The principal purpose of the
URCMG Organ Advisory Service is to be the initial source of advice
to Churches on their organs. A secondary purpose is to ensure
that pipe organs in current URCs are accorded appropriate stewardship
for their relevance to worship. If your Church requires help
with organ matters then, in the first instance, please contact
the Organ Advisory Services
Co-ordinator: Mr John Corrie
155 Garden Wood Road, East Grinstead RH19 1SU
Are you aware that:
- Some organ tuners no longer
consider that blower maintenance is within their work. Even though
your pipe organ is tuned, be sure that the blower is also being
lubricated and maintained. The maintenance required depends on
the type and age of the blower. Neglect of simple attention can
lead to larger bills.
- Insurance companies put a high
value on a pipe organ even if it is currently in unplayable condition.
Any incident on the premises may not get full insurance payment
if the insurers feel that the whole premises, including the organ,
- Much work done on a fixed pipe
organ in a listed building is exempt from VAT;
Eligibility for grants towards work on an organ often depends
on the initial production of a report by an organ advisor prior
to any work being authorised.
These are just a few examples of things that can sometimes
be overlooked by Churches. The Organ Advisory Service exists
to help United Reformed Churches with these and similar stewardship
Additionally, the United Reformed Church may be required by
planning controls to implement measures to conserve pipe organs
in its premises. Any work involving the appearance or location
of the organ may require Planning consent or, in the case of
a listed building, consent either from the local Planning Authority
or the Listed Buildings Committee of the Synod acting under the
Ecclesiastical Exemption arrangement.
Organs are made by those with craft skills, who need to consider
an instruments musical and liturgical duties as well as
the engineering matters that affect its reliability. Selecting
an organ builder with appropriate skills requires consideration
of matters of worship preference as well as of engineering if
long-term performance is to be satisfactory. The particular needs
of a Church and its musicians needs to be identified and explained
to organ builders. The United Reformed Churchs Organ Advisors
can suggest from whom tenders should be requested and also on
how to evaluate the tenders received.
Can we help you or YOUR Church?
We have advised on:
- Condition reports;
- Comparison between costs of pipe and electronic instruments;
- Budgeting for organ maintenance;
- How to find suitable tuners, maintainers and organ builders
to undertake work, and how to specify work to be undertaken;
- Procurement of new or second-hand organs;
- Possibilities for obtaining financial grants for restoration
- The effects of Church heating systems;
- How to obtain guidance on any asbestos, for example in blower
- Church acoustics;
- Suitability of an organ for relocation within a Church building;
- The practical effect of reordering a Sanctuary on console
siting, tonal projection from pipes/ speakers, the effect of
heating systems and sunlight on the proposed location of organ
- Restoration of historic instruments;
- Suitability of an organ for practice by pupils working for
Our activities include:
- Responding to requests from Churches for advice;
- Maintaining a register of URC pipe organs;
- Maintaining a register of redundant organs suitable for relocation
and publicising their availability;
- Liaison with the Institute of British Organ Building (IBO)
regarding matters relating to organ stewardship;
- Attending the Organ Advisors Conferences of the Church
of England and Methodist Churches to share good current practice.
What would contacting us cost?
The URC Organ Advisors do not charge a fee, but Churches using
our services are expected to meet their reasonable expenses.
Naturally, if the Church wishes, a donation to the Guilds
Organ Advisory Service Fund is always welcome!
What if a Church does not understand all this?
Just call John Corrie and say Help! The
URCMG Organ Advisory Service exists to support our Churches in
the stewardship of organs or in finding suitable instruments
to support worship. John can respond to a simple request for
help or find an advisor with experience in a specific
technical matter if required.
So, can the Guilds Organ Advisory Service help YOUR
Published by the URC Musicians' Guild 2009