Craig Bakay | Jul 17, 2019
The new(/old/refurbished) organ at St. Paul’s in Sydenham got its second workout in a concert setting Sunday at Jeffrey Moellman, director of music at St. Mary’s Cathedral, brought his five musical children (Jonathan, Clara, Paul, Gabriel and Catherine)to town at the request of colleague, St. Paul’s Music Director Damien Macedo.
The organ has had a rather storied journey to get to Sydenham and is in the process of breaking new ground with an electronics/pipes technology to restore former glory.
Moellman’s performance featured pieces by Craig Sellar Lang and George Thalben-Ball and while the organ performed well in the higher scales, the bottom end still needs some work. No fault of the performer though.
“We’re about 80 per completed on the organ project,” said Hans Berriman, one of the driving forces behind the restoration project.
Berriman, himself a trumpet player, hails originally from Perth Road and has connections with the old church. While working as an OPP officer in the Kenora area, he undertook a similar project there.
“That one took about four years,” he said. “This particular organ was rescued from St. Mark’s in Deseronto.
“It was in another church before that. We’re quite pleased that it fit in the architecture of this church.”
They’re using a Hauptwerk virtual organ system augmented by air (pipes) and electric.
Restoration of the organ has spurred a musical renaissance of sorts with concerts scheduled for 2 p.m. Sundays throughout the summer.
On July 21, Luba Cargill, Fran Harkness and friends are scheduled for an eclectic mix of violin, piano and chamber ensemble. (See Northern happenings for further concert details)
Merriman said they’d very much like to hear from anyone interested in playing at the church (particularly the organ once it’s finished) but “we’d like to make this available as a venue form anyone who needs one.”
It should be an attractive one as the acoustics of the old church (original thick lathe and plaster) make it particularly effective for music.
Most of the Moellman kids (Clara, Paul and Gabriel) played factory-built (two of them ¾ size) fiddles, the sound was incredible. Much of this was no doubt enhanced by their impeccable fingering techniques but the youngest son sounded particularly good during his solo section.
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