April 2024 Volume 20

Relocation of the Kingston College Organ

Rev. Dr. Barry Davies
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Did you know that the newly restored pipe organ at KC was not always in its present location over the West door at St. Augustine’s chapel?

In the 1950s and 1960s, it was hidden away behind the choir Stalls on the South side.

The main problem with that location (commonly found in churches) was that it was impossible for an organist who was also the choir director to both play the organ and be in front of the choir, directing.

Another problem was that the organist was not able to see when processions from the West door were ready to start. A non-musical problem, also, there was no place for choir robes to be stored, and where the choristers could robe appropriately and then process.

Moving the entire organ solved the problems. The Fortis shield was added at a later date.

Following the pattern of so many churches abroad, the decision was made to relocate the pipes to the far end of the sanctuary (to their present location), but that the Console (where the organists sits) would be moved to where it is now located. It would be movable, so as to be facing the choir or congregation, or in the event of an organ concert, be turned so that the audience would be able to watch the performer. The organist/choir director could now be in front of the singers, and this solved what had been a serious problem.

Mr. Douglas Forrest, the Headmaster during these years, was fully supportive of this major organ relocation, and encouraged full use of it by identifying students who might become organists in their time.

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