Organ renovation in the pipeline


A Wilmslow church is delighted to announce that work has began on building their new organ.

St Bartholomew's launched a campaign at the beginning of 2015 to raise £250,000 for the restoration of its pipe organ "Oscar the Organ" which celebrates its 150th birthday this year.

Since then the church has raised sufficient funds to pay for the new organ from fundraising events including recitals and concerts. There have also been generous donations from the Friends of the Parish and other charitable bodies and from the PCC's own funds.

Organist Philip Underwood explained "We need a new pipe organ because the current instrument has lasted for 150 years, but is now at the end of its life. The new instrument will re-use any pipes and components that can be taken from the old instrument. The aim of the project is to equip St Bartholomew's with a good quality instrument for a grade 1 listed building for worship and concerts for the next 250 years.

"All musicians, of any standard, are inspired by playing on instruments of the finest quality. Most people are unable to own their own pipe organ and it therefore falls to churches such as St Bartholomew's to make instruments available for practice and study.When the organ is finished we plan to establish an organ school at the church offering lessons to beginners and established players of any age."

The old Oscar will continue to play at St Bart's until just after Easter then they will have a temporary small pipe organ until the new Oscar arrives in the Autumn.

Philip added "We plan to celebrate the new organ with celebrity organ concerts including a Silent Movie accompaniment in April 2018 by Donald Mackenzie of the Odeon Leicester Square."

Oscar the Organ, St Barts Church


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Julian Barlow
Thursday 16th February 2017 at 9:43 am
How wonderful to see the church using its influence in the community to raise money to restore an old musical instrument. This will provide much comfort to the homeless, the needy and the vulnerable whose suffering has been exacerbated by government budget cuts over recent years. Jesus would be proud.
Philip Underwood
Thursday 16th February 2017 at 6:32 pm
I am very proud to think that we are supporting British craftsmen and their families in these uncertain time by undertaking the renovation of the 150 year old pipe organ. The project will provide work for a least 9 months. It is good to know that after the restoration, the organ will be on hand for another 250 years to provide the music for Weddings, Funerals and other key moments in the lives of every Wilmslow resident that requires it.
Phil Gaskell
Friday 17th February 2017 at 9:13 am
hi i have lived in Wilmslow for 20 years ,and have been a keen member of st barts for 10 years ,to me the church is a main community hub of Wilmslow with lots of activities most weeks ,the organ is near on 200 years old and was in need of replacing so hopefully will carry one for a further 200 years to give people much pleasure as its given me and my family which is a small cost as far as im concerned to the whole family in Wilmslow ,apart from this the investment will help unknown amounts of people from them that will build it to those who will play it
Elinor Mountford
Friday 17th February 2017 at 12:56 pm
I think Phillip and his team have done a sterling job fundraising for the new organ and supporting our heritage for years to come. It's also very important to care about people in need and Wilmslow Parish Church have initiated 'Food Friend' which offers support to anyone in the local area who is struggling. Julian, if you're interested, you can follow this link for more details:
Anna Meadmore
Friday 17th February 2017 at 9:04 pm
It's a great shame that Mr Barlow chooses to express his negative comments in a sarcastic and facetious manner. If he were to do a little research, he would discover that the fundraising effort for the organ restoration has been in addition to the far-reaching and ongoing, but maybe unpublicised, work that the members of the Parish church do for the homeless, needy and vulnerable. Further research would reveal the very many people who put in hours of their time to do this work, and Mr Barlow would find that the church is open and busy just about every day of the week. If he were to attend one of the very popular musical events that now happen in the church, he would witness the great joy that the music brings to everyone, including those who may be homeless, needy or vulnerable. The cultural events bring in a wide audience, who are now building the numbers of the congregation, who in turn are helping to increase the work to help those most in need. St Bartholomew's has undergone a terrific renovation, and now the restoration of the organ is a natural progression. The homeless, the needy and the vulnerable have been with us all through the times of Bach, Byrd, Faure, Mendelssohn, Bruckner and all great composers who were also distinguished organists, but an organ lies at the centre of any church. To have a great organ, which the restored one will be, is a privilege for everyone. So yes,Jesus would indeed be proud of the work, of the community spirit, and of the enjoyment, and comfort, this instrument will bring, to all those who will hear it.
Graham McLelland
Saturday 18th February 2017 at 11:49 am
"Thank you for the music" goes a song from sometime ago.Speaking as a choir member and attendee of many of the concerts given by ~Phillip and George at the organ,and seeing how both during these concerts AND during the church services the congregation are joyful and full of appreciation it shows just how much people value this wonderful instrument.
Considering as has already been stated this work is being carried out funded by the same people who attend the concerts and or the service as well as donations from outside the church it surely shows just how important to the parish the church and its music are.
God works in many different ways ,and music is one of the many healing gifts He has given us.
Annie McLelland
Julian Barlow
Monday 20th February 2017 at 12:54 pm
Anna Meadmore it's a great shame that you choose to express your opinions with such self righteous pomposity. A little research would reveal that there are currently an estimated 2.8 million displaced children in Syria at risk of freezing to death during the winter and whose lives could be saved with the provision of a £3 blanket. The £250,000 raised by an organisation that claims to represent "The Saviour of Mankind" would provide 83,333 children with such a blanket, which, in my sarcastic and facetious opinion, makes the restoration of an old musical instrument seem a trifle self indulgent, especially given that the C of E has already amassed assets of more than £22 billion.

However, not wanting to appear like the ignoramus I clearly am, I heeded your advice and conducted some research. Unsure of where to start and in need of some moral direction I turned to The Bible.

Imagine my surprise when I found in The Gospel of Mark (10:21) the following statement “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

It would appear that the church isn't able to follow its own moral code, for try as I might I can't find any passages alluding to raising life changing sums of money to renovate an old organ.
Keith Chapman
Monday 20th February 2017 at 9:04 pm
Julian, Anna is right. The money raised to restore the church organ has been well spent. The necessary funds have been raised through private subscription by people who are simultaneously giving generously to charity. The vicar Paul Smith is a credit to his congregation, and to Wilmslow. He is seeking both to support those dealt a poor hand in life through Food Bank, prison visits etc, and at the same time to sponsor good quality music to encourage participation in a more spiritual life.
Dave Cash
Tuesday 21st February 2017 at 5:03 am
Julian, read on & you will find the Feeding of the 5000 with 5 loaves & 2 fishes, hardly a generous donation for so many recipients.
Then there is the Parable of the Talents and the (extravagant) killing of the Fatted Calf to celebrate the return of the Prodigal Son.
Not forgetting the 10 Commandments.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 21st February 2017 at 10:19 am
Before we get too bogged down in quasi-religious rhetoric, it may help to understand the income and expenditure of the CofE...

Personally, I think St Barts is a bedrock of the local community, an exemplar of good, understated work in the town and beyond and it should have a church organ of which it can be proud.

What's more, local people obviously agree as they have voluntarily raised the necessary funds to provide it.
Maxine Stott
Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at 12:05 pm
I would like to think that Jesus wouldn't be put out by the purchase of a new organ for St Bartholomew's church. We all do our own bit for the homeless, needy and vulnerable people of this world, and therefore are surely allowed to give and raise funds for the future music of our church as well.
I can only hope that Mr Barlow will come and visit St. Bart's, and listen to the new organ, and perhaps see and hear for himself the pleasure wonderful music can give to people.