Celebration of restoration of historic organ
The Bishop of London joined the congregation and local community at St Mary-at-Finchley for the re-dedication of the church’s 1878 Willis organ.
The historic instrument debuted at the service after a £100,000 refurbishment to provide necessary repairs and bring the instrument up to date. With the organ restored, St-Mary-at-Finchley is ready to welcome visitors for a series of concerts in the New Year, starting with an inaugural recital on 21 January 2012 by Peter Wright of Southwark Cathedral.
In attendance at the service were local dignitaries including the Mayor of Barnet and the Deputy Lieutenant of London, Martin Russell. The church bells were rung in celebration in the historic ‘Finchley Surprise Major’ pattern, echoing the organ’s original dedication service in 1878.
While the Church received contributions for the refurbishment from a number of organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund, much of the money was raised through the imaginative fundraising of the congregation and local community.
A wide range of fundraising events were held, from concerts to art auctions to a lecture on the history of fashion. Many of the musicians, artists and others who helped in the fundraising process joined the service to celebrate, reflecting the active music tradition enjoyed by the parish of St Mary-at-Finchley.
This is not the first time that the two-manual Henry Willis & Sons organ has needed refurbishment. The console was damaged by a bomb dropped on the night of 4 October 1940 and was rebuilt in 1948 as a memorial to those who died in the Second World War.
The Revd Philip Davison, Rector at St-Mary-at-Finchley, said:
"It was a wonderful occasion for the church family and our many friends in the wider community. Not only were we celebrating a great achievement but we were also marking the start of the next exciting phase of our musical worshipping life."