News Archive: January 2007
This is an archive of news articles from January 2007. Current news articles can be found here and an archive index can be found here. Information in this archive may no longer be valid.
- 1st January - Kingston, Jamaica
The Kingston Parish Church will, on Sunday, January 7th, present a post-Christmas concert of Choral music, at the church, 70b King Street, beginning at 4:00 pm.
The event, which is to help raise funds for the church organ, will feature the Diocesan Festival choir, the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company and the National Chorale of Jamaica.
Organist and tuner Dwight McBean explains that the tradition of the Kingston Parish Church organ is a long and storied one. The first pipe organ in the church, he said, dated back to 1720, built by one Samuel Green, and was rebuilt in 1878 by the British firm of Henry Willis and Sons. It is said to be the organ which indigenous composer Samuel Felsted (1743-1802) would have played.
The earthquake of 1907 destroyed that original organ and in 1909, a new Two Manual tracker organ was purchased from Henry Willis and Sons. This Willis organ is the only one in the Caribbean. It too was damaged by the 1951 passage of Hurricane Charlie and was rebuilt and modernised by the firm of JW Walker and Sons two years later. Walker installed an electric Blower and converted the original tracker mechanism to an electro-pneumatic action.
Additionally, McBean explained, the entire organ chamber and all the pipes were rotated at a 45-degree angle while still in its original position, in order to have the pipes speaking directly into the body of the church as opposed to across the Sanctuary as it previously did.
In 1973, when the Sanctuary was re-modelled, a new detached console was built and sited in front of the new Choir Stall and additional adjustments were made, he said, "to allow the instrument to more effectively accompany the liturgies of the church."
The Kingston parish church organ has 1032 pipes, ranging in size from 16 feet in length to smaller than a standard lead pencil.
The organ is said to be the only instrument in history designed with the specific purpose of leading worship in the church.