I have one free day per week. I say free – no, it’s not! I do whatever admin needs doing, record MP3s for pupils, especially blind ones, do the washing, visit my parents, clean the house….you know what it’s like.
I also go and play the organ at St Martin’s Church in London Road, where they have been very good to me and enabled me to regain and then keep the skill I almost lost through not playing for 6 years after leaving Pershore Abbey. But by the time I have driven there, got the key, opened up, taken the key back, climbed the spiral staircase, got my breath back, played for 45 minutes until my hands have given up, packed up, spoken to the secretary to see if next week is ok, and driven home – two hours have passed.
In the winter, it can be barely above freezing in churches and my hands don’t like that. It’s a wonderful organ, with 3 manuals and it’s the one I learned and took my Grade 8 on, beautifully maintained by Trevor Tipple. I’m very fond of it and very grateful that Trevor encouraged me to start going and practising there regularly a couple of years ago.
Recently, Stephen started looking at organs on Ebay. We even put in an offer for one. Then one came up which looked very promising but we were kept waiting for months being told it would be here within the next fortnight, it was just being refurbished, it just needed some new parts, it was just in Holland waiting for a man to come out of retirement and make one good one out of three old ones….
So we looked at the Allen site. Allen’s have been making organs since 1935 and digital ones since 1970. I knew about them because of hearing the American organist, Carlo Curley, playing years ago and then spending time with him in Sweden in 2004. Although he sadly died last year, his Allen touring organ was in Pershore Abbey last Christmas and I had the opportunity to play it. (See this previous post!)
Well, you can guess what’s coming – I bought an Allen!! “He’s” not quite up to Carlo’s specifications, but having him in my home will allow me to play more frequently in the warm for less time, “You go and cook the dinner, dear, while I just play some Bach!” – sounds good to me!
He is in wonderful condition for a 23 year old instrument, has two manuals, enough voices for me, and enough noise to annoy the neighbours, though having tried it on full volume, and with the doors and windows shut, it’s hardly audible outside. This organ used to be in the South Norwood United Reformed Church but I’m told the building has been condemned and the congregation has moved elsewhere. If any of you should read this – rest assured he will have a good and loving home!
So here he is! As he was delivered on the 4th of July, and I only knew about Allen’s through the wonderful Mr Curley, I think he has to be named Carlo.