Thanks to the continued generosity of Robert Albert, the College Chapel organ is currently being fully refurbished in time for the annual Carol Service in early December.
The St Paul’s College Chapel pipe organ was built in 1971 by the Dutch firm of Flentrop and made possible by the generosity of the late Sir Alexis Albert CMG and his family. Sir Alexis was in College (1926-28), as were his three sons: Robert 1953-56, Ted 1956–58 and Tony 1958-62.
The generosity of the Albert family to the College has been enduring, particularly the legacy of Robert Albert who, 20 years ago, assisted the College with a significant donation that allowed the building of the Albert Wing. The Albert Wing was opened and dedicated in September 1999, and continues to house the College office and many student rooms.
With the Hon Lloyd Waddy AM, Robert was co-founder of the St Paul’s College Foundation in 1977 which, thanks to the support of so much on-going generosity from Paulines and friends, has been the major supporter of student scholarships. Robert continues his personal benefaction to the College through the Albert and Pauline Scholarships which provide a number of full and part scholarships annually.
Our organ, brought out from Holland in 1972 and dedicated after its installation in June of that year, is regarded as one of the finest instruments of its period and of considerable musical value. The Flentrop firm has its instruments in venues all around the world, but this opus is the only Flentrop organ in Australia.
The organ is from what is known as the Organ Reform Movement ideology which takes the mechanical and tonal basis back to classical principles. The organ (except for the electric wind blower) is entirely mechanical, with thousands of finely adjusted moving parts, as well as the pipes themselves.
The organ has given near faultless service for over 48 years in the College Chapel, used every week in semester to accompany the Chapel choir, as well as in other special services in the Chapel.
The instrument is currently undergoing a complete restoration by the Sydney firm of P.D.G. Jewkes and should take about five months to complete. It is currently being cleaned internally and all 880 pipes are being removed, cleaned, repaired and reinstated. The façade pipes will be polished and re-gilded and, with the casework polishing, will give the organ a renewed sparkle. A complete restoration of the reed stop, the Kromhoorn, is being undertaken to replace these 56 pipes with brand new pipes that will sound with tonally superior qualities and will better blend with the rest of the organ.
The manual keyboards have been sent to the German organ building firm, Aug. Laukhuff GmbH in Baden-Württemberg, which originally manufactured them, for a complete refurbishment.
The works are being funded through the generosity, once again, of Robert Albert AO – for which the College community is immensely grateful.
The organ is planned to be fully operational for the Carol Service at 7 pm on Sunday 1 December. All are welcome to join the College on this special occasion to hear the newly refurbished organ singing again!
Pictured above: Organ builder Rodney Ford working on the pedal pipes in early August 2019 (Photo: RVH Morgan)