Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lets Go Buy A Pipe

If you've ever looked at a metal organ pipe and thought 'you know what, I would just love to have one of those in my house', then now's your chance. Our creaky church organ has drawn its last breath, and we're looking forward to its digital replacement arriving next month.

One or two Tweeters expressed an interest in these, so here's a picture, drop me a line if you'd like one, reasonable offers all accepted. I must stress that the organ is now in pieces, so it's individual pipes we're selling.

And yes, here I am on my pionnering, ground-breaking mission blog with a picture of a church organ. It's so humiliating I feel like a Libdem leader giving a public apology.

Though (tenuous mission link) clearing out the organ loft will, in the longer term, give us room for an extra 20 people, and a possible meeting room. In a church that only seats 90 before it gets uncomfy, that'll be quite a help.


  1. a disgusting thing to do to a work of art. "Creaky"? It is basically a new instrument. Shame! So much for stewardship!

  2. after approval. haha. No, we all know that this person will censor anything he doesn't like.

  3. This is an awful act of vandalism. That is not an old organ -- I would guess 1970s -- and if it has 'drawn its last breath' it's not the organ's fault. It seems quite doubtful that some deadly electronic prosthesis will sound better, unless the instrument has been scandalously ill-used. And breaking it up and selling off pipes -- there are places that would be glad to have it, and avoid the dreary dull horror os a 'digital organ'.

  4. Anonymous: really? I didn't realise you knew me that well. But yes if you just want to have a go at me then please do it on your own blog, I don't see why I should publish it on mine.

    Michael - it was about 60 years old, and failing badly, and our organist is delighted with the replacement. We did try to sell it on intact but didn't get any offers.

  5. The sad thing is the new digital organ (the old pipe one lasting 60 years as you say) will not last longer than 20 or if you are lucky 30 years. Sadly not a good investment.
    How old is your TV set? When did you last replace that?

  6. If 60 years is too old, becarefull, time will come -and sooner than you think- where you will be sold for spare parts.
    Seriously, I am quite sad to see such spoiling of a quite valuable musical instrument, probably replaced by a toaster...
    In France, things are far from perfect, but at least, churches and organ belong to cities and state. this avoid messing too much with them... Most of the time !
    Would they be at the mercy of the clergy "good taste", I can't imagine what it would be...

  7. There are plenty of things that are older than 60 years in the church, working fine, and which are staying exactly as they are, but this organ wasn't. When we tried to find a buyer it turned out it wasn't that valuable. I'm just thankful that we weren't quoted £300k to replace it like another local church. Not every organ is a good organ, and ours was becoming a liability, and a financial drain on the church.

    What's more, the church is now surrounded by housing which simply wasn't there in the 1950s, we have a bigger parish and a bigger congregation. We face a choice between adapting the building to accommodate a growing church, or abandoning it entirely as a monument to previous generations, and finding somewhere else to meet. Personally I think people are more valuable than musical instruments and by replacing a broken organ with a better one, we've made a good decision.

  8. Hi, I'm a CCM musician in the UK who plays in worship bands (mainly keys, sometimes bass/drums), but for various reasons I'll explain I've also picked up pipe organ. And because of that, I've helped rehouse a few organs where mission-orientated churches, like yours, needed more space. And I agree that people are more important than buildings or instruments, but we are also called to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.

    Your organ would have been 25 years old this year. It used a few older bits from 1922, but like a new house built of old bricks is still a new house, your organ was young, and would have lasted at least 100 years. But yes, organs are like cars or houses, they need money spending every now and then. The alternative is digitals which you need to replace entirely every 10-20 years.

    With enough time (sometimes up to a year, but often a few months) there is a great rehousing service the Institute for British Organbuilding runs. Yours being small is actually very desirable, and might have fetched £5000-£10000. On eBay, good for where time is tight (like 1 month) it would have gone for £1000-£2000, perhaps to France or the Baltic states (they collect and dismantle!). I'm surprised that when you got the faculty for removing the organ, your Diocesan Organ Advisor didn't mention this. I'm more used to working with, e.g., Baptist churches where faculties etc. don't exist so there is usually very little time, but we've always found new homes.

    So why have I ended up playing and knowing about pipe organs? The generation for whom they were creaky and old-fashioned are actually now middle-aged, and don't realise that a lot of CCM is seen as equally old-fashioned by today's youth. I'm not just talking Kendrick, even groups I still think of as contemporary like Phatfish or Delirious are distinctly uncool, so quickly does fashion change. Because that generation have usually never seen a pipe organ, it's suddenly something cool, real and analogue, in their all-digital world. I've had classes of students who would never normally set foot in a church describe the lesson where they played a real pipe organ as "best lesson ever". That's why I play pipe organ as well as keys - it actually gives me a real opportunity for mission with an unchurched generation, and the reaction is completely the opposite to what it would have been a generation ago.

    I'm with you 100% on what's most important, but I hope you'll prayerfully consider that there would have been better ways to find a new home for this instrument than pipe by pipe. I'm sorry I didn't hear of this sooner so I could have helped.