Music is a life-long gift – and it is one that a Hunter Valley man has more than repaid to his old school, with the donation of a grand new concert organ that is also a magnificent addition to the cultural life of Armidale.
Responding to an appeal for funds to repair the existing organ in The Armidale School’s Memorial Hall, the donor and his wife – who both wish to remain anonymous – felt they could raise the bar. The result is a $100,000 custom-made organ from the Allen Organ Company of Pennsylvania, US, which is the largest concert instrument in Armidale and the only one of its kind in Australia.
“Music, in all its forms and compositions can bring such unbridled pleasure and singing can lift the spirits and restore the soul. As an Old Boy of the school and in our own reflections on just how integral music was for each of us in our education, we knew it was essential that TAS have an instrument to inspire and transform the lives of young people who are fortunate enough to attend the school,” the donor said.
The organ has three keyboards and 50 ‘stops’ which provide a broad range of musical tonal colour. The console has been shaped from American walnut finished in oak, with French-style draw knobs fashioned from rosewood stems and maple faces.
Its musical magic will be showcased on 15 November at a gala concert by acclaimed organist Warwick Dunham, various TAS choirs and other performers. All music lovers are welcome to attend the concert which starts at 5pm and tickets for which can be purchased on the TAS website.
TAS Headmaster Murray Guest said the organ was not just a gift to the school, but also Armidale.
“It is a grand addition to the Memorial Hall – itself a gift of former students – where assemblies and ceremonies are held every week of the school year. However it will also be a wonderful asset to the cultural life of Armidale, and we are all indebted to the generosity of the donors for enabling that,” he said.