St Giles’ Organ Fund

Target: £605,000
Pledged So Far: £416,000

Existing organ at St. Giles’
(Freddy Chelsom)

Our organ: The existing St Giles’ organ was originally built in 1875 (replacing a much earlier one) and moved to its present position under the tower in 1952. Altered many times over the years, it is now sadly at the stage where critical electronic and mechanical components are worn out; it has become unreliable and we have been advised that it is now beyond economic repair.

Our new organ: At the heart of our project is the installation of a new mechanical action organ to accompany music making at St Giles’ and to enable the delivery of musical education to a new generation of young organists and singers. A new commission will allow us to create an entirely new musical and performance resource in the city, enabling us to invest in the next generation of young musicians, who will carry forward the musical traditions of St Giles’ through the 21st Century and beyond. We are currently developing a proposed specification with a renowned organ builder.

Perhaps you could think about sponsoring a pipe in the new organ to help us on our way?

The problems of the organ

(Dr. Nicholas Prozzillo)

Developing skills: We want our new organ to be one on which young musicians can develop their skills, and complete enough in its range of colour and sophistication of design for experienced organists to be able to demonstrate the vast repertoire of magnificent organ music written over the last five hundred years.

Widening access: Our commitment to widening access to the beauty of the English sacred musical tradition emboldens us to aspire to the installation of an instrument that reflects the very best of organ-building craftsmanship, making this available to learners of all backgrounds and abilities.

A multi-purpose instrument: The organ must serve divine worship, providing effective accompaniments for the choir’s contribution to the services and a rousing stimulus to the singing of the congregation, especially on the great Feasts of the Church when large numbers of people call for a strong and joyous voice from the organ to lead them.

A new organ for the City: A first-class new instrument will provide Oxford with an important additional resource for performance and learning in the heart of the City, complementing the resources already available but extending access to the 600 years of organ repertoire to the City and its people.

Training young organists: The increasing numbers of organ students from a wide range of educational backgrounds at St Giles’ and their obvious enthusiasm makes it clear that they will take full advantage of an instrument on which they can study every aspect of organ performance. It will bring them more closely into our church community and at the same time express our outreach into the wider community. For this one needs an instrument that can serve all the varied schools of music, from Bach and his school to the most recent of contemporary composers.

After St Giles’: A growing number of St Giles’ choristers are learning the organ, and several have gone on to take up organ-based musical scholarships and careers around the world. St Giles’ is eager to encourage musical children to become the men and women who will be the accomplished church musicians of the future, able to recruit singers, administer, conduct and inspire choirs, accompany divine worship, teach, perform concerts, and pass on their skills in turn to others.

A new organ will provide a vital tool to enable musicians young and old to:

Organ tuition at St. Giles’
  • Receive first-class organ tuition in this endangered art (23 organ pupils are currently registered and learning at St Giles’ – a truly remarkable number for a city parish church)
  • Prepare our students for organ scholarships
  • Undertake accredited examinations and diplomas
  • Accompany divine worship, rehearsals and other educational activities
  • Deliver a broad range of high-quality concerts for choirs and soloists

St Giles’ Junior Organ Scholar, Benjamin Grønlie, performed J S Bach’s Goldberg Variations on Sunday 5 December at 16:00 in St Giles’ Church Oxford. Concert in aid of a new organ

There are many ways to support our project. These include an opportunity to sponsor a pipe to help us to raise up to £200,000 towards the total cost of the new organ for St Giles’ or even making a major gift to help us in securing the instrument we need to support our work.

There are almost 400 pipes to sponsor, in all shapes and sizes, ranging in price from £25 for the smallest to £5,000 for the largest facade pipes.

There are seven ranks, each with 56 pipes. You can even sponsor the organ console itself. Pick the rank from our ‘Sponsor a Pipe‘ web page to see the pipes available for sponsorship.

You can specify a name to be associated with your sponsored pipe – it could be your own name, the name of a loved one you would like to commemorate in perpetuity or of an organisation. We are intending that the names of those who have had a pipe dedicated to them via the Sponsor a Pipe website will be recorded in a book to be kept on display in the church.

The name you choose will stay with your pipe for the lifetime of the organ, which we are hoping could be up to 200 years!

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