EVERYTHING from simple hymn tunes to French toccatas were played by visitors to the Association's organ day at the Town Hall on Saturday morning, October 5.
President Robert Cockroft and Borough Organist Gordon Stewart welcomed around 100 visitors, all of them showing great interest in the organ and its music. Some popped in for a short while, others stayed all morning. Gordon played several solo spots to illustrate the organ's colours. Widor's Toccata showed off the brilliance of the full organ while Bach's G Minor Fantasia and Fugue gave visitors a chance to savour its choruses. We were treated to the sounds of the solo reeds in a Handel Overture and to a variety of amusing stop combinations in Noel Rawsthorn's rumbustious Sailor's Hornpipe, which cleverly works in themes from Bach and Widor to name but two!
Both Gordon and organ builder David Wood talked about the organ and its long history and fielded probing questions about it from members of the public. David outlined the most recent work on the instrument - the releathering of several large reservoirs and the provision of new and sophisticated piston action.
Other members of the association were there to answer questions or to help with conducted visits inside the instrument and many took advantage of that.
It was good to see a number of young people, too, and to meet a trio of new first-year organ students from the University music department, all of whom proved to be splendid players already.
Visitors, and especially the children, were eager to see the innards of the organ and were generally fascinated by the floating movement of the wind reservoirs and with the thousands of pipes - particularly the biggest, bottom C of the 32ft contra bombarde.
The big thrill for most, though, was to sit at the console and play. Any shyness was thrown to the wind and even those whose keyboard accomplishment was perhaps less than perfect thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
And that's what the event was all about.
Organ music was on sale from a stall kindly provided by Woods Music Shop and run by two patient and delightful young ladies and the kettle, for coffee, was rarely switched off.
The organ at Huddersfield Parish Church was also open to view and try and a number of the Town Hall visitors went along there as well. The event was run inconjunction with Kirklees Ccouncil's Cultural Services and it was pleasing to welcome along arts officer Rod Birtles and to be looked after by steward David Hollingsworth, a former association member (who we hope will be returning to the fold).
Words of thanks from the president - to Kirklees for allowing us the use of the organ, to Gordon and David for their efforts and to everyone for turning up - rounded the morning off nicely.