Friday January 18, 2013
Music to the ears – century-old organ to be restored
By JOSEPHINE JALLEH
GEORGE TOWN: The century-old pipe organ of the Church of the Assumption in Farquhar Street here will be leaving for “home” but will be back in time for Christmas.
The “Old Lady”, as it is affectionately referred to, will be shipped to England next week for a major overhaul.
The restoration is being carried out by Peter Wood & Son, a British company specialising in pipe organ building, repairs, restorations, rebuilds and tuning.
Its managing director Mark Wood, 52, and fellow organ builder Nigel Crossley, 46, began taking the organ apart at the church on Wednesday.
Wood said the dismantling would have to be completed by Jan 25, the day it leaves for England.
“The dismantled organ will be shipped to our workshop in Harrogate.
“The task of dismantling is easy, but putting it back takes twice as long as the parts have to be put back in the right places,” he said, adding that they only used screwdrivers, pliers and cutters to carry out the job.
The organ, built with wood of the oak, pine and mahogany variety, has 640 pipes made of lead and zinc.
It was built in 1914 by Morton & Moody of Oakham, England, and set up in the church by The Robinson Piano Co Ltd in June 1916.
Wood said the termite and rat-infested wood would be replaced, the pipes cleaned and tuners atop each pipe would be replaced.
“This is a major repair work,” he said, adding that they would start the restoration works at the end of March.
Crossley said the restoration would take five to six months and the organ was expected to be brought back to the church in September.
He said they had already dismantled about 20% of the organ.
Parish priest Father Dominic Santhiyagu said that while the organ was being restored, they would look into improving the floorboard and repairing the ceiling.
He also thanked donors who contributed funds for the organ's restoration, which would cost £52,000 (RM251,589).
AirAsiaExpedia donated RM200,000 while Star Publications (M) Bhd contributed RM50,000.