The Choir plays again!

Back in December 2018, I reported the good news that much-needed repair work work was under way on the organ, carried out by Nigel Laflin and Paul Waton from Trinity Church, Sutton.

Choir stops

By March 2019 work on restoring the 16 foot pedal stops to full working order was progressing well. The last (and loudest) of these, the Open Metal Diapason, was completed at the end of March.

In September 2019, Paul and Nigel started work refurbishing the Choir division, and the work was completed in mid-October 2019.

The organ has a manual (ie. a keyboard) called the Choir. The name may be a corruption of ‘Chair’, originating from the practice of placing a small, self-contained organ at the rear of the organist's bench; or it may originally simply have referred to a smaller organ suitable for accompanying a choir.

In modern organs, the Choir usually has some of the quieter stops and some solo stops. The photo (right) shows the Choir stops on our organ: only seven of the knobs correspond to speaking stops (actual sounds).

The ‘bird’s eye view’ (bottom left) shows the pipes for some of these stops. These don’t include the Clarinet which has its own windchest, nor the Trumpet which is ‘borrowed’ from the Great.

The refurbishment work included renewing all the leather in the two stages of the action. One set of motors was re-made from scratch using new wood: this was necessary because the wrong type of glue had been used for a previous re-leathering, making it difficult to clean the wooden parts. The electrical wiring was also completely replaced.

The photo (below, right) shows one of the refurbished Choir chests, complete with its two sets of releathered motors.

Michael Boxall

Choir main chest from aboveRefurbished Choir chest

A version of this article appeared in the July 2020 issue of 'Here is the News'.

Page last updated: 21st August 2020 6:14 PM