Cathedral Organ nearly complete

The final team of organ builders from Nicholson’s have completed their installation work of the new Cathedral organ. As a result the last vestiges of scaffolding and fencing have been removed from the Chancel crossing, and for the first time in nearly three years the Cathedral no longer resembles a building site.  Nicholson’s foreman, Tim Bennett, together with his team of Darren, Gavin and Paul, were with us for 6 weeks over March/April, and it was with some sadness that we farewelled them as they have, over the course of the total installation, become very much a part of the Cathedral team.

But all is not quite finished. A team of two voicers from Nicholsons will be joining us in mid-May for the final voicing and tuning of the organ, and our UK-based organ consultant, Mr Paul Hale, will travel to Auckland at the end of May to assist in the final handover process from Nicholson’s to Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Another milestone event for the Selwyn’s Vision project will be the first public playing of the new organ at the Trinity Sunday Service of Choral Eucharist at 10am on 11 June 2017.

The time gap between our first public use of the new Cathedral organ in June, and the Opening Recital on 16 September, is very deliberate. Such a large and new instrument will require a considerable “settling in” period to ensure its five thousand pipes, hundreds of metres of cabling, over 100 circuit boards, plus its complex web of blowers and soundboards, all operate as designed, and in tune.  And then there’s the not insignificant challenge for Philip Smith, Cathedral Organist, and Michael Stoddart, Director of Music, to become totally familiar with the playing of this magnificent instrument.

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The Nicholson team on their last day at the Cathedral. From L – Darren, Gavin, Tim, James and Paul
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Cathedral Organ – Console lifted; Main and West Cases installed

A very busy six weeks for the Nicholson & Co team. Two 40ft containers have arrived and been unpacked; the Main and West cases and façade pipes have been installed; and the building frames, soundboards and wind system are all in place.

But the most exciting part of this phase was the lifting of the fixed console. This console weighs over 400kg and was lifted to its permanent home above the Marsden Chapel using a hoist system between two scaffold towers.

Team One have returned to the UK and we look forward to welcoming Team Two tomorrow for the completion of the installation.

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Cathedral Organ Installation

A busy start to 2017 at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The first weeks of January saw the installation of two massive scaffolding towers, and preparatory works of steel and painting undertaken, ready for the organ builders’ arrival on 23 January.

The first of two containers arrived from the Nicholson & Co factory, Malvern, UK, on 24 January and the install of the North organ has commenced.

The North organ will be a mirror image of the South organ, although the internal components will be different. It is programmed for completion by Easter 2017, after which the voicing of the entire organ will commence.

Welcome back to the first of the Nicholson & Co organ building teams for the North organ install.

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Cathedral Organ Stage 1 completed

After 19 continuous weeks of on-site installation, Stage 1 – the Solo, Swell and Pedal organs – of the Holy Trinity Cathedral organ is complete. And it looks and sounds magnificent! As a foretaste of what is to come, we eagerly await completion next year!

The teams from Nicholson & Co have all returned to the UK where they are hard at work building the remainder of the organ – the Great and Choir organs – in time to ship it to NZ for installation commencing in January 2017.

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Organ voicers, Guy Russell (R) and James Atherton, in front of the completed south organ

Organ scaffolding comes down, Voicers arrive, Pedal Organ revealed

After 9 weeks under wraps behind an enormous height of scaffolding, today the casework covering the Pedal Organ was revealed. This casework, which was designed to complement the rather austere architecture of the Chancel, is absolutely beautiful!

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The scaffold comes down

 

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The Pedal Organ casework revealed

 

Guy Russell and James Atherton arrived on site at Holy Trinity Cathedral this morning to begin the tonal finishing of the new organ.

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Guy Russell (R) and James Atherton in front of the organ console

It will take around 5 weeks to complete the Swell, Solo, and Pedal divisions which comprises around 3,000 pipes, including 4 stops of 32′ pitch.

Organs in August

A busy month for the pipe organs at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Simon Pierce and team were back in the first two weeks of August to continue the restoration work on the St Mary’s organ. While here they fitted sliders seals and repainted the building frame and swell boxes in the original Croft colours.

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The Pierce Pipe Organs team – (L-R) Michael Dawson, Julie Pierce, Simon Pierce, Jamie Hutchinson – with Philip Smith (Cathedral Organist), Michael Stoddart (Director of Music) and the Nicholson team

 

Their visit coincided with the farewell to the second team of Nicholson & Co organ builders installing the Cathedral organ. This second team worked primarily on the installation of the pedal organ with its four 32 ft stops.

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Nicholson team in the pedal organ: (L-R) Gavin Davidge, Paul Daly, Tim Bennett (Site Foreman), Darren Bingham

The third Nicholson team arrived in NZ last week, in time to unload the fifth container of organ components, including the mobile organ console and the pedal organ casework. They have commenced installing the solo and swell organs. The solo organ includes the first complete string chorus from 16 ft to III Cornet de Violes to be built in the UK since World War II, and another first for New Zealand.

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From L-R: Kevin Davies (Site Foreman), Darren Bingham, David Roskelly, Rick Kearsey

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Cathedral Organist, Philip Smith, unveils the mobile console inside Holy Trinity Cathedral