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Barossa 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ Concerts

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by Nathaniel Mason (subscribe)
Adelaide event photographer and writer, discovering, capturing and sharing the things that make SA a great place as a photographer, explorer and family.
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A concert series with 140 years of history and 2,260 pipes
Regardless of whether you are an organ enthusiast or not, you can't help but be astonished and amazed by the incredible sound and engineering of The 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ.

The 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ is one of three organs built by Hill & Son of London, for Australian town halls and previously stood in the Adelaide Town Hall until it was rebuilt in 1970, and replaced in 1989 by a new instrument. The Organ Historical Trust of Australia (OHTA) was fortunate to take ownership of this instrument with the goal of it being restored/reconstructed to original condition.

The restoration project has run for over 20 years and with restoration of the organ now complete, the pipes will be open to sing to the public on August 30, 31 and September 7 in the Grand Opening Gala Concert Series.

Barossa Regional Gallery Hill & Son Organ Concert
The Barossa Regional Gallery 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ makes a commanding presence on stage and sounds even more incredible!

The 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ certainly does stand a grand 10 metres high, 8.5 metres wide and 5 metres deep from front to back. It assumes a commanding presence in the hall, extending from the ceiling to well below the stage. The intricate carved casing and decorative work on the pipes has been painstakingly sanded, varnished and painted and is simply breathtaking from the moment you enter the hall.

Some astonishing facts about the astounding instrument include;

There are a total of 2,260 pipes, with 37 different speaking stops (or types of sounds)
The largest pipe is 10 metres long (32 feet)
The smallest pipe is about 2 inches, no longer than your little finger!
All movement is actioned by mechanical key and stop actions
The organ is operated by 3 inches of water pressure and can be hand pumped

The Barossa region enjoys a diverse organ heritage and strong local music traditions and festivals that are still an important part of the Barossa way of life. There are over 20 pipe organs in the wider Barossa area, mainly smaller organs representing the work of at least 10 organ builders. This organ landscape is greatly complemented by the larger 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ and it has been said that nowhere else in Australia has a greater culture of pipe organs in a community than in the Barossa!

The "Friends of the Hill & Son Grand Organ" group was established in 2000 and have raised awareness and funds for the instrument . Over the course of restoration, Friends and volunteers have held monthly music meetings at organ venues around the region and work been undertaken weekly to contribute thousands of hours of work with direction from the organ builder and other experts in their field.

Over $400,000 of funds has been raised through the OHTA Appeal through private and corporate donations. Grants from all Government sources total less than 1% of the total dollar amount raised. Sponsorship by way of 'in-kind' contributions equating to in excess of $600,000. OHTA estimate that to build a new organ today of comparable size and scale would cost in excess of $2.5 million.

A number of very successful organ "tasting" concerts have been held over the past 5 years to demonstrate the incremental progress of the restoration and will culminate with the official Grand Opening concert series in August and September 2014. Details as follows:

Concert 1 - "Grand Opening Gala Concert". Saturday 30 August 2014 at 7.30 pm.
Dominic Perissinotto, organ, with other noted brass and vocal artists. Tickets $35.00

Concert 2 - "Grand Concert in Town Hall Style". Sunday 31 August 2014 at 2.30 pm.
Dominic Perissinotto, organ. Tickets $25.00

Concert 3 - "Bach to the Future". Sunday 7 September 2014 at 2.30 pm.
Christopher Wrench, organ. Tickets $25.00

All tickets are available from the Barossa Regional Gallery on 08 8563 3199

Barossa Regional Gallery Hill & Son Organ Concert
The 1877 Hill & Son Grand Organ has 3 tiers of keys, 37 types of sound and 2,260 pipes!

This Project was initiated and managed by the Organ Historical Trust of Australia (OHTA), a nationally registered non-profit organisation which has much experience in large and technically complex projects of this nature. OHTA consider the Hill & Son Grand Organ Restoration as a project that affects a far reaching population from national and international, historical and music making perspectives. They consider it a very significant and tremendously exciting project for South Australia and beyond.

OHTA pays tribute to dedicated and committed expert work of organ builder George Stephens in achieving such an outstanding level of success, something that has not been seen anywhere else on this scale. A salute is also give to the contribution of Irwin Beitz and Steve Kaesler in particular, together with local volunteers and the Friends of the Hill & Son organ.

For a backstage photo tour, click here: Backstage Photo Tour

Further information on the organization, project reports and photographs, visit the OHTA Website

More about Barossa galleries and museums here

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Why? 140 years of history and an immeasurable musical experience
When: 30, 31 August and 7 September
Phone: 08 8563 3199
Where: Barossa Regional Gallery
Cost: $35
Your Comment
Organs are certainly very impressive instruments, both in appearance and the sound they produce.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12622) 2263 days ago
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