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Recording project on schedule
Contest to go ahead
Vintage Wagner

Top right: The small Conacher at St.Mary's Longley, captured for our new CD by Robert Cockroft.
Bottom left: Geoffrey Coffin's new instrument in St.Mary's Handsworth, Sheffield.

Recording project on schedule

It's not just photographic records, written histories and specifications of local organs which will be left for posterity - but their sounds as well. Our association is putting together a series of CDs depicting local organs. The first is available now.

President, Robert Cockroft, is once again the ideas man and member Simon Smith, who is electrical and lighting engineer at Huddersfield Town Hall, is providing the recording equipment and enthusiastic expertise.

"It's an interesting project," Simon told me as he recorded my own instrument at All Hallows'. Almondbury. And he went on to talk animatedly about the importance, particularly, of getting which have a precarious future on to tape.

The plan, besides providing interest for members, is to amass archive material so that the sounds of local organs past and present will be available for organists of the future to hear and study. The president says: "These are not performance discs, rather they are illustrative of our local organ heritage."

The first contains sequences from Huddersfield Parish Church, Holy Trinity, St Paul's, Armitage Bridge, the Town Hall, St John's, Kirkheaton, St Mark's, Longwood and All Hallows', Kirkburton.

The quality is good and we hear the big Conacher/Wood in Huddersfield Parish Church and the big 3 manual in Holy Trinity to majestic effect. The Town Hall Willis, at Gordon Stewart's hands, sounds nutty and the Wood tracker at Armitage Bridge is revealed with disarming clarity.

Douglas Bell gets the best from Kirkheaton's Conacher, Robert Cockroft shows off the might - and serenity - of the little 10-stop Binns, Fitton and Haley at Longwood and the Kirkburton organ is shown off with an improvisation based on the Chorale from Sibelius' Finlandia.

Contest to go ahead

THE threat to organ classes in the Mrs Sunderland has been lifted - through the intervention of the association. Organisers, dismayed by the poor response in recent years, had said that the three classes would be withdrawn if no competitors came forward for 1998.

The story was reported in the last Clarion and taken up by BBC Radio Leeds at the suggestion of HOA secretary Rowan Morton-Gledhill who works there. When committee member Michael Smith heard of the plight of the contest he rounded up fellow students at Huddersfield University. Now eight are entered for the February event.

Vintage Wagner

Keen-eyed association members may have noticed a familiar face in the BBC-1 Christmas special edition of Last of the Summer Wine. As the programme reached its climax with a wedding scene, the cameras panned over Helme Parish Church.

Seconds later, as Compo and Clegg entered the church, strains of Wagner's Bridal Procession were heard. They were followed by a shot of our man at the Conacher, beaming HOA member, John Bailey.

"The first that I knew about it was when a got a phone call the night before filming. I was there for five hours for about one minute of music," he says.