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28th Jun, 2022

Malvern organ builders pull out all the stops on latest New Zealand export

THE LARGEST church organ to be built in Great Britain for 75 years has completed its staggering 11,000-mile export from Malvern to New Zealand.

Andrew Moyes, managing director of Lower Interfields-based organ builders Nicholson & Co, has played a huge part in the £2.2million scheme to build the instrument for Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland.

After almost two years of hard work, the 40-tonne organ was shipped to its new home piece by piece in seven 40ft containers.

With 5,432 pipes, 92 speaking stops and two four-manual consoles, the new Nicholson organ is the largest ever to be installed in Australasia and marks the restoration of Holy Trinity which will be consecrated in October.

However, Mr Moyes, who is a member of St Martin’s Church in Worcester, told the Observer he had mixed emotions over the completion of the project.

“I am glad the building of the organ was successful but it’s a sorry feeling because this is the end of the job for us now,” he said.

“I have received so many emails from people in New Zealand complimenting our work.

“We also had a great report from Australian concert organist Thomas Heywood who inspected and signed off the organ for our client.

“The last organ to have been built of comparable size was in Norwich Cathedral in 1942 so it’s quite an achievement for a local firm to make some history.

“It has been a real team effort by our 18 staff members and we are pleased with the outcome.”

Mr Heywood said in his report the new organ would be the most famous musical instrument in the southern hemisphere.

He added: “It is an instrument of outstanding quality in every respect.

“The casework is iconic, the tonal finishing superb and the constructional finish is impeccable.

“The clever and comprehensive nature of the tonal design will become clearly apparent to all as the instrument shows its prowess accompanying everything from the largest congregational singing to the most intimate anthem.”

Mr Moyes first flew to Auckland in 2012 to tender for a new organ and it was after committee members of Holy Trinity visited Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, to see Nicholson & Co’s recent work, that a contract was drawn up between the two parties.

Following months of designing, construction of the new organ commenced in the Leigh Sinton factory in September 2015.

And the completion of the huge project brings the curtain down on Mr Moyes’ time as managing director as he will be retiring at the end of this year after 23 years in the post.

“It’s time for someone else to slide across into the driving seat,” said the former engineer.

“The organ for Holy Trinity was a great job to finish on as it was a culmination of what we have been doing since the 1990s.

“The last 23 years have been hard work but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I have never stopped learning during my time as managing director but now is the right moment for me to stand to one side.”

Mr Heywood will be performing an organ recital at St Martin’s this Saturday at 7.30pm.

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