A Message from the Chairman!

Well, 2022 is off to a pretty good start!

In my last newsletter page I asked for members to come forward and participate in the RCO’s online Winter Conference.

However, I am beginning to think that my IBO email address doesn’t work, as disappointingly, no-one came forward. In the end, Andrew Caskie and I flew the flag for the IBO in a live virtual presentation. I introduced the IBO, and we each spoke about our respective firms and the work currently going through our workshops. This was followed by a conversation coordinated by Andrew and I, covering topics we thought would be of interest for the RCO delegates, ending in a Q&A session.

The questions discussed were:

• What are the differences between restoration, reconstruction and rebuild?

• Is it possible for a firm to be serious about historical restoration if they also rebuild some organs?

• What do you feel about the state of the UK organ building industry now, and in the future?

• Why is organ building so expensive?

• How easy is it to recruit staff?

• Is there much innovation in design and materials in new organs these days?

• Do different UK firms get on with each other?

There is an excellent write-up of this event by Simon Williams (Director, RCO East, South, and South West) later in this newsletter. You can also download and watch the event here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2dmwny3jr2pya08/ IBO%20Webinar.mp4?dl=0

A goodly number of you joined us in person for the first meeting of the year in Waltham Abbey and Ponsbourne. As they say, “better late than never”, and two years later than planned, it was good to finally hear the work done by Mander Organs to two very different Walker instruments, each of a very different discipline – rebuild and restoration. As ever, the buffet lunch was excellent, which was just as well, as we needed it for the unforeseen and torturous 8 mile journey from Waltham Abbey to Ponsbourne! You can read more about this in the forthcoming pages.

Many of you will have seen the regrettable announcement through social media on the 1st March, that Henry Willis & Sons Ltd had resigned their membership of the IBO. The charitable constitution of the IBO requires subscriptions to be paid within three months or membership automatically ceases. The Trustees wish it to be known that, after considerable flexibility shown in accommodating numerous delays beyond this point, it became clear that the company was unable to meet its obligations under the constitution. A final deadline was given and the company chose to resign its membership several hours beforehand. The IBO wish Henry Willis & Sons Ltd every best wish, and hope that they may reconsider their position in the future.

I’m sure you’ve not skipped past our front cover and have seen the exciting announcement that the first ever UK National Professional Apprenticeship course in organ building will be delivered from September this year!

Do please join us for our Open Day on Friday 22nd April at the impressive Building Craft College in Stratford, London. You will experience tutors teaching current student crafts people at their benches and, in coming along, you are not making any commitment. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to this excellent facility and the potential it offers our craft.

Many thanks to Steve Bayley, Dominic Gwynn and Carol Levey for their hard work getting it this far. And not forgetting their forbears on the journey, Laura Venning and Geoff McMahon.

Upcoming Events:

• 22nd April – the UK Professional Organ Building Apprenticeship Open Day at the Building Crafts College (please register your attendance beforehand, if possible, with the Administrator for catering purposes)

• Date tbc – Online video presentation by Flentrop Orgelbouw

• 18th June – St Peter, Wolvercote (Jennings Organs 2016), Radley College (Nicholson & Co. 2021) & St Birinus, Dorchester on Thames (Bernard Aubertin 2021)

• 30th July – AGM/OGM at Chelsea Old Church (William Drake 2019) and St Peter’s Vauxhall

• Date tbc – Summer training course on wire work and BBQ at Goetze & Gwynn

• 7th – 9th October – Autumn weekend residency in Canterbury (see save the date notice later in the newsletter) • Date tbc – Autumn training course on cone tuning at William Drake Ltd

Our AGM is being held a little later than normal this year, during which we will be bidding farewell to two of our trustees who complete their four-year term of office. This year there will be a total of three places becoming available on the board of trustees. Have you ever considered being a board member? If not, why not? It is a common misconception that board members are only representatives of larger firms. The board needs a wide range of representation from within its membership, and as such, any Business, Trade Supplier or Personal member is eligible to be elected to the board of trustees. As we now meet on Zoom, being a trustee isn’t an onerous task either. If you have any questions about becoming a trustee, do not hesitate to speak to either myself, the Administrator or any other trustee.

So come on, don’t be shy, step forward and help play a part in shaping our IBO and drop me an email – even if it is to prove that my IBO email still works …

Happy Easter to you all – when it comes!

Andrew Scott