Minster's classic organ gets some tender care

Halifax Minster's magnificent organ is having some urgent care and attention by the man who has lovingly looked after it for the last 45 years.

John Clough, pictured left, former principal euphonium player in the world famous Black Dyke Band and now in his 80s, is doing the work thanks to a successful appeal last December.

Save Our Organ for Christmas raised enough cash for certain repairs to be carried out during January and February.

Canon Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax said: "John is still our number one man in regular tuning and repairs.

"This wonderful heritage instrument which belongs to the whole town of Halifax reminds us that ‘He who sings, prays twice’ and by its music, transports everyone to a glimpse of heaven."

Meanwhile fundraising is planned to pay for a full restoration by Harrisons of Durham.

The organ was originally built by John Snetzler in around 1770 and was situated on a balcony at the West End of the Minster. Parts were later incorporated into a new model.

In 1878 Sir Gilbert Scott came and re-ordered the building, including moving the organ into the St Barnabas Chapel, situated at the East end on the North Side.

This current organ was the prototype for the new organs in The Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey, and remains one of the largest cathedral-style organs in the Church of England.

This year the instrument celebrates its 90th anniversary with a large appeal to be launched later this year for a full restoration.

The first Organist of Halifax Minster was Sir William Herschel  who went on to become the Astronomer Royal and is buried in Westminster Abbey in Science Corner.

Today, The Minster is served by a thriving music department and the organ supports the two Minster choirs, weekly organ recitals from March to October; and for regular broadcasts on both TV and radio.

Last summer the Minster organist performed Saint Sean's Organ Concerto in a special arrangement for Organ and Brass with Elland Silver Band as part of the Minster Summer Festival, which this year runs from June 27 to July 10.


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