Horbury church looks to restore organ

Representatives from the musical world, local schools, the council, the church, and community organisations have met at St Peter’s Church in Horbury recently to hear about plans to restore its organ. 
Built by Arthur Harrison in 1921, whose firm also built the organs at King’s College, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the instrument has accompanied generations of worshippers, brides walking down the aisle, mourners at funerals, and those who have visited the church for concerts and recitals. 
In recent decades the organ fell out of use and into a state of disrepair, and although the instrument has been repaired and is now working, it was realised in 2017 that a larger restoration project would be needed.
Individuals from local bodies took part in an information evening this past weekend, where they could enjoy the sound of the organ in a recital from Mr Stephen Parker, Organist and Director of Music at St Peter’s, and consider the possibilities such a project might hold for the local community.
Fr Christopher Johnson, Vicar of St Peter’s, said: “Music has the potential to draw people together, and to bring healing, wholeness and joy to people’s lives. 
“It is our hope that when we can launch this project formally, it will be a real force for good in the local community.”
As part of the evening, those who gathered were shown a video demonstrating an organ building workshop, in which participants are helped to construct their own small working organ, as well as a video about how music can help in the fight against dementia.
Fr Johnson added: “At the moment many people are feeling the effects of isolation and poor mental health. 
“Those with their own businesses, and especially those in the arts, are also worried about what the future holds for them. 
“If we can secure funding, we believe this project would be a real boost to the local economy and to the arts, and will help combat loneliness and improve people’s well-being, as well as supplying Horbury’s parish church with a beautifully-restored organ.”
The project is likely to cost the parish around £200,000, including the restoration of the instrument and activities which will be offered to the local community. 
These could involve concerts and recitals, organ scholarships, workshops for schools, outreach to nursing and care homes, heritage open days, and much more. 
If you would like to know more about the project or offer your support, please visit horburychurch.com.

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