Nearly two dozen members of the Huddersfield and Wakefield Associations travelled to East Yorkshire to hear two fine instruments. Robert Cockroft reports.
TWO magnificent churches, two splendid Hill organs and nearly two dozen organists to enjoy them.
Most were agreed that the visit to Selby and Beverley in September, a joint venture by the Huddersfield and Wakefield Associations, was a lively and enjoyable event.
Members will have their own memories. For some it may be Roger Tebbet's urgent performance of Liszt's BACH at Selby or Graham Cummings' rousing account of Langlais Acclamations at Beverley.
For the non-playing members, it may be the intimacy of Selby Abbey, with its honey-coloured stone, or the more austere Gothic splendour of Beverley Minster.
For at least one group, a non-musical highlight was a lunch stop at Holme upon Spalding Moor for what were deemed to be the best fish and chips in the East Riding.
The day began at 10am at Selby Abbey where we were cordially received by the organist, Dr Roger Tebbet, and his wife, Lynne, and junior members of the choir served coffee.
After providing a short introduction to the building and the instrument, Dr Tebbet gave a stimulating half-hour recital that included Bach's Fantasia in G and Wesley's Larghetto in F sharp minor. The deficiencies in the organ that he had identified earlier were skilfully concealed as he demonstrated the range and character of its voices.
After a coffee break, members took the opportunity to try the four-manual instrument, to the evident approval of the Abbey's many casual visitors. It was perhaps at this point that some players began to concur with Dr Tebbet's observations about the cumulative effect of various rebuilds. While the organ boasts admirable choruses and reeds and some fine individual flute stops, they are not best served by an action that is approaching its centenary. And how many musicians would now defend the sacrifice of the solo organ to a positive division in 1975?
Among the members who played were Stuart Scrutton, Paul Gee, Simon Ball, Geoffrey Lockwood and Douglas Bell.
A 40-minute drive across the Yorkshire Wolds brought the party to Beverley Minster whose four-manual Hill, was restored last year by Wood of Huddersfield.
David Wood explained the reasoning behind the scheme and the challenges presented by working with the country's biggest repository of Snetzler pipework. Colin Wright, the assistant organist, then demonstrated the distinction of the organ's choruses and individual voices in a brisk recital that began with the Hornpipe from Handel's Water Music and ended with the Finale from Vierne First Symphony.
Those who ascended the spiral staircase to the loft were rewarded not only with the chance to play the organ but to inspect its innards. David Wood allowed members to climb the ladder into the spacious great organ, high above the nave, a memorable, if sometimes startlingly noisy, experience!