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

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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St Mary’s Organ Pipes

Only 107 years after it was designed, the George Croft pipe organ in St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity has finally received the pipe decoration that was always intended!

George Croft left no indication of design for the pipe decoration so, in consultation with the Selwyn’s Vision Project committee, Studio Carolina Izzo was engaged to design and decorate the pipes. Carolina’s description of the design process is as follows:

“The design began with the classical elements from the Renaissance with the style of the scrolls and the floral patterns. St Mary is acknowledged in a classical scroll of the two letters “A M” for Ave Maria. This “signature” is placed at the top of the largest pipe as a beacon for the Church, saluting Mary, and the many women who have, and who continue to, work and worship within the Anglican faith.

The pipes on either side of the central pipe bear the Fleur de lis – a symbol of Mary. Therefore the three uppermost symbols on the central pipes acknowledge Mary. The banner underneath is a perpetual wave symbolising baptism and faith and also alluding to the natural world of the Pacific and its peoples.

The large design surrounding the languid of the three central pipes, is a bouquet of classical motifs mixed with koru-like scrolls.  The koru is a vital part of Maori design, signifying the unfolding fern frond of our forest floors and also awakening, as the frond threatens to unfurl.  The central part of this design is drawn in to the triquetra or trinity knot, symbolising the holy trinity. The choice of this symbol was inspired by the presence of this motif in the new Bishop Selwyn Chapel.  Above this is the scallop shell, which is a symbol of baptism and also pilgrimage.  The symbol of baptism echoes the place of birth in God’s family and in the society and community of St Mary’s Church.

On the groups of pipes to the left and right of the central pipes the symbol that features most is the star.  This four-pointed golden star (a symbol usually styled to resemble a cross) serves two symbolic purposes – the star represents the birth of Jesus and the purpose for which He was born – to die on the cross.

The colours chosen are a reflection of the interior decorations inside the church.  Blue is very important of course, considering the symbolic association with Mary.  The gold leaf elements for the pipes illuminate well-known religious meaning; spiritually speaking that God is divine, and practically speaking that the material is malleable, long-lasting and beautiful.”

Thank you to Carolina and team for a beautiful and meaningful design. The finished result is truly spectacular!

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St Mary’s Organ Restoration

Simon Pierce and his team from Brisbane are back in NZ for four weeks to install the restored components of St Mary’s pipe organ.

A 20 ft container arrived on St Mary’s Court early yesterday morning and the team spent a rainy day unloading all the parts that have been carefully restored.

They will return after Christmas to finish the installation and ‘voice’ the organ, which will be ready to play before Easter 2017.

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The team from Pierce Pipe Organs (from L): Simon Pierce, Richard, Phillip, Michael (HTC), Derek, Kyle, Thomas

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Pipes on the move!

After a wait of 107 years, the façade pipes of the Croft organ in St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity are having a makeover!

In 1909 George Croft, the designer and builder of the organ, offered the Cathedral the option of stencilling the front pipes, for a grand total of 15 pounds, but unfortunately funds were not forthcoming. Under the Selwyn’s Vision project we are delighted to be able to finally realise this original intention.

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St Mary’s organ pipes in situ (before cleaning and decoration)

Art conservator, Carolina Izzo, is undertaking the design and decoration of the pipes at her Parnell studio.  The first job, however, was to clean more than 50 years of dirt from inside and outside of each pipe.

After every pipe had been washed, the team from Studio Carolina Izzo arrived to apply the primer coat.

The pipes were then carried carefully down Parnell Road to their studio in Scarborough Lane.

The decorated pipes will be returned to Holy Trinity Cathedral and installed back into the organ façade of St Mary’s before Christmas 2016.

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Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir member, Michael Dawson, at work in the Cathedral carpark cleaning the organ pipes
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The clean pipes laid out on the right – note the change in colour after 50 years of dirt removed!

 

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Carolina Izzo (R) with Conservation Assistant, Adele McNutt, assessing the painted pipes

 

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Pipes on the move down Parnell Road!

 

 

 

 

 

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