‘The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, since it is its traditional instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendour to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lift up men’s minds to God and higher things.’ Vatican II – Musicam Sacram

Organs – Care of Church Organs

A pipe organ is usually the single most valuable item in any church building for insurance purposes.  It should therefore be safeguarded. Not only has the organ a significant role in the liturgy, it may also be important in other ways, for example:

(a) An organ may have particular artistic, stylistic or musical significance.
(b) Architecturally, the organ may be of value due to being an integral part of an overall, architectural ensemble, or where part of the organ, case, pipe-work or mechanism is of interest.
(c) Organs built up to First World War should in general be regarded as historic, but there are also organs of a more recent date which have historic and artistic significance. 
(d) It should also be noted that not all historic organs are in historic or listed churches. There are also significant or historic organs in unlisted or recent churches.

This said, no assumption should be made of the worth of an organ without professional advice. This is because it is also the case that not all organs are of good quality and it is important that financial resources are not wasted on poor instruments. No work beyond careful routine maintenance should be undertaken without appropriate professional advice and permissions. An organ also should not be moved or any changes made prior to the obtaining of such advice and permissions.

Note: the above are important protective measures: 
(a) The inappropriate expenditure of even a very small sum of money can result in irreparable damage to an instrument. 
(b) It is also the case that inappropriate changes made to a historic organ may result in the organ becoming ineligible for grant-aid for restoration.


Maintenance

It is important that instruments are properly maintained by parishes to avoid major capital expenditure caused by neglect or inadequate care. Normally an organ should be tuned once each year and sometimes more often if the temperature and humidity of the building experience large changes over the seasons. If in doubt about maintenance advice should be sought.

Given proper care, an organ with a mechanical (tracker) mechanism has an almost indefinite life. Mechanical action organs exist in playing order from as early as the 14th century.

Organs with other playing mechanisms (pneumatic, electro-pneumatic, and electrical) have a shorter working life. The working life of these organs can be extended by renovation or replacement of the worn-out parts and by the organ being cleaned as necessary. This can often mean substantial work and expenditure at 25 or 30 year intervals.

Electronic organs can provide a temporary alternative in certain circumstances, especially if the church building is not to be maintained permanently. As these instruments tend to rely on computer technology, glued wood composites and loudspeakers, their construction materials are not comparable with the longevity of that which can be expected from a pipe organ, and therefore do not always make a good economic investment in the long term.

Advice should be obtained from the Cathedral Music Office with regard to suitable specialists in respect of pipe organs. Any capital expenditure relating to pipe or electronic organs should always be referred to the Diocesan Director of Music before any action is agreed or undertaken.

Highlights of our Rome tour with Bradford Catholic Youth Choir...Mass at the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura - singing under the 5th century mosaics and with the tomb of St Paul, preceded by a visit to the Pontifical College Beda for afternoon tea and rehearsal.

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One of the highlights of singing mass at St Peter's Basilica was our cathedral organ scholar Anthony conducting the choir - Anthony joined the choir 11 years ago as a treble, and is now studying music at Huddersfield University. Donate to our tour fund: https://t.co/WFFxzSSV96

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Lovely singing for the All Saints' Mass at @vecrome from BCYC this morning - thank you for having us! #bcycrome

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A great first day in Rome - pizza, Colosseum, and beautiful singing at Santa Maria Maggiore; we rehearsed in the most amazing chapel, then sang for the Vigil Mass of All Saints'.

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Today at Leeds Cathedral:

5.10pm Vespers (Boys and Scholars)
Magnificat octavi toni, Justin

5.30 pm Mass (Scholars)
Missa XVI, Gregorian
Benedic, anima mea, Lassus
Ave verum, Mozart
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Today at Leeds Cathedral:

5.10pm Vespers (Girls and Scholars)
Magnificat octavi toni, Morales

5.30 pm Mass (Scholars)
Mass for three voices, Byrd (K, A); Missa XVI (S)
Adoramus te, Lassus
Tantum ergo, de Séverac
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Today at Leeds Cathedral:

5.30 pm Mass (Boys)
Missa XI, Gregorian
Ave Maris stella, Monteverdi
In paradisum, Fauré
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We're back from Rome - an amazing trip for Bradford Catholic Youth Choir! We finished a busy schedule with an informal performance at the Palazzola last night, and a fully sung Mass this morning in the wonderful 13th Century chapel. Their excellent singing and behaviour were very warmly commented on everywhere we went. Thank you to the fabulous staff at Villa Palazzola for making us so welcome in the beautiful accommodation, and of course to our wonderful volunteer parent chaperones and staff who made this trip possible. ... See MoreSee Less

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Today at Leeds Cathedral:

9.30 am Mass (Cantor)

11am Mass (Huddersfield Girls Choir)
Missa in simplicitate, Langlais
Stella splendens, Llibre vermell
Panis angelicus, Franck
Organ: Placare Christe servulis, Dupré
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