New organ to be an ‘asset’

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Rev Nyalle Paris (left) and organist William Watt with the small electronic keyboard they have been using since a fire damaged the church's Rogers organ in late 2015.

WORSHIPPERS’ singing at Invercargill’s First Presbyterian Church will soon be accompanied by the tones of a new three-tier organ.

The $75,000 Johannus D470 Ecclesia digital organ is expected to arrive from the Johannus factory in Ebe, the Netherlands, by the end of July.

It will replace the small electronic keyboard and grand piano the congregation has been making do with since its previous Rogers organ was damaged in a fire several years ago.

First Church organist William Watt said he was “rapt” with the purchase.

“It will be a lovely instrument and an asset to Invercargill.

“It will sound very impressive in the superb acoustic environment of First Church, and be a fitting replacement for the Rogers organ.”

A fire in the church’s ceiling void below the copper roof dome in November 2015 caused smoke and water damage to about 20% of the church’s interior, including the sanctuary where the organ was located. The fire was believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.

A new organ under construction at the Johannus factory at Ebe, the Netherlands, destined for Invercargill’s First Church. Photo: Supplied

Mr Watt said the Johannus model was chosen as a replacement because it would be attractive to visiting touring organists and encourage them to include Invercargill in their concert tours, and also be user-friendly and easy for local organists to play.

The purchase and maintenance costs of a digital organ were also much more affordable than a classic pipe organ, Mr Watt said.

Reverend Nyalle Paris said so far the church community had raised $49,000 towards the purchase, through the insurance claim, as well as private donations, funds from the church’s organ fund and various fundraising activities.

A royal wedding themed-high tea was being hosted by members of the church’s Women’s Evening Group next month to raise further funds towards the project, he said.

“The high tea fundraiser [will be] a bit of fun in honour of Harry and Meghan, an afternoon tea with a Britannia flavour,” he said.

First Church elder and Women’s Evening Group president Ngaire Marshall said the event would include high tea delicacies and musical entertainment, and a real-life bride and groom.

“All the fine china will be out.”

She hoped members of the community would dress in their wedding finery and support the event.

First Presbyterian Church high tea fundraiser, Stobo Hall, First Church, corner of Tay and Ythan Sts, Invercargill, Sunday, June 10, 2.30pm-4.30pm.

Tickets available from First Church’s office on Tay St, between 9.30am and noon. Tickets $20.

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