"To my eyes and ears the organ will ever be the King of Instruments"Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Replacement Organ Project
The current organ in St Mary's has had a long history - parts of it are nearly 200 years old - but it's now nearing the end of its working life and is starting to fail.
Restoration is possible but very expensive - and unfortunately it's not a very distinguished instrument which means that restoring it would be a bad use of parish funds. And equally unfortunately, the cost of a new-build instrument is way beyond the parish's means.
In these circumstances, it's common nowadays for a church to install an electronic organ.
However the parish is instead going down the route of installing a second-hand organ from a redundant church - as well as being more cost-effective and long-lived than a digital organ, it is in itself a superb instrument which will serve the liturgy and the community well for many generations to come.
The Organ of St Martin's Church, Belfast
This is a relatively modern instrument, built in 1983, by the Wells-Kennedy Partnership of Lisburn. It is a traditionally-built organ with mechanical action and a case of oak, and will sit in roughly the same position upstairs in the gallery.
It is slightly larger than our current instrument, but vastly more resourceful and musical, and should sound splendid in excellent acoustic of St Mary's church.
You can download the proposed specification of the organ, with the modifications being made for St Mary's, by clicking this link.Organ Specification
Hear the Organ
The organist Steven Hamill has kindly provided a number of recordings of the organ - click on the links to listen (best with headphones!)
Toccata in D minor
Installation will take place over summer / early autumn 2019. The work will be carried out by the Pipe Organ Preservation Company of Ireland, and overseen by the consultant Paul Hale (who oversaw the installation of the new Tickell organ in the cathedral). The work will involve:
- Removal of the old organ (much of the pipework is useful - especially the older historic material - and will find new life by being incorporated into other organs).
- Reinforcement of the gallery, adjustments to the choir stalls, and provision of electrical supplies.
- Installation of the new organ.
- Some tonal changes (additional stops) to make it more suited to Catholic liturgy and the church's acoustic.
- Upgrading of the new organ's electrical systems to current standards.
- Decoration - making good the gallery decoration, and highlighting parts of the casework to match the church's historic colour scheme.
Sponsor a Pipe!
There are 1037 pipes inside the new organ, and each one of them would just love to be adopted - help us reach our fundraising target by sponsoring one of the pipes.
They come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and they can be adopted from as little as £5 for the very small squeaky ones, to £250-£500 (or as much as you like!) for the big display pipes in the front case. The average cost is £25 per pipe, and gift-aid can be recovered; donations of £250 and above will be acknowledged in a commemorative plaque.
What's more, you can HEAR THE PIPE YOU'RE SPONSORING by "playing" the organ on our interactive sponsor-a-pipe page. Give it a go, follow the link in the button below and have your credit card ready....Let's Play!