ORGAN RESTORATION CELEBRATION Sunday 20th May
St John the Baptist Parish Church
O praise God in His holiness . . .
Praise Him in the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him upon the lute and harp.
Praise Him in the cymbals and dances;
Praise Him upon the strings and pipe.
And that is exactly what we did! We had a wonderful evening of praise and thanksgiving, celebrating the restoration of our church organ.
We were delighted to welcome some great ‘old’ friends:– Penny Bagshaw ACertCM, one-time choir director and now an organist at Sandhurst Military Academy; Tom Shorter, who travelled all the way from Gravesend, where he now lives, bringing his lovely family with him; David Crowe, now organist in Goring; John Wood, who has played here on various occasions. It was also great to hear two budding organists from Wellington College – Thomas Williamson and Will Campbell. It’s so good to know that there are up and coming organists to carry on this marvellous tradition. Of course, our own Richard Seaton was ever present, not only to accompany the choir, but also to play his own choices of music. Irene Simmons, who has been such a stalwart at the organ for many years, read a moving and apposite poem by Dame Scholastica Hebgin, once an organist at Stanbrook Benedictine Abbey.
But very special thanks must go to Barry Williams, the Diocesan Organ Advisor, who was the big ‘mover and shaker’ in getting us going on the organ restoration in the first place. He opened the programme with Bach’s well-known Toccata and Fugue in D minorand then rounded off the evening with another Toccata by Widor. He also gave an excellent talk on the Henry Speechly organ, giving us pipe lengths and all sorts of other interesting and fascinating specifications and generally extolling the virtues of our newly restored organ. He also made particular mention of Colin Nicholls, who put so much time and work into the restoration programme.
The other person to whom he gave special praise was our choir director, Katherine Bond-Smith. She put the whole evening’s programme together, co-ordinating organists, choosing choir pieces and getting us all galvanised to make a marvellous noise! We gave thanks to God with several well-known hymns – Come down, O Love divine; Love divine all loves excelling,and Bach’s marvellous Jesu, joy of man’s desiring. The choir was also boosted by several past/occasional members: two Pearces – Mike and Alec, David R, as well as David Crowe, Tom Shorter and Penny Bagshaw.
I think the evening is best summed up with the first verse of Dame Hebgin’s poem:
I praise Thee with the organ – with the roll
Of thunderous chords, with the lilting flute,
In rhythm and measure, in the ebb and flow
Of murmuring tides and wave on mounting wave
Through infinite diversity of sound.
And in the healing depths of silence,
I praise Thee, Lord!
Church Office (email@example.com )
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Find St John the Baptist Parish Church
Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT
There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.