It will be the end of an era tonight (Thursday) when a historic church organ is played to the public for the final time - in the Calder Valley at least.
The church of St John the Baptist in the Wilderness, Cragg Vale will be saying “bon voyage” to its pipe organ next month when it departs for Marcilhac sur Célé in southern France, but tonight Professor David Baker, the church organist, will give a farewell recital.
This will proceed a talk by David Glover on “The Brontes in Calderdale”, which starts at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm).
As part of a reordering project, the organ, considered by experts as being a good instrument but too big for St John’s, will be carefully dismantled, packed and shipped across to its new home in an abbey in the medieval french town.
The vicar of St John’s Cathy Reardon said it would be a sad day for the church when the organ goes, but said she was happy that it was going to a good home.
“With the alterations, it means the organ will be too big for the church,” said Rev Reardon, who is also the vicar of St Michael’s in Mytholmroyd.
“It’s a really good and very powerful instrument, and it’s going to a good home and a place where it’s going to be better suited. We’re getting a similar pipe organ to replace it.
“But we’re not going to install that until the alterations are complete.
“We won’t be without music because we’ll be using a piano in the meantime.
“It’s obviously sad when something that has such strong historical links to the church is being taken away, but it’s going to such a good home we know that it will carry on being enjoyed and that’s really lovely.”
Planned alterations include a disabled lift to create access to the upper floor, a new kitchen, improvements to the choir vestry and the vicar’s vestry, new toilets, and more.
Tickets for the recital and talk are £3, which includes a glass of sherry.
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