The Organs of St John's
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The Chamber Organ
The chamber organ used to be in the house organ of a parishioner, Paul Ward, a prominent local solicitor and the Diocesan Registrar for many years. Paul was a leading light in the fundraising for the restoration of the main organ some 20 years ago. When he died he left the chamber organ to Whirlow Grange and when they ceased to use it, his widow Audrey (also a longstanding parishioner) agreed that it should be transferred to St John's in 2008 as we could make good use of it.
This organ is of some historical importance and is an essential component of the music programme at St John’s, fulfilling its completely different role from that of its big brother as a suitable accompanying instrument for period services and performances, a very good teaching tool and, as much smaller instrument more appropriate for use when accompanying smaller and more intimate services. We are very fortunate to have this instrument in addition to the main organ.
The Main Organ
The main organ, a three-manual instrument, is generally considered to be one of the finest pipe organs in the area. It was installed in 1888 by Sheffield builder Brindley and Foster. Their organs were prolific, but since the firms closure in 1939, the instruments are becoming increasingly rare. St John’s has always carefully maintained its organ and there have a number of significant rebuilds over its 130 year history. There was a major refurbishment by Nicholson of Worcester in 1963 and a further rebuild by David Wells of Liverpool in 1997. More recently it has been overhauled by Andrew Carter; more details of this work can be found here.
The organ is used daily for teaching, practice, concerts, recitals and for accompanying our sung services . Being a vital component of our music programme it provides the bedrock upon which our choirs flourish and sing. Indeed, we have many requests from organists across the world to visit St John’s to play (either privately or in public) the main organ.
Specification can be found here (external link to the National Pipe Organ Register).