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Pipe Up!

I have become a patron of an organisation called Pipe Up for Pipe Organs, and an excellent introduction to their work can be easily found, in a beguiling documentary by James Dawson which has just been aired on BBC4, and is available here.

To begin with, leading Pipe Upper Martin Renshaw strikingly mentions that, on average in the UK these days, a church of some kind is closed permanently every day. Every day! And this means that two or three salvageable organs per week are in peril, often swiftly chopped up for scrap. In the film, Martin and colleagues travel the country trying to save and rehome promising instruments. Surprisingly (to me) there is an especially great wish for recycled church organs in France, and Pipe Up are busy in that direction. But we also see a cheering rehoming of an organ from County Durham (the Chapel already packed up for conversion to housing). When it reaches its new home, in an Adventist Church in Clapton, there is great joy amongst the congregation, and presumably completely different music awaiting it.

Speaking the commentary on the film is a very keen organist, none other than news presenter Huw Edwards. On the couple of occasions that I've been newsworthy enough to speak to Mr Edwards, we've had very interesting chats behind the scenes about classical music. You can read his touching article about his history with the organ via the excellent Pipe Up website.

Pictured - work in 2019 on the new Rieger organ at Vienna Cathedral, not an instrument that will need saving by Pipe Up.





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