Friday, October 10, 2008

Organ enthusiasm needed

Thomas Trotter visited St John's today and delivered another superb lunchtime organ concert to a full house. Three hundred people were in church. The event was dedicated to raise funds for the Llandaff Cathedral Organ appeal - £1.5 million is needed. The concert's retiring collection will have put over £1,200 towards that figure.

A certain amount of breast beating seems to be going on about the necessity of spending this kind of money on a prestige new-build organ. It was argued over and it took long enough to come to a conviction and get started after the lightning strike on the Cathedral assisted in the death of the existing instrument. There's a temporary digital monster organ in use there, and my enjoyment of worshipping there on big occasions has greatly diminished. Digital organs don't breathe, and temporary digital organs don't have sufficient speakers to do a decent job of simulating a well crafted synthesised sound. It's horrid. Worth the money to end the acoustic agony alone.

The Cathedral has a long string of huge congregational events around the year in addition to regular worship. It also has many concerts, although no longer an organ recital programme to speak of. A great new instrument would be an incentive to bring the best organists to Llandaff, and the 25 years worth of work by Cardiff Organ Events ensures a network of interested listeners and supporters. And what is £1.5 million, when all is said and done? A banker's bonus. (Are there any bankers in that prestigious congregation, I wonder?) £1.5 million is also a lot of work for some of the country's top traditional craftsmen, such as organ builders tend to be. Perhaps a bit less apology and a bit more enthusiasm for the Cathedral as a patron of musical arts and crafts would encourage some of the region's High Net Worth Individuals to add their support to this important voluntary enterprise. Today's event at St John's certainly showed to what a superb contribution our restored 'Willis' organ is making to the cultural life of the City and region. It's a credit to just a small number of people working very hard with such conviction to achieve success. It makes me proud.

I was pleased to learn of the election of the Archdeacon of Cardigan, Andrew John as Bishop of Bangor. Suddenly the media is quietly factual with just passing mention of previous speculation about Jeffery John being in the running and no admission that this was inappropriate and inconsiderate - those foreigners' attempts to set the agenda for a Welsh diocese failed abysmally. Bangor gets a Welsh speaker with a proven track record as a rural pastor and overseer - just what it needs, rather than endless controversy and humiliating exposure of candidates' domestic and personal lives.

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