Pipeathon 2013: Cardiff, 16 March
Some people like to sponsor a penguin or a meerkat in a zoo, but for music lovers the opportunity to sponsor a length of precious organ pipe might be more appealing. Tabernacl Church in the heart of Cardiff’s city centre will kick-start a Pipeathon on Saturday 16th March (9am-9pm) to help raise the remaining £15,000 needed to complete its organ restoration. The organ playing marathon will see three organists, dressed in Wales rugby shirts, each playing three hour sets in the run up to the Wales v England Six Nations rugby match.
Each one foot long section of the organ’s 2,000 feet, or almost 4 miles of piping, will be available to sponsor for the princely sum of £1 and all proceeds will go towards completing the £100,000 organ restoration programme.
Originally built in 1907 by the Bath firm of Griffen and Stroud, a substantial contribution toward the building of the organ was donated by Sir Alfred Thomas MP (later Lord Pontypridd), who was a faithfu ldeacon at Tabernacl from 1883 until his death in 1927.
With the installation of the organ and its chamber, the interior of the building changed dramatically, as previously the pulpit stood in front of the rear wall, without the rooms now provided for the minister and deacons.
By 1972 the organ was in a poor state of repair, and J W Walker & Sons of London were employed to change the original tracker action to electro-pneumatic along with other essential repair work.
Whilst celebrating the organ’s centenary in 2007, it was obvious that many parts of the instrument were showing their age, some of which were a hundred years old, not having been renewed by the work carried out by Walker in 1972.
A number of companies were invited to tender for the work of overhauling the organ, and the firm of Henry Willis & Sons, Liverpool were chosen.
Euros Evans, one of the Pipeathon organists and coordinator on behalf of the Tabernacl organists, said, ‘Music has always played an integral part in life of the church since the days of W.T. Samuel, Teddy Richards and Arwel Hughes and what better way to raise the roof on match day than some rousing hymns, classics and popular tunes played on our wonderful organ by some of Wales’ finest organists. These include Rob Nicholls and Mark Jon Williams.
‘Everybody is welcome to just drop in at Tabernacl in the Hayes on March 16th and stay and listen as long as they wish. If they could also leave a donation or even considering becoming a sponsor of a foot or more of organ piping then we would be very grateful.
‘With the refurbishment of the organ, we hope that the instrument will continue to make an important contribution to the praise and spiritual life of the church for generations to come.’