Open Day 2010

22 May 2010--Reigate Methodist Church

Our Open Day was held on Saturday 22nd May 2010. A number of children and adults from Caterham, Croydon, Tadworth, Crawley, Reigate and Redhill attended to:
  • hear some music performed
  • learn about how the organ works
  • Have a go!
  • learn more about East Surrey Organists' Association
  • and much more.
Carlos Sandin and George Stephens
"having a go" on the organ for the first time in their lives!
The programme for the closing concert was:
Toccata in SevenJohn Rutter (b.1945)
Air and GavotteS S Wesley (1810-1876)
"Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" (BWV 645) J S Bach(1685-1750)
Air and Hornpipe from the ‘Water Music’ G F Handel (1685-1759)
Hornpipe Humoresque Noel Rawsthorne (b.1930)
"Wo soll ich fliehen hin" (BWV646)
J S Bach (1685-1750)
The Cat Suite
(Prrrelude, Cats at Play, Catnap, Toc-cat-a)
Denis Bédard (b1950)
Choeur de voix humainesLouis Lefébure-Wély (1817-1870
ProcessionalWilliam Mathias (1934-1992)

It was disappointing that despite extensive advertising so few visitors attended the event. Those that did come had a feast of information awaiting them in addition to being able to play the Sweetland organ and stay for the closing recital.  Members had prepared coloured display boards which gave useful and easy to understand information on various aspect of the organ.  These included: the construction of the organ and its main components,  the science of sound production,  how flue and reed pipes speak and diagrams of their many shapes and sizes,  various samples of pipe metal,  and some works drawings of the new Nicholson organ in St. Peter's  Woodmansterne.   In addition there were advertising material from Mander's,  Nicholson's and Walker's.   Visitors were also able to browse through recent copies of The Organ,  Organists Review,  Choir and Organ,  BIOS reporter,  The Organ Club Journal,  Institute of British Organ Building Newsletters and their publication Organ Building.  There were also pictures of organs which the ESOA had recently visited.   However,  the most popular,  particularly with the children,  was the display of various pipes all of which could be blown provided you had sufficient 'puff'.

John Eagles gave a very informative talk about the organ,  the types and number of pipes,  while John Sharples simultaneously demonstrated the Sweetland organ.   It was the young children who brought along their music.   This was  rather at the 'beginners' end of musical life and so no great piano / keyboard pieces was played.  The exception was Callum Hawker from Tadworth who played three pieces from memory, including almost completing Bach's Toccata BWV 565.   A lady, who initially assured us that she did not wish to play,  was eventually persuaded to try the organ after borrowing some music and she did very well.  It later transpired that she had played her church organ briefly in the past,  but now she was determined to attempt to play the instrument properly.   A gentleman organist who had recently moved to Caterham,  heard of the event and introduced himself as a potential new ESOA member.  He played the Sweetland and enjoyed the experience.

There was a competition to guess the number of pipes in the Sweetland organ.  Quite a number gave their estimation but the actual number was calculated to be 830.  The person with the nearest answer was Sophie Sanford aged 6 who estimated 910 and she will be offered a free organ lesson as the prize.

The closing light hearted recital rounded off the afternoon in fine style.  We were treated to the following music with the console and player being projected onto the churches chancel wall. The programme is above. This short recital was really appreciated and a fitting end to an interesting afternoon.  Although visitor numbers were small it was a successful venture for the ESOA as everyone who attended was rewarded in some measure,  either by learning about and / or playing the organ,  or just having social conversations.

Richard Shipman