationally on the concert platform, and this is not possible effectively with the very nice pipe organ in the house. Accordingly I use a digital instrument which served a dozen years in a Northern Ireland cathedral. In its three manual incarnation as built, it was known to be remarkably effective, but I found its tonal scheme bored after a while. I enlarged it to 5 manuals, principally enabling substition of two poor stops, the Great Diapason and the Swell Voix Celestes,  but in the process enabling the instrument to do so much more. It does it so well that it's exciting to play, even if daunting, and inspirational to hear.

It does what it's intended to do . . . but that is now far removed from the needs of parish worship which would be perfectly adequately and well served by the pipe organ . . . Parishes need not be seduced by the desire to do more than that . . .

Furthermore, I had an accident with the voicing box a few months ago and the result appeared catastrophic. Only one person in the country knew what to do. The makers certainly weren't answering the telephone on a Friday night nor a Saturday morning . . . and did not answer an email till the Tuesday. Luckily a member here on this forum knew personally the one man who knew what to do. . . . and it's not written in the instruction book nor service manual. (Note to self - for total reset press the BURN button with the instrument off and hold it down whilst switching on . . . How obscure can that be? [Rude comments inherently invited but better left unsaid please!])

It is also apparent that a mouse has got into the instrument, luckily with the result that the swell manual is behaving as a 56 note rather than a 61 note manual . . . . What luck it is that that is the only trouble. When the mouse attacks next, the instrument is more likely to be a total write off.

Bets taken on how long the instrument will last . . . But as a concert instrument, I'm using it to inspire and give experience to young organists whilst it lasts . . . and it has taken the greatest attention to voicing and in particular expertise in speaker design to achieve the purity of
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNCUbsqsiac
and I doubt that any commercially produced instrument comes up to the perfection of the Tuba coming in shortly after 02:25 (fast forward to there!) in
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0Fl0dHpvVw and again with the jolly tune at 10:27

If the parish think that that's what they're going to get from a commercial instrument, they should think again. . .

Perhaps if we ask the current organist to perform at Hammerwood he'll be very happy to have the old pipe organ instead back in playing order at St Bartholomew's.

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 13, 2011, 06:33:35 AM
Welcome to the forum John, and thanks for your comments about Crewkerne.  As I've already more than hinted at, we would love to have a go out sorting out their problems.  Hopefully sanity will prevail!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 13, 2011, 06:41:28 AM
Sorry, but I think the jibe on the name of the churchwarden at Crewkerne is not worthy of any forum. No argument can be won like that, more likely lost.  Let's stop behaving like kids, can we?

Maybe a moderator worthy of the name might feel moved to delete this post.

TG

I have to agree with this.  We are all, I hope, trying to change the situation at Crewkerne for what would be considered preferable by many, retention of a playing pipe organ!  We need to work with those at the church to show this is not only possible, but relatively straightforward and no where near as expensive as they think. 

On the second point, being a member of another forum which operates stricter policies, I feel that the freedom given to posters here is important.  A little care from posters is probably a good thing, but frank, open discussion, about salient points is more important than heavy moderation to be politically correct to the nth degree.  Just my thoughts!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: revtonynewnham on March 13, 2011, 02:24:30 PM
Hi

As one of the moderators, I decided to let the person concerned look again at his post and change it if he feels it's necessary.  As David says, (and he's the board owner) open discussion & free speech is what this forum is about.  Personally, I didn't find the comment that bad - but then, I hadn't noticed the churchwarden's name - or rather, it hadn't stuck when I read the earlier post several days ago. 

Damage to pipe organs by electronic installers (and others) is sadly, only too common.

Every Blessing

Tony
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis on March 13, 2011, 08:01:43 PM
As the post I made was meant to be funny and I did apologise after, I have deleted it.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on March 13, 2011, 08:41:22 PM
As the post I made was meant to be funny and I did apologise after, I have deleted it.

:-) It would have been sad if the funny thought had not brought a smile to anyone's faces . . .

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: KB7DQH on March 14, 2011, 05:04:43 PM
Quote
(Note to self - for total reset press the BURN button with the instrument off and hold it down whilst switching on . . . How obscure can that be? [Rude comments inherently invited but better left unsaid please!])

Well that bit did bring a  ;D to my face... It must be pointed out  whoever came up with that procedure HAS a sense of humor...  :o ;)

Eric
KB7DQH
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on March 14, 2011, 05:26:17 PM
May I assure Barrie that when I first heard the name of Crewkerne's churchwarden I nearly spilt my G & T.
The fact that he is also spouting such rubbish is both an added delight and aggravation.

I shall be trying to arrange a meeting with the gentleman, to point him in the direction of this forum and to explain the feelings of so many of us with regard to this impending tragedy. 

Jonathan - your offer is generous but I fear they are pretty much blinkered and deaf.

Incidentally, the demonstration 'organ' was a Makin and in the church for only a couple of weeks, much to the releif of quite a few members of the congregation.

Regards ................ John
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 15, 2011, 03:48:29 AM
Thanks for your comments John, I fear that too.  Unfortunately, my feeling is they have made up their mind that an electronic is the way to go, without spending much time looking at all the possibilities.  I am not going to specifically comment on the abilities of the organist, and I do not know him, but in general, electronic organs tend to be chosen where there is an issue with competant organists.  However, as I say, I do not know the gentleman, and as far as I know he is perfectly capable.  Generally the only other musical reason is because the existing organ is inadequate for the choir repertoire, surely not the case at Crewkerne.

I'm sorry to hear that it is Makin, not that I have anything against their organs, and have played a few, but it was Makin who vandalised the pipework I mentioned earlier. I already have some photographs of this, and will take some further ones once we start dismantling.  I was never impressed with the Makin installation at said church, pretty much a disaster from the outset and a far inferior organ to the instrument it replaced, a 1937 Walker!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on March 15, 2011, 04:30:33 AM
Hi!

I witnessed a leading concert organist playing a battle of the organs at a church in the south of East Sussex where, on account of the speakers used by Makin, their three manual instrument sounded not like an organ in real life but an organ through a hifi system. Accordingly the single manual pipe organ won the battle.

I fully support use of electronics for concert purposes and for practice instruments . . . but not for the displacement of pipe organs.

It's sad that Barrie removed his comment about the WORTHY gentleman in charge of making a decision as it might have caused his ire to be raised so that his attention might be drawn to this thread and engaged in informed discussion. There appears to be a BLOCK in communication . . . .  Can no-one associated with the church's decision making progress be contacted?

Is this not starting to look like an act of vandalism worthy of Albany New York?

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis on March 15, 2011, 01:43:34 PM
HI

I will add it again David, I removed it in view of TGs comment. (If you wish!!!!!)

I have the contact details of the Archdeacon of Taunton if any member would like to write to him directly, I am unsure what he can do at this stage as I don't know if they have got as far as applying for a Faculty. Could I invite Barry Williams to comment on the legalities involved in both applying for a Faculty and the process involved.

Several years ago I helped with both the sales and installation of Makin instruments, I remember spending a couple of days at one Methodist Church removing, packing and storing the pipework of their old organ before Makins team arrived. I know at least this pipework is safe!!!

I regularly play one of Makins large 3 manual "Monarche" instruments, the tonal quality is very poor but this is simply caused by the poor speakers and amplification.

One of my friends is a Vicar to a group of Parishes within the Ilminster Deanery, I will try and find out who the organ advisor is, but if the Church has made its mind up to go the electronic route only lack of funds and a failed Faculty application can stop this.

I can only hope sense prevails and the pipeorgan is repaired, as Jonathan says work can be carried out without a major rebuild to keep it playing.

Barrie
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on March 15, 2011, 04:00:33 PM
The faculty process is straightforward.  The petition is usually submitted by the incumbent and churchwardens, though in certain circumstances other persons may do so.  A standard and lengthy form is provided for the purpose.  That form is sent to the Diocesan Registry with full details of the work proposed and a copy of the PCC minute approving the proposal.  (Sometimes, usually when non-church people apply for a faculty, that is not included.)

A Public Notice is displayed on notice boards and other places for two or three weeks.  This gives people living in the parish or on the Electoral Roll of the church an opportunity to enter objection.  Persons not so qualified may, for good reason, enter objection, such as a relative of the original donor of an item to be moved, etc.  Certain bodies, ('amenity societies') e.g. The Victorian Society,  may be invited to comment, or even to enter objection.  It is possible for persons to make comment without actually entering objection, though obviously, such comments carry very much less weight in evidential terms.

The Diocesan Advisory Committe is always asked by the chancellor to comment on the proposals, though in almost every caset the DAC has been involved well before the petitioners complete the petition form.

If there is formal objection the diocesan judge (the 'Chancellor' or, in the Diocese of Canterbury, the 'Commissary General',) holds a court at which the matter is tried in consistory court in the ordinary way, with witnesses, cross-examination, opening and closing speeches, etc.  The loser usually (but not always) gets to pay the costs, which can be significant.  (Sometimes upwards of £10,000, for in the eccelisastical jurisdiction, unlike the secular courts, petitioners pay for the correspondence, theregistrar's fees, as well as for the judge's time.)  In certain circumstances the costs can even be awarded to the winner if, as has sometimes happened, an 'amenity society' or even a consultee, has behaved in such a way as to cause the petitioners to incur costs. 

There has been a tendency on the part of objectors to 'have a go' and conduct the case themselves.  This can be very unwise, especially if the petitioners have instructed Counsel.  Occasionally, the court will 'hear the case on paper', so that the is no public hearing.  This requires as much, if not more, forensic skill than a full-scale oral trial.

It is doubtful whether someone without a specific qualification (i.e. residence in the parish, or name on the parochial electoral roll,) would be permitted to raise objection.  In any event, the chancellor will decide the case on the evidence, which will include he costs of restoring the pipe organ.  He or she may decide to grant a faculty for an electronic instrument whilst specifying that the pipe organ must remain.

The consistory court has powers of injuction and can order unauthorised works to be restored, occasionally at the personal cost of those at fault.  (There is case law on this, involving organs.)

There is a common law presumption that pipe organs are the norm, but this is tempered by the financial needs of parishes in the short term and often by other considerations.  There have been numerous consistory courts over electronic instruments.  I cannot think of one where permission, even for a limited period, was not granted.

I advise great caution before getting involved in the legal process by objecting.  The ecclesiastical law has teeth and sometimes will bite.

One Board Member has suggested that the churchwarden should be directed to this Board in respect of the issues over this particular instrument.  Given the tone of some of the postings that would, in my view, be counter productive.  It seems to me that there is insufficient information available to any Board Members at present to form a reasonable view of what is going on.

Equally, it is very unwise for anyone to suggest that the present instrument could be repaired or restored until a qualified organ builder has been invited by the church to undertake a full survey, the report of which would, of course, be sent as a confidential document to the PCC. 

I add one personal thought.  As much harm has been done to the cause of pipe organs by the installation of 'neo-baroque'
organs, unsuited to the accompaniment of divine worship, as has been done by electronic instruments.  The idea that tracker action and higher pitched stops are the answer to all prayers is a false and unhelpful notion.  Further, the track record of quite a few modern mechanical actions is far from satisfactory.

Barry Williams

Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis on March 15, 2011, 05:42:51 PM
Thank you Barry for your post which detailed the procedure in great detail for us.

I agree with your comments about some mechanical actions.

Barrie
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on March 15, 2011, 06:29:20 PM
 Barry  -  My sincere thanks too, your post clearly lays out what I (we all) should know.

 Barrie  -   I have just sent off an email to the Archdeacon of Taunton, he is well aware of what's going on.

............. John
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on March 15, 2011, 06:49:16 PM
Jonathan  -  The organist at Crewkerne is perfectly competent and played a mean Buxtehude (on the Makin - eeekk) when I last heard him.   I believe he also has a background in electrical engineering!!!!!

As you suggest, the Rothwell is fine for choral accompaniment but because it it's position, the south transept, the sound does not quite so easily get to the nave.   Mark you, with shrinking congregations that is hardly a problem.   For such a large church the acoustics are not favourable.

.................. John
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 16, 2011, 01:39:49 AM

It seems to me that there is insufficient information available to any Board Members at present to form a reasonable view of what is going on.


My understanding is that two members of this board are very well qualified to comment on the particular instrument in question, having both been organists of the church, one also having rebuilt the organ!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on March 16, 2011, 03:38:38 AM

It seems to me that there is insufficient information available to any Board Members at present to form a reasonable view of what is going on.


My understanding is that two members of this board are very well qualified to comment on the particular instrument in question, having both been organists of the church, one also having rebuilt the organ!

Jonathan






I wrote about 'what is going on', whereas you are suggesting that two Board Members can comment about the particular instrument. The two are quite different.  The issues are clearly wider than just the rebuilding of the organ. 

Familiarity with the organ does not mean that one is fully appraised of all the relevant issues.

Barry Williams




Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 16, 2011, 03:57:19 AM
Having been in contact with one of those members, he is fully aware of what IS going on, and still resident in the parish.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 16, 2011, 03:59:15 AM
However, to correct what I believe is a misunderstanding, this discussion, while being emotively driven by some about the church, is actually about the cost of the work to the instrument, as compared to the cost of an electronic organ.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on March 16, 2011, 05:35:47 AM
Let me try to clarify 'what is going on'.   Of the two previous organists at Crewkerne Brian Daniels still lives in the parish.   I am in the next town a few miles away.   Brian's wife is a member of the congregation.

Jonathan is quite right.   As well as upholding the tradional values of the pipe organ we are concerned about the rasining of funds and the eventual spending of same.   Our contention is simply that if they are having to raise money anyway WHY are they NOT willing to spend it on repairing or restoring the Rothwell action.  As has been noted on here, the churchwarden is now actively and SPECIFICALLY asking for donations to purchase a toaster.    I believe this to be nothing short of ludicrous and unwise use of public donations, especially when mis-information and fabrications appear to be the basis of their proposal.   The 'sweetener' being offered to the opposers is that the Rothwell will be 'mothballed' until such time as money is available for a restoration.   Can't they see that the money WILL be available, so why spend it on a short-term-fill-the-gap project.    We all know that pipes last for centuries, electonics don't - straight forward as that.

It is tragic that no reputable organ builder has been asked to inspect the action and submit a quotation.

Needless to say there have been a number of 'goings on' around the parish and in the local media.  Many members of the congregation are opposed to the scheme, unfortunately there are a couple of wealthy folk who are probably being persuaded to stump up. 

I intend to try and arrange a meeting with the gentleman - he of the glorious name! - and will report back  here.

.............................John
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on March 16, 2011, 01:48:09 PM
Thank you John, from reading your post I am relieved there are people that do not agree with the electronic organ concept at Crewkerne.  As previously said, we would be very happy to meet the church authorities, if they desire such a meeting.  We spend a great deal of our tiime keeping instruments in playing order where funds are limited.  Whilst we enjoy the large jobs, we believe that the small scale work we do to help churches realise their dreams and aspirations about their pipe organ is equally important and we spend a great deal of time and effort ensuring the work is of the highest quality.  Our speciality is electrical actions and tracker, partly because my training was as a communications engineer, however pneumatics do not cause us any issues either.  My Budepest trained assistant has recently completely releathered the puffers for the Compton pedal chests we are using at Astwood Bank, and absolutely beautiful hey look too.  Ferenc is meticulous about ensuring the work is of the highest order, as am I.  Therefore, work on the action a Crewkerne, whilst probably extensive, is not an onerous task.  Anyway, here's hoping they church decides to have the work done to the pipe organ, rather than use a short term stop gap, whether they choose us or any other organ builder!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams 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



Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Estimates and charging
Post by: dragonser 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: revtonynewnham 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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,
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin 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


Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John 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
 
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis 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
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 16, 2011, 05:22:14 AM
Although the topic has deviated slightly there some interesting points arising from the discussion on electronics. The loudspeaking and amplification equipment can be engineered to suit local conditions but the aspect of authentic generation of the sound sources is the key to proper organesque quality. Few, if any, commercial machines have more than a single clock generator from which all the notes are mathematically derived resulting in a sterile quality of sound which Lesley speakers and other phase shiftng devices attempt to mask. On the other hand, a pipe organ will have 100s or 1000s of independent voices.
(The Miller Organ Company built multiple generator analogue organs in the 1960s) .
A good analogy is to compare a chorus of 20 violins playing in unison with one amplified the equivalent of 20 times.

Making electronic organs, digital or analogue with 1000 or so voices would be cost prohibitive.

will o the wind.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on May 16, 2011, 02:48:38 PM
The loudspeaking and amplification equipment can be engineered to suit local conditions but the aspect of authentic generation of the sound sources is the key to proper organesque quality. Few, if any, commercial machines have more than a single clock generator from which all the notes are mathematically derived resulting in a sterile quality of sound

Hi!

Certainly this is true with off the shelf instruments. It is particularly apparent in the excellence of quality of the sound of the Hammerwood instrument where, originally in order to overcome defects on two stops and then to provide versatility, the instrument uses at least 9 generators on different clocks and when an organist registers on a mix-n-match basis choosing stops from the different sections, the effect leaves any sense of electronics receding into the background. If however, an organist is tempted to choose all the stops from the original Great for full organ, the sound is good but recognisably electronic. Overcoming these problems is not possible from an off the shelf solution.

However, speakers are crucial. I don't like _any_ two way speakers except possibly Tannoy Dual Concentrics with which I am experimenting currently although have reservations about the crossover frequencies. I was thrown out of the Hauptwerk Forum for suggesting that Mackie active monitors were really not designed for presenting the sound of an organ pipe as a real pipe . . . and the current generation of software geeks are two young to know much about 1950s - 1970s hifi where physics of acoustic principles sorted out problems that the current generation think are best soluble by software, which they are not. Conventional hi-fi or PA approaches will lead to a sound which is as good as conventional hifi or PA and no better. I started to hint at a philosophy of approach to making a loudspeaker sound like a real pipe but annoyed many by refusing to specify a definitive approach publicly as it is against the interests of pipe organs to enable parishes such as this one referred to in this thread firstly to think (even mistakenly) that they can get an instrument as good as their pipe organ let alone to publish details publicly of how to go about it . . . (to the best that anyone can, although it still cannot be as good as their original instrument!)

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on May 16, 2011, 05:29:44 PM
With respect to the two authors of the above, and I mean respect because they are talking a language I don't understand, their posts have nothing whatsoever to do with St Bartholomew's Crewkerne.   Perhaps a new and completely seperate Topic and Subject should be started, I don't understand how that works either!

I and many others are concerned about a magnificent 15th century building, the pretty OK Rothwell that resides there and the ridiculous situation the PCC have got themsleves into due to pressure from - who knows where? - some of us do!

Regards ........ John
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin on May 16, 2011, 07:22:56 PM
With respect to the two authors of the above, and I mean respect because they are talking a language I don't understand, their posts have nothing whatsoever to do with St Bartholomew's Crewkerne.


Dear John


It's probably that the authors above are pointing out the extent to which in swapping their good pipe organ for a commercially produced and promoted product off the shelf they will be sold a pup. Those responsible for fundraising of course won't want to admit that for some considerable time after the poor decision has been taking and music at the church will suffer for at least a generation until the newfangled confounded thing packs up or bores the congregation away. Some priests are like that too.


When one has a winning formula that's then broken, it's a much bigger problem ever to recover. In this case, repair of the pipe organ and repair of the roof are clearly the winning formulae.


Best wishes


Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: KB7DQH on May 16, 2011, 07:47:13 PM
I quite agree the roof really needs to be dealt with first... Others on this forum have been witness to what can happen to an otherwise serviceable pipe  instrument that isn't designed to be used outdoors :o :(

I can only imagine the deterioration for which their current instrument suffers has been needlessly accelerated for lack of prompt action on the roof...  and under these conditions an electronic substitute
relying on water-soluble electromechanical transducers won't last anywhere near as long as "advertised"... and certainly would have considerably diminished resale value in the event the pipe organ does receive the attention it deserves.

As far as the discussions begun as a result of me drawing attention to the plight of a church congregation feeling squeezed financially and thus their organ in danger of being lost in the future due to neglect... none have really strayed horribly "off-topic".  All have contributed to a better understanding of issues facing other congregations the world over.  Other posts elsewhere on this forum celebrate the results of church organizations who have managed to overcome these difficulties 8) ;)  in the hope that the scene so graphically depicted on the forum front page...
doesn't happen... again.

Eric
KB7DQH

Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on May 16, 2011, 10:01:57 PM
@ Eric        To clarify - the organ in St. Bart's is nowhere near the chancel but in the south transpet, well away from any dodgy roof.   The present action problem is not the result of ingress of water but of wear, as pointed out in the report I posted a few days ago.   That report is not by me but passed to me by a person with intimate knowledge of the innards of this instrument.

Also I have previously made it clear that the funds for roof repairs and funds for the purchase of a toaster are two entirely separate, ongoing appeals so there is no question of one before the other, though I quess they will get the £10K before the £100K.   In that case let's hope they put the stupid thing in the chancel and it gets rained upon!!     

@Admin      You beautifully and concisely paraphrase the long and technical contributions from David and will o the wind with your "sold a pup" - perfect.   The trouble is that it's the next generation that will have to put right the silly wrongs of the current PCC.

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

Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 18, 2011, 05:37:07 AM
I  admit that I may have assisted in steering the topic off course but I was keen to point out  the fundamental weaknesses of commercial toasters which are not always appreciated by would be punters.
Back to the topic proper now and having read the various posts I wonder if there is a hidden agenda which has little to do with the technical integrity of the instrument. For example, is it thought that the church's finances could be improved given the mistaken belief that maintenance costs are zero
 as result of ceasing the tuning contract?
Just a thought.

will o the wind.
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Jonathan Lane on May 18, 2011, 01:58:24 PM
I'm sure they have been told by buting an electronic the maintenance costs are zero, however, I know from the thousands that have had to be spent on relatively new electronics to keep them playing this is simply untrue.

As regards the roof, I would not do any work to the organ while any part of the roof is at risk, even if there was no risk of damp, the dirt and dust risk to the organ, even hundreds of feet away, and even if properly sealed while the work is being done, is far too severe.

As for this thread being off topic at any point, I think it has stuck pretty well to the real versus electronic argument, and the detail goes a long way to help make the case at Crewkerne.

As said before, if there was a real desire to do something, we would be happy to look and quote, but I think the PCC are blinkered on this.

A final anecdote.  When I was taking my ARCO, I lived in a little village in Dorset.  The church was 'lucky' enough to have two organs, a two manual Viscount and the old one manual, short pedalboard, Walker.  I did nearly all my practice for ARCO, Bach, Messiaen, etc., on the Walker!

Jonathan
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on May 18, 2011, 03:44:37 PM
"............a two manual Viscount and the old one manual, short pedalboard, Walker.  I did nearly all my practice for ARCO, Bach, Messiaen, etc., on the Walker!"

This is fine at ARCO level, but for a pupil at Grade Four a reasonably standard pedal board is essential.  Indeed,
the ABRSM might even insist on it.

In respect of Crewkerne, I wonder what all the erudition of pipe versus electronic instrument on this Board is intended to achieve.

Has anyone been  invited to addresss the parochial church council in a measured way, taking into account all the factors? There may well be important factors that should be taken into account which have not been mentioned here.

My concern is that a situation has been publicly discussed on this Board without those in Crewkerne being given an opportunity to respond.  That seems to me to be inherently unfair and inappropriate.

Ultimately, the decision on Crewkerne will be taken by the Diocesan Chancellor, a professional judge, who will consider all the facts, evidence and information put before him.  That will be an objective and measured decision and will have due regard to the parish church as a centre of worship and mission, not just the desire to have a pipe organ, however meritorious that aim might be.

There have been a number of cases where an electronic instrument has been installed whilst building work is undertaken, the most famous case being that of Chichester Cathedral.  Jonathan's wise words should be heeded by all those involved in organs.  Far too often expensive work is spoiled by dust and dirt. 

Barry Williams
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 18, 2011, 07:55:10 PM
Barry Williams is quite right  that  the church should state its case and I assume that is what many of us are waiting for. According to John's post on April 24th they were advised of the existence of this topic being ventilated on this site so they have had ample opportunity.

As to the Chancellor's judicial review I was assuming that this is a stage everyone was hoping would be avoided and the whole thing nipped in the bud before the formalities kick in. If the donations for the toaster are achieved this will put pressure on the DAC; ie the achieved financial target being the essential evidence a professional judge would undoubtedly take into account.
Given the various problems which seem to abound reading these posts and reading John's recent one, a 'little dust' here and there will seem 'small beer'!

will o the wind
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on May 18, 2011, 08:23:46 PM
"As to the Chancellor's judicial review I was assuming that this is a stage everyone was hoping would be avoided and the whole thing nipped in the bud before the formalities kick in. If the donations for the toaster are achieved this will put pressure on the DAC; ie the achieved financial target being the essential evidence a professional judge would undoubtedly take into account."

May I comment on what may be a common misconception here?

Every faculty petition requires a decision by the Diocesan Chancellor, whether or not there are objections.  A Consistory Court is sometimes held when there are no objections, but the Chancellor considers the case should be tested.  Sometimes the Archdeacon is instructed to oppose the petition (whether or not he or she supports it) in order to test the evidence.

In my experience the raising of funds for a particular course of action has no influence whatsoever on either the DAC or the Chancellor.  Indeed, under charity law, it has been necessary, in other cases, to offer to refund donations for an unsuccessful scheme.

I cannot but feel that we may not know all the facts.  Having dealt with many such cases as a Diocesan Organs Adviser I know that these cases are rarely simple and do not turn on merely 'pipe versus electronic'.

Barry Williams

Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 19, 2011, 01:07:39 AM
I take Barry's points about the issue of fund raising although one hopes any treasurer
would make  meticulous records of contributions. My main thrust was the avoidance of 'due process' ie the principle of avoiding the petitioning issue by ensuring a  proper technical evaluation by an independent adviser which by all accounts has not happened here. From the info. so far
posted it seems that there is not a great deal wrong with the Rothwell but presently no scope for a fund for its essential maintenance. In other words acquisition of a toaster seems to be an end in itself rather than the means.

will o the wind
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: John on May 19, 2011, 02:36:47 AM
Gentlemen - we are all going around in circles here!

Yes, I did inform churchwarden JC about this site and this thread.  I recall his words  - "the issue has been discussed at the PCC, a resolution to purchase a digital organ has been passed, the matter is put to bed and will not be reopened".    Their stance is clear and I guess little can be done about that.  The phrase I have used before (and I notice Jonathan has picked up!) is that they appear to be both blinkered and deaf.  Therefore it is highly unlikely that anyone from Crewkerne PCC will be bothered to look here and see all the posting about their church and organ. However, there are many in the congregation who are unhappy with this state of affairs.   I am hoping to organize a meeting of some 'sympathetic' folk but whether they can be stirred enough to make their voices heard at this late stage is a matter for conjecture.  As I have said before, strong-willed people seem to have pushed this through.

By the way, JC assured me the treasurer is keeping a note of who donates what,  I was told it was very little to date, that was several weeks ago.

Yes, I do believe there is a hidden agenda here and I will be quite open - if I have gone too far and this is libel will Admin please remove, but leave it long enough for members to read first.

(1) It is possible the organist is embarrased by some of the ocassional short cyphers and perhaps he is making out the situation is worse than it really is.  (2) Maybe he has been a bit seduced [is it possible to be a BIT seduced?!!] by all the stopknobs, pistons, power and 'shiny' bits of the Makin that was on loan for a couple of weeks.   (3) There may have been a threat of resignation.
 
Probably there is more to it but I don't have any other inklings.  Yes, it could well be as petty as that.

I imagine work on the chancel roof to be years away and I'm sure that if Michael Farley is still attending the Rothwell he will make sure it is well protected with plastic sheeting, as he did for my Tickell at Honiton when part of the aisle ceiling collapsed.

Just about everything everyone has said is valid and it's good the Barry yet once again lays out the legal aspect.

Going back to the sentiment of my opening statement - do we all, myself  definitely included, read, mark and inwardly digest what has previously been posted before dashing off a reply?  just a thought.

Peace and Love :) ......... John
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on May 19, 2011, 05:15:27 AM
Looking at NPOR and the church's website it appears that about nineteen of the thirty five speaking stops are either not original, or have been re-voiced, or altered in some way.  The console is not original.  The stop list suggests that this instrument has been subjected to the 1970s style of neo-baroque additions, insofar as the choir organ is now a 'Positive'.  According to NPOR the instrument does not have the original Rothwell action seemingly alluded to on this Board in earlier posts.  In 1982 there was as 'conversion to EP action'.

Is the organ in Crewkerne now an example of a Rothwell meriting conservative treatment?  It seems that it has undergone significant alteration that may well have affected its character and tone.  There is a photograph of it in its original state in Stephen Keeble's excellent book on Rothwell.

I recall, with much discomfort, tonal alterations of the type apparently undertaken at Crewkerne, in a fine church on the south coast with a superb music tradition.  A magnificent romantic organ underwent 'neo-baroque' additions and has never sounded well since.  It is certainly much less effective in the accompaniment of divine worship than it was before various stops were altered. 

I do wonder whether Crewkerne has suffered similar ill-judged alterations.  If it were in its original condition, tonally at least, or something like it, the parish might have been able to obtain some grant money, which would encourage them to restore the pipe organ.  As it appears from NPOR and the church's website, the organ has been drastically altered in a manner I hope no-one would now do.

Barry Williams




A
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 19, 2011, 05:32:57 AM
Quite possibly, Barry but then again most of the cathedral organs in the land have been messed about with by someone; some quite severely.

will o the wind
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on May 19, 2011, 06:09:59 AM
Absolutely, and some of them not very well. 

However, cathedrals use their instruments so often that they have to have them in good order, so repair and restoration is invariably a must. 

Parish churches, particularly those without an established musical tradition, use the organ for perhaps two hours a week.  That is not a powerful driver for restoration.

Interestingly, one early post (by a former board member) suggested recovering the pipework that has not been altered and using it in an otherwise new instrument.  It was that post that made me look at the NPOR.  I do wonder if the sympathetic folk in the congregation are aware of the extent to which this organ has been changed, apparently out of its basic character.

I hve only played a couple of Rothwells, but I found them to be effective and beautiful in tone, even though the idiosyncratic stop controls were difficult to get used to.  The pipes were extremely well made as were the consoles.  I understand that the stop controls were very complex and had many moving parts, which made them expensive to repair.  The 1907 photograph of the original console at Crewkerne, however, has conventional draw stops and looks well in a fine, if slightly heavy, case.  The new console lacks the simple dignity of the original, though any organist would welcome the pistons, etc., that electrification usually brings.

Let us hope that the parish will see fit to restore their organ and, hopefully, make some effort to recover  something of the Rothwell tonal conception. 

Barry Williams

Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: David Pinnegar on May 19, 2011, 08:43:29 AM
My concern is that a situation has been publicly discussed on this Board without those in Crewkerne being given an opportunity to respond.  That seems to me to be inherently unfair and inappropriate.

I wasn't aware that it was that difficult to join this forum and engage in discussion . . . . ?

Best wishes

David P
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin on May 19, 2011, 08:47:18 AM

Said member has returned under a new name, older and hopefully wiser...


From one post that we had to delete the other day made from his brother's account surreptitiously, the final adjective might still not be appropriate  . . .


Best wishes


Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 19, 2011, 09:13:44 PM
I think we need a chairman to keep this on track; I being one of the 'guilty'.

A couple of points please:
1) I have found it  very unreliable to judge an organ by its paper specification;
   go and hear it!  There are many organs with their creators' original spec. which are tonally
   indifferent and very restrictive.

2) As I see it this all started with a report  concerned solely with the reliability of the
   St Barts. organ action. From what I see there have been no reports of  inadequacy
  of the tonal quality over the years and, from John's previous post, a rebuild seems
  not necessary so why is the stop list now on the agenda?

The problem with this thread is that essential  past information seems to be lost to the
 mind as time goes by.

will o the wind
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on May 20, 2011, 03:21:59 AM
"...go and hear it! "

What a good idea.

Do you have details of anyone to contact who might permit access please?

Barry Williams
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: will o the wind on May 20, 2011, 04:20:44 AM
I was making a general point for all organs but you may be able to get some contact info from the St Barts website. However, from what I understand they may be a bit reluctant!

will o the wind
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin on May 20, 2011, 04:11:09 PM
I think we need a chairman to keep this on track; I being one of the 'guilty'.

A couple of points please:
1) I have found it  very unreliable to judge an organ by its paper specification;
   go and hear it!  There are many organs with their creators' original spec. which are tonally
   indifferent and very restrictive.

2) As I see it this all started with a report  concerned solely with the reliability of the
   St Barts. organ action. From what I see there have been no reports of  inadequacy
  of the tonal quality over the years and, from John's previous post, a rebuild seems
  not necessary so why is the stop list now on the agenda?



Hi!


Yes - point taken - the stoplist has been posted by a member whose knowledge of organs comes from paper and stoplist dreams rather than playing experience and who's more likely to post a stoplist and muck around with it just for the sake of romanticisation rather than any particular purpose in mind.


You raise an important point - it may be quite politically dangerous to insert a stoplist into the equation raising all sorts of unnecessary ideas. If you feel that certain posts are dangerous in such a way, please use the report button to send them for moderation and possible deletion.


It is important to keep things on track especially where there is a particular reason for publicising the fate of an organ here.


Best wishes


Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barry Williams on May 20, 2011, 09:13:55 PM
IMPORTANT NOTICE

I have just spoken to The Reverend Tony Newnham. 

We have decided, for several reasons, to close this topic.  Pending the formal action, please do not post any further comments.

Thank you.

Barry Williams
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin on May 22, 2011, 04:34:34 PM
Dear Friends,

There is another thread here about censorship. This forum is free of censorship and of commercial interests (although Google ads might possibly appear to help fund the server  . . . ) but sometimes it's a good idea to take account of wise counsel so I hope that we can all live with the decision of two of our moderators.

One can beat a subject to death and, if the thread is to have its impact in the decision making process - after all, what else is a forum championing the Organ for - it does not need to be diluted. If action is to be achieved, it doesn't happen by simply burying the kernel in a mere talking-shop.

Anyone can do anything and get anywhere they like, given enough time, by taking steps which however small, all lead in the same direction. That direction has been reached here and there's no point in walking backwards nor around in a circle.

The thread therefore is truncated here, not in any way a matter of censorship, but in achievement of purpose.

It is, however, left open for contribution from anyone seeking guidance from amongst those within the Crewkerne decision making process (ie the PCC or Diocese) should they consider that it would be appropriate or helpful in achieving the right decision. The topic has been technically "unlocked" for this specific purpose so request _existing_ members not to post here whilst awaiting any responses from any such PCC member or Dioscesan officer who might like to join and contribute.

Best wishes

Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin on May 30, 2011, 12:48:39 AM
Hi!


I have received a personal communication about this instrument from someone who knows the instrument of which it seems relevant to quote just a little:


Quote
There is some nonsense about authenticity being banded about and taking centre stage . . .
[/size]
[/size][/size]The organ is not defunct but needs some TLC all round.


[/size]W[/size]ith all its history, it produces a decent sound and I frankly prefer it to the Willis in St Mary Mag. Taunton


[/size][/size]They are now faced with a minor maintenance task NOT a rebuild . . .


This puts the matter in perspective here from a very well informed and balanced perspective and I hope that it's helpful to quote it here.


The writer tells me:
Quote
I[/size] could not get the registration to work when I registered earlier and wonder if that is why the Church  haven't posted.


I'm aware there there is a file on the server which the forum is complaining is Read Only and this might possibly be causing a problem. It's hoped to sort this out in the next day or so - so please be patient and try again . . . and report any difficulty to antespam@gmail.com


Best wishes


Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: Barrie Davis on May 30, 2011, 07:29:54 PM
Hi

Thank you for posting this.

Barrie
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: organforumadmin on June 08, 2011, 12:59:16 PM
Hi!
 
We are picking up from forum statistics that the subject matter of this thread is causing some degree of distress to persons unknown, and known only to us through anonymous stats.
 
As a team, although we are aware that issues where there is some degree of controversy are bound to be touching some raw nerves, none of us are aware of any aspect of discussion on this thread which crosses any bounds beyond fair comment and what appears to be a usefully broad consideration of circumstances.
 
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Best wishes
 
Forum Admin
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: raywillis on July 08, 2011, 10:00:28 AM
As the DOA concerned with the organ at St Bartholomew's Crewkerne, it is time, I feel, for me to put the actual present situation on record regarding this fine instrument. First of all though, may I say how good it is to find so many people out there who care sufficiently about this, and many other organ matters, to put pen to paper with their views and support.

When I was consulted regarding the installation of the Trompette en Chemade at Crewkerne, I expressed serious concerns regarding the action of the main organ which, in my view, needed attention quite urgently. This is now beginning to show me right, although I think it unlikely that the organ will become completely unuseable. When I was consulted more recently, following a request for “preliminary informal advice”, I said that if, and when ,the organ became unplayable I would support the temporary installation  (I would suggest no more than five years) of a digital instrument on condition that the Rothwell pipe organ must be put into good order. I also suggested that a fund should be set up to fund a restoration of  the Rothwell organ as soon as possible. I have asked to see proposals and quotations from several organ builders and these have so far not materialised. It is also worth mentioning here that the blower is very noisy and I am concerned that it will need attention before long.

I visited the church on Wednesday 22nd June and can assure everyone that there is no evidence of a digital instrument in the building. The Bath and Wells DAC have only had the above request for “preliminary informal advice”, There has been no application received or granted for a faculty concerning this matter. The Archdeacon of Taunton has asked me to include that the track record of the PCC is one of honest observance of process and law.  As St Bartholomew's have very considerable financial commitments to fulfil concerning the roof of the church, I do not anticipate any further action regarding the organ for quite some time unless something catastrophic occurs.


Ray Willis,  A.R.C.M, A.R.C.O.    Organ Adviser to the Bath & Wells Diocese
Title: Re: St. Bartholomew's Church, Crewkerne, Somerset
Post by: revtonynewnham on July 08, 2011, 10:03:42 AM
Thanks to Ray Willis for that authoritative statement of the position at Crewekerne.

This topic is now CLOSED.

Moderators




Addendum: THANKS to Forum Moderators for their considerable work and to Ray Willis and we hope that he will ask for the topic to be unlocked in due course to update the forum with news of any formal developments. In the meantime, however, we hope that the forum for discussion will have enabled a wider perspective on the course of action to be taken and resulting in a better outcome than might have occurred without it.


This thread is of wider general importance than merely to Crewkerne as in the development of changes to an organ over a long period of time and in the issues faced, it is the story akin to so many instruments and churches.


We hope that others will draw attention to other such instances in due course.


Forum Admin