LISTENING to the ethereal sound of a pipe organ is a unique acoustic experience but if you visit the Singleton Uniting Church on Saturday during Heritage Week it will also be an educational one.
The historic organ was built in the late 1800s by Charles Richardson for Vakrupa, the Wollongong residence of Ernest L. Sutton. It was purchased from him as a World War I memorial and installed at the church in 1920 at a cost of £550.
The imposing structure, with its elongated pipes that almost reach the ceiling, and polished wooden surfaces, is “among the finest surviving examples of Richardson’s work”.
On either side, and above the three keyboards, heavy metal plates with the names of those from Singleton who served during the Great War, are visible.
Today, it survives in this form with only minor alterations and is played every Sunday says Reverend John E Webster.
“It is a beautifully toned instrument and the sounds you can create are only limited by the imagination,” he explains.
“And considering this is the Anzac centenary it is the perfect time to come and have a look.”
It really is a unique opportunity as they are very expensive to maintain and a lot of churches have let them fall into disrepair, Rev. Webster says.
The Singleton Uniting Church will be open for inspection from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and a recital will be held at 2pm.
Local musicians and members of the church Reg Clark and Daryl Margary will be tinkling the ivories.
As the talented Reverend gave an impromptu performance, he explained that besides the three keyboards at his fingertips, there is another keyboard at your feet.
“When experienced pipe organists are playing the pedals it looks like they are dancing,” he laughs.
This is a free event and, for more information, phone 6572 1652
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