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Choir news

Back in 2015 when we were remembering the centenary of the start of WW1, we had the idea of paying our particular respects to the 16 servicemen who are buried in our churchyard. The first was the Vicar’s son who died only 60 days into the war. In October, we saw the centenary of the death of Private Joseph Waugh who was a member of the King’s Regiment. His grave is at the top of the churchyard and the choristers spent their time over two Thursday evenings tidying up the area around it and cleaning the gravestone.

Emma had contacted the King’s Regiment to tell them about our act of remembrance and they came to represent the regiment with two retired majors and a standard bearer. After the Harvest service the procession left church led by the King’s Regiment flag and walked to Joseph’s grave, followed by many from the congregation. The choir gathered around and sang ‘We will remember them’. This was followed by Mr. Lucas from our own school playing the Last Post during which the flag was solemnly lowered to the ground. For me, and for many of us standing there, this was such an emotional moment. After a short silence Mr Lucas sounded the Reveille and the flag was brought back up. Emma gave a blessing to conclude the short but extremely moving ceremony.

My thanks to Eddie McMarn, Stan Castell and Keith Hastie from the King’s Regiment and to Mr. Lucas for coming to make the tribute such a fitting one to Joseph’s life.

In the last magazine I wrote about the birth of Alexander to proud mum and dad, Louise and Jonny. If that wasn’t enough to celebrate, they got engaged when Jonny proposed in Milan. Our congratulations to all three of them as they look forward to their first Christmas together as a family.

I mentioned in the July edition of the magazine about some work to add two stops to the organ. This is something I wanted to do in memory of my Mum. So, after many months of consultation and design, Clive and Edmund from an organ builders company based in Norfolk and who specialise in this kind of work arrived in October to begin the installation. This took 4 days to complete and involved many stages.

First, the windchest that the pipes sit on had to be installed in the large wooden box that contains all the pipes for the Choir (bottom) keyboard on the organ. This involved working above all the existing and very delicate pipework so requires very careful work. Next, the wind supply from the Choir bellows has to be connected to the new windchest. Once that’s done it’s the job of connecting the keyboard to the pipes. For every note on the keyboard there’s a wire which operates a small magnet beneath every one of the 66 pipes. It requires an amazing level of skill and patience. At, the console, in order for the organist to be able to select the new stops we had to have new stop knobs made. The organ builders took one of our existing ones back in the summer so they could make the new ones exactly to match. The final job was to regulate and tune the new pipes to make sure they blend in with the rest of the organ.

Dave and I are absolutely thrilled with the result, as is Brian our organ tuner. The new stops are called Piccolo and Nazard and both give a beautiful sparkle to the sound of the organ. You’ll be hearing a lot of them over Christmas as they lend themselves beautifully to the seasonal music. The new pipes are pictured below.

On the subject of organ pipes, we completed the removal of all the pipes from St. Paul’s church to St. Anne’s. Unfortunately, this meant commandeering the side aisles for a few weeks whilst we tried to find a buyer for them. A huge thank you to everyone who helped with the gargantuan task of moving, carrying and cleaning all the pipes. I estimate that there were just over 2,500 pipes in total so this should give you an idea of the size of the task we had to do. Thankfully, the pipes have all gone to new homes in Poland and Germany. Thank you to everyone who’s put up with the church looking like Steptoe’s back yard over the last couple of months but it’s been worth it, both financially and for the satisfaction that the pipes will be singing to the glory of God in another church rather than facing the scrap heap.

And while all this has been going on, we’ve had our Harvest festival, Dedication festival, All Souls, Remembrance and Christ the King, which included Alex’s baptism with a feast of music, one of which was Vivaldi’s Gloria. Just around the corner are our Advent and Christmas services which we’ve been preparing for since the beginning of October. It’s been a very busy term full of amazing music conveying all kinds of emotions and now we’re looking forward to performing all our Christmas music. I do hope you get as much enjoyment from it as we all do.

On behalf of everyone in the choir, I’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Geoff