- September 2019 (Creation)
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On February 17th 2016 work began to dismantle the old pipe organ in St Mary's.
Douglas Clare, one of our two churchwardens in April 2019 wrote the following article for the May issue of Contact, the church magazine for the Bampton & Clanfield group of churches along with the Lower Windrush group.
ST MARY THE VIRGIN, BAMPTON – ORGAN PROJECT
Last September, I took on responsibility for the delayed organ project. I produced a revised Organ Project Statement of Intent, which was approved at the St Marys’ CCC meeting on 2nd October 2018. Approval was similarly granted for appointment of an Independent Organ Advisor to review the organ project and prepare the necessary Statement of Significance for the Oxford Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC), with recommendations for getting the project back on track to completion. Paul Hale, an accredited member of the Association of independent Organ Advisors was appointed and his Statement of Significance report has been discussed with the DAC at a site meeting at St Marys’ on 11th February 2019. Positive comment was received and some minor technical enhancements were discussed, accompanied by a request from the DAC for a detailed quote proposal for the renovation work by Cousans Organs, who currently hold the disassembled old organ parts.
The desired information was prepared for the DAC committee meeting scheduled for the 11th March 2019, together with a plea that the remaining three obstacles which are holding back the organ renovation project be approved. Namely;
1 – approval of Cousans Organs Ltd. as a suitable experienced organ renovator for the re-build project.
2 – approval of the proposed specification performance enhancements to facilitate better sound coverage and the operation of a remote console in the current Nave area.
3 – approval of the re-siting of the renovated pipe organ in an elevated position, adjacent to its previous location but high up on the East wall of the South transept, thus retaining maximum floor space in the South transept for current and future community activities, with convenient access to the adjacent kitchen and toilet facilities.
I am pleased to report that all these requests were approved by the DAC at their regular meeting on 11th March 2019 and I have now issued work commencement instructions to Cousans Organs Ltd. and also contacted an experienced church architect for a forthcoming site meeting to discuss the elevated platform design requirements. I am also currently updating the online Faculty document to record these approvals for project control purposes.
At St Marys’ we now must carry on the organ renovation fund appeal we launched previously and seek continued local support from church supporters and organ lovers in the community of Bampton. The organ renovation work is costed at £122,990 and the platform design and build is an additional cost to be borne. We have allocated a sum from our resources which, together with our earlier organ fund raising reserve, will partially meet the costs, but we have a long way to go to fully fund the project.
I appeal for your continuing support and promise you that I will complete this project as promptly as is practical. The end result will be a traditionally renovated pipe organ which will retain all the magnificence and visual appearance of its predecessor, but with an enhanced performance, which will take us forward into a new sound experience at St Marys’ church.
Douglas J Clare – Lead Churchwarden @ St Marys’ BAMPTON
ST. MARY’S CHURCH, BAMPTON October 2019
More news on the Organ…
In September (2019), the church's application to the Diocese Advisory Committee (the DAC) for our pipe organ, which is currently in renovation, to be platform mounted in the south transept was rejected; due to the size and presence of the organ platform, linked with the archaeological difficulties envisaged in the necessary floor excavation.
A church and community public meeting to communicate this decision and explore other options was held on 30th September at St Marys. The history of the renovation, chronicling the bankruptcy of the organ renovator and the rescue of the components and their final transfer to the current organ renovator, Cousans Organs Ltd. was explained in detail.
Two other options, one a more compact hybrid pipe organ located in the original organ position and the other an electronic organ were presented and discussed. A number of speakers from both church and community gave opinions vocally and at the close of the meeting those present were invited to express their personal opinions through private written notes.
An extraordinary CCC meeting was then convened for 3rd October with the future of the organ project as the sole item on the agenda. The feedback from the public meeting was overwhelmingly in favour of continuing with the renovation of the pipe organ to a hybrid specification and to position it floor mounted, in its original position in the south transept.
Committee members' opinions were heard and discussed at length. It is expected that the increased cost of the hybridisation by the inclusion of digital stops would be balanced against the saving on platform costs and floor excavation in the original budget. Finally, a proposal was made to the meeting “that a hybrid pipe organ be adopted and the necessary re-specifying of the existing organ under construction be conveyed”. This motion was carried unanimously at the meeting and we now await the approval of the DAC to proceed, but early indications are very positive.
At St Marys’, the organ renovation appeal has raised a total of £138,000 to date; but we need a further £123,000 to complete the project. To raise this final sum a dynamic new voluntary committee, the Organ Fund Raising Appeal Group under the acronym OFRAG, has been recently formed. The committee will seek voluntary grants from local and national charitable bodies and coordinate support from church supporters and organ lovers in the community of Bampton, through a planned series of local events – watch out for OFRAG news..
The end result will be a traditionally renovated hybrid pipe organ which will still retain all the magnificence and visual appearance of its predecessor, but with an enhanced performance through electronics, which will take us forward into a new sound experience at St Marys’ church.
Thank you – Douglas J Clare, for St Mary the Virgin Church. BAMPTON