Inaugural recital of Watton church’s rebuilt organ

St Mary’s Church in Watton is looking forward to the inaugural recital by Julian Haggett of its newly refurbished organ, following a three-year campaign to raise £37,000 for the organ’s restoration.    

On Saturday, September 16 at 7pm Julian Haggett, the Organist of St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich, will perform the inaugural recital on the newly rebuilt organ at St Mary’s Church, Watton.

The event marks the culmination of a lot of hard work to raise the £37,000 needed to have the organ refurbished.

Organist and Choir Mistress Lorraine Eldridge (pictured above with Julian) said: “Our much loved organ is used for Sunday services each week, not counting the funerals, weddings and Civic Services throughout the year, making it a vital resource in the church for the worshipping congregation and the local people.” 

“The restoration process has been such a journey of faith for me.”

The money for the restoration was raised through grants from charitable trusts and a series of events including summer lunchtime recitals, quiz nights, concerts, an auction of promises and individual donations.  A Let’s Make History project was also organised, encouraging sponsorship of organ parts and the compilation of a book of dedications and memories as part of the church archive.

Work undertaken included replacing poor electro-pneumatic action, pistons, swell and great soundboards, installing a new switching system, re-making the pipe-chest, undertaking necessary repairs to pipes and tonal alterations to be more sympathetic to the original specification.

The work on the organ was completed in April 2017.  A service of rededication and blessing took place on April 22, the fifth anniversary of the rededication of the reordered church.

The service was sung by the Horatio Singers with guest organist William Falconer. Rev Canon David Foster, the Bishop’s Officer for Ordinands and Curates in Training, pronounced the blessing with Music Scholar Abra Heritage and the Young Choristers in attendance.

Julian Haggett, currently Organist at St Peter Mancroft, gained his practical experience on the organ of St Mary’s. He helped with the fundraising campaign, hosting a recital with cheese and wine, and answering questions about his career and his informed opinion on why the organ needed to be restored.   

There is free entry to the recital with donations taken in aid of the continuing musical education of the Young Choristers.

St Mary’s Church, Church Road, Watton, IP25 6DQ

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