THREE organs in the Holme Valley and a visit to Compo's formed the centre-piece of this well-attended meeting.
It was most encouraging to see the interest shown by members, some from far afield, and other people listening to the organ in their own church.
The organs, of similar size but different character, caused a thought in the light of the current vogue. The Binns of 1898 (St Andrew's, Thongsbridge; 2-manual, 10 speaking stops) sadly throttled in a 'closet' and in a small, non-resonant church, spoke of its builder without too much musical arousal.
Strangely, my bete noir, the Gt dulciana 8ft did 'something' and other stops conformed to the known J J Binns character. At All Saints, Netherthong (Peter Conacher, 'the old firm'; 2 manual, 12 speaking stops), we heard the organ from Soothill Methodist Church, Batley, (1899) speak freely and with charm into a helpful acoustic.
Philip Wood spoke and played first, with obvious warmth for this appealing instrument. The Gt open diapason 8ft, heard initially and lovely Sw strings 8ft at a later moment, sounded a note of pedigree. David Wood hinted at Conacher's best work being possibly of this period and style (private aside!)
At St John's, Upperthong, (James Conacher, 1888; 2-manual, 11 speaking stops), the organ announced itself in a different mode to those visited earlier.
Now in its third home, looking rather proud in free-standing position, we played and listened to an instrument which offered wider scope for performance and a brighter accompaniment for service work.
Its builder, James Conacher, had knowledge of Father Willis; this being a decisive factor in his voicing aspirations. Judicious tonal massaging by Wood in 1985 has further enhanced the builder's intentions and created a village church organ of note.
And finally Compo's, a three-manual affair comprising fish dose, bread and butter and tea. The usual rudery and raucous laughter was just about acceptable before a late cadence and home.