After a hugely successful Appeal, Dean Close has a brand new Chapel organ which was officially inaugurated at a concert at the end of January. The Chapel lies at the heart of life at Dean Close and the new instrument supports the worship of every single child and adult across the whole school.
The entire project cost over £700,000, with a £300,000 generous contribution from the Dean Close community. The organ builders, Nicholson and Company of Malvern, spent nine months building the bespoke organ by hand to create an inspiring instrument which has a diverse range of sounds for professionals and students to explore.
There are over 2500 pipes in the new instrument, making up 39 stops that produce a range of sounds from the rich tones of the Flute Harmonique through to the deep bass sound of the Open Wood. The pipes range in size from only a few centimetres in length through to the largest 16’ pipes on the façade of the case.
The casework, designed by Simon Platts, is constructed in oak, and the façade pipes, which all speak, are made of spotted metal, an alloy of tin and lead. The casework is crowned with the silver moon and gold gilt star, known as the Cymbelstern, which rotates and activates a set of six tuned bells.
The inaugural concert to celebrate the completion of the organ took place at the end of January, and was a wonderful occasion where Robert Quinney gave a thrilling and animated recital, ranging from the arresting Third Rhapsody by Herbert Howells to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in F and three Pieces de Fantaisie by Louis Vierne. Robert is famous for playing at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Westminster Abbey in 2011 and was named the Royal College of Organists Performer of the Year in 2002.
Simon Bell, Director of Choral Music, comments: “I have been delighted with the new instrument, which has musically transformed our worship at Dean Close. The Chapel organ has three principal tasks. Firstly, it has to accompany a full chapel of 500 young people who sing hymns with considerable aplomb. Secondly, it has to have the resources and flexibility to accompany the choir sensitively. Finally, the organ has to have a tonal specification that will enable the organists at Dean Close to perform a wide range of solo repertoire from all periods. Most importantly, we now have a high quality teaching instrument that will inspire future generations of young organists”.