New or­gan is replica of orig­i­nal in­stru­ment

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS - By SARA GAHAN

PIPE or­gan mu­sic can be heard once again at St Mary’s Church in Kil­muck­ridge since the re­con­struc­tion of an old Telford & Telford or­gan dat­ing back to 1926.

Last week the parish com­mit­tee or­gan­ised a cel­e­bra­tory con­cert. They nvited spe­cial guest Dr Richard Dun­ster-Sigter­mans from Eng­land who demon­strated the ca­pa­bil­ity and ver­sa­til­ity of the new or­gan in­stalled by Wex­ford based com­pany Nei­land & Cre­ane from New­town, Killinick. The pro­gramme of mu­sic in­cluded pieces from El­gar, Bach, Hay­den just to name a few. Lo­cal flute player Gavin Blake joined Richard for some duet per­for­mances, fol­lowed by some sweet mu­sic from the Black­wa­ter choir.

In a wel­com­ing speech, Pa­trick Chawke, chair­man of the Parish Fi­nance Com­mit­tee of Kil­muck­ridge Church, said that the in­au­gu­ral con­cert was a par­tic­u­larly proud oc­ca­sion for the parish adding that com­mis­sion­ing the new or­gan had re­ceived wide­spread and gen­er­ous sup­port from the lo­cal com­mu­nity and sea­sonal vis­i­tors.

Gary Cre­ane of Nei­land & Cre­ane ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to the Parish Fi­nance Com­mit­tee for en­trust­ing the project to his com­pany, not­ing that it gave him par­tic­u­lar sat­is­fac­tion to un­der­take the com­mis­sion in his na­tive parish. Gary also spoke of the chal­lenges of repli­cat­ing the orig­i­nal 1926 Telford & Telford or­gan.

Fr Frank Mur­phy, parish priest, said the tonal and build qual­ity was high­lighted and ad­mired by or­gan­ist Dr Richard who com­ple­mented Nei­land & Cre­ane for pro­duc­ing an in­stru­ment of re­mark­able qual­ity.

The story of the pipe or­gan in St Mary’s Church dates back to the year 1926. Ni­cholas Power of Kil­muck­ridge made a be­quest to the parish for the com­mis­sion­ing of a church or­gan. It was for­tu­itous that this oc­curred dur­ing the pas­torate of Fr John Brown, a man who had a con­sid­er­able im­pact on the parish of Kil­muck­ridge.

Dur­ing his pas­torate, Fr Browne en­larged the church, build­ing the nave of the pre­sent church; he en­larged the ‘ high al­tar’ and in­stalled two stained glass win­dows; he in­stalled new al­tar-rails and com­mis­sioned Telford & Telford of Dublin to build an or­gan for the church.

This or­gan was de­signed for the bell-tower gallery which was quite a re­stricted space.

The or­gan was for­mally launched by the noted Wex­ford mu­si­col­o­gist Dr Wil­liam Grat­tan Flood in 1927. Wil­liam was a or­gan­ist and a mu­si­cal di­rec­tor at Saint Ai­dan’s Cathe­dral, En­nis­cor­thy and the author of The His­tory of the Dio­cese of Ferns.

The or­gan was ser­viced in 1945. In 1957 the bell tower gallery was re­moved and the or­gan was trans­ferred to the cur­rent gallery where it re­mained un­til about 1975 when the or­gan, al­tar rails and stained glass were re­moved.

Al­though the or­gan was se­verely mu­ti­lated dur­ing its re­moval, the rem­nants were taken into stor­age, where they lay for 40 plus years. Al­though the worst for wear, the parts were suf­fi­cient to pro­vide a clear picture of the de­sign and spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the orig­i­nal or­gan.

In April 2017, the Parish Fi­nance Com­mit­tee de­cided to un­der­take with a restora­tion/re­con­struc­tion project of the or­gan, award­ing the con­tract to or­gan builders Nei­land & Cre­ane of Wex­ford.

Ini­tially it was thought that some orig­i­nal parts, es­pe­cially the sound­board, were suf­fi­ciently in­tact to be us­able in a re­fur­bish­ment. How­ever, this was not the case.

Parts that were un­fit for re-use pro­vided a pat­tern and model for new parts to be con­structed.

The or­gan as it stands to­day is, in most re­spects, an ex­act copy of what was built by Telford & Telford.

To avoid height re­stric­tion, the Parish Fi­nance Com­mit­tee orig­i­nally de­cided to sit­u­ate the or­gan on a plat­form in the transept at the ‘mor­tu­ary en­trance’.

This was even­tu­ally re­con­sid­ered in favour of lo­cat­ing the or­gan on the gallery. How­ever, the lower roof height ne­ces­si­tated a re-de­sign which was done very sym­pa­thet­i­cally and aes­thet­i­cally

To­day’s or­gan is in­spired in its spec­i­fi­ca­tion and tonal qual­ity by the orig­i­nal Telford & Telford or­gan, and has been built to the same qual­ity stan­dards and at­ten­tion to de­tail that is ex­em­pli­fied in the work of Nei­land & Cre­ane.

The qual­ity of build and work­man­ship is un­sur­passed and ev­ery­one at­tend­ing last week’s con­cert was de­lighted to hear the or­gan ring out again in the church.

RJ and Ann Blake with their son Jonathan.

Or­gan builders Gary Crean, MD of Nei­land and Cre­ane or­gan builders, Killincoo­ley, Danny Cre­ane, Daniel Spencer and Daniel Nei­land, MD of Nei­land and Cre­ane or­gan builders.

St. Brigid’s Church Choir, Black­wa­ter.

Or­gan­ist Dr. Richard Dun­ster-Stigter­mans and Fr. Frank Mur­phy.

Win­nie Hall and Billy Don­nelly.

Paddy Chawke and Peter Pren­der­gast.

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