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Complimenting the choral tradition is an organ of equal quality and versatility, and on two Saturdays in March, I was delighted to help in "showing it off" to two very distinctive groups of people.
On March 14th, the church was filled with members of the Institute of British Organ builders, including representatives from the various companies which maintain the organs of most of the cathedrals in the United Kingdom! They spent some time discussing church acoustics and drinking the coffee provided by Janet and Terence Smith before hearing a little of the history of the church and organ from me, and some technical data from Keith Bance who is tuner and maintainer of our instrument.
James Gough, our Organ Scholar, then gave a stunning demonstration of the organ's capabilities, with well - deserved applause and congratulation.
Many of the people present had never visited our church before and left suitably impressed by both organ and building - and the welcome they received - before going on to hear the new organ at St. Giles, Cripplegate and after that, to St. Paul's Cathedral.
The following Saturday, Keith and I were once again "on duty" to welcome a coach - load of visitors from the Portsmouth and District Organists' Association, led by David Price, their Cathedral's Director of Music. These folk were all avid enthusiasts, and most could not wait to "have a go" - which most of them did, many revealing considerable talent. Once again, the magnificence of the organ made an enormous impression, as did the atmosphere of the crypt and its displays - but once again, people appreciated the welcome they received.As we begin our Mission project at St. Bride's, Keith and I were very pleased to play a part in furthering the reputation and knowledge of our church. I would like to thank Janet and Terence, and Keith's wife Rosemary for their help in making such a success of the visits; James for his fine playing - and in spirit, Lord Astor, John Compton, Gordon Reynolds and James Taylor, without whom our lovely organ would not exist.