A special concert to mark the completion of a ten-year programme of work on the organ at King’s Lynn Minster will be held on Saturday.
The borough mayor, Barry Ayres will be among the audience as Paul Hale, a virtuoso performer and organ designer, delivers an organ extravaganza to celebrate this amazing instrument.
Canon Chris Ivory, vicar at the Minster, said: “The project is in memory of the late John Jordan, Director of Music for 16 years, who led the restoration work in 2001 and 2003 and whose generous legacy has met 80 per cent of the cost of the work now completed.
“The organ installed in 1754 by the unknown John Snetzler made him famous and set the standard for English organ building for the next 70 years.
“By 1895 major restoration of the building had been completed and a more modern organ was wanted. The superbly carved case and many of the pipes were carefully preserved in the plans for a new much larger organ, but money ran out and the job was left three-quarters finished.
“Some repairs were carried out in 1962, but some parts were removed while there was no money to put them back so the organ was even less complete.
“Major repairs were carried out in 2001 as part of the celebration of the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Church and Priory. The result was a good organ with everything working properly for the first time in over 100 years, but much smaller than planned for in 1895.
“The superb case was restored in 2003 and the front pipes were re-gilded using 3,000 sheets of gold leaf.
“But the plans forged in 1895 were a long way from fulfilment and there was also an ambition to recover some of the sounds lost from the 1754 organ, so fundraising began in 2005 and a programme of works has now been completed; 1,113 pipes have been added and the project that began in 1895 has been achieved after 120 years.”
Paul Hale, cathedral organist of Southwell Minster, has overseen the project and will play a concert to show off the fantastic capabilities of this true ‘King of Instruments’.
Saturday’s concert starts at 7pm and tickets at £5 are available from King’s Lynn Minster Office, or on the door. The organ can also be heard in free recitals every Tuesday at 12.30pm until the end of September.