It seems very relevant to publicize it here now!
The Developing Yarmouth Organ Project
Progress Report 19th August 2014
The Brunzema transport went off on 31st July with hardly any problems
- finding some of the pieces since then has sometimes been challenging, but,
so far, we’ve found everything we’ve looked for!
Unfortunately there are no remaining drawings and the organ-builder Gerhard Brunzema is now dead.
However two of Brunzema’s 1983 team are still alive, and a member of Holy Trinity choir is friends with
(and yesterday talked to) one of them - Blair Batty. Blair has his own small organ workshop in Ontario.
The organist Richard Birney Smith (who Wolfville initiative-taker Freeman Dryden, of Organ Rescue-fame,
put me in touch with) knows the other - Leslie Smith - an organ-maker and “voicer” of great skill, I am told.
People from near and far seem to have heard about the Organ Project and Holy Trinity’s spearheading of it.
Those I meet after services, those I met yesterday (Monday 18/8) and people who write to me and call me
are asking about the wider aspects of the project as well as the “How long will it take to...?” question about
the re-assembly of the Brunzema organ itself. (Ah! That question!)
The people I meet on site are fascinated, engaged, encouraging, etc.
They understand that though it may only take 3 days to disassemble such an organ as ours
- that is if one has a team of 13 who have been whipped into volunteering action
by engaged people who see a "nasty" deadline approaching -
it actually takes considerably longer to put the organ back together in a new physical situation,
without the 13 constant volunteers, and without the benefit of IKEA-type drawings!
Admittedly we did take good photos of much of the dismantling process, and most parts are labeled!
Our aim of making the organ look and sound as good as (or better than) it did in Wolfville meets hearty approval.
People also ask me about Yarmouth Organ Project’s organ-part repository and if this could relate to
a possible resurrection, in one form or another, of Holy Trinity’s Casavant. (The $1,000-question!)
They ask about other churches and halls needing organs.
When I explain how the (smaller) Brunzema organ’s reconstruction can teach us technical
organ-reconstruction skills and foster interest in local organ-building, tuning and voicing
as a cottage industry (similar to what is happening on the US Eastern Seaboard) their eyes light up -
I see how the common “it will never happen here” is changing into exciting possibility in these peoples’ worlds.
It is beginning to be understood that the Yarmouth Organ Project is a vision which stands a good chance
of succeeding; this obviously thrills them!
Co-incidentally with this opening-up of the discussion about how to use the quality-pipes
and maybe other parts of the Casavant, we have just been told (Tues 19th Aug) that
another organ in Kentville (Kentville United Church changes owners at the end of September)
is facing the threat of landfill - the HRM church which was interested in taking the Kentville organ has backed out. Kentville United is very anxious to save as much of the organ as possible for posterity.
We in Yarmouth are looking into saving the pipes - if we can take them down and pack them into boxes -
and even the console (just as we did in Wolfville) & finding a way of transporting them from Kentville to Yarmouth.
Freeman Dryden (he made the pipe-boxes for our Brunzema) and some of his team are willing to
do "a Wolfville-dismantle" for this Kentville organ. (*see update below)
And those who helped to dismantle the Brunzema-organ, just for the "love and fun of it", have said
they would be interested to be part of South-west Nova projects which re-assemble
At the moment, we don’t know what the Kentville pipes will be used for exactly, but our vision could be
that they become part of the to-be-rebuilt-in-another-way “once-upon-a-time-Holy-T-Casavant”
or we could help a nearby church or meeting-hall acquire an organ of great quality at minimum cost!
The Kentville pipework is fabulous (both gentle and powerful) and would work extremely well with
other pipes of any Casavant organ, or even in a newly revamped Holy Trinity organ! Who knows?!
The immediate need for an organ-pipe repository is obvious.
For Holy Trinity church this project has become an expanding opportunity for Holy Trinity to be
part of the leading edge of a new trend in quality sacred music craftmanship - which is already increasing
our field of influence, attracting visitors, engaging the young from not-so-near and the local community,
and causing joy in many, many people!
The Kentville organ's Great and Pedal were dismantled 25th August and next week, from Mon 8th Sept,
a team will start work on the Swell.
Anyone who is available to help, please call John on (902) 774-0530 asap.