News from Christchurch, a true Phoenix city at heart
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organ console Knox church
Martin and John Hargraves

Remembering, and rejoicing

On Sunday, February 1st, the pipe organ in Knox Presbyterian Church, Bealey Ave, Christchurch, was the centre of attention as both a symbol of rebirth for the city and the congregation.

Although the official 4-year anniversary of February's earthquake is a few weeks away, we are all conscious of the buildings and lives that have been shattered. The church was packed for Martin Setchell's inaugural concert on the now 3-manual organ, restored by the South Island Organ Company. Martin's diverse programme ranged from Handel and Wagner, through Schumann and Elgar to Takle and Goemanne, and he was also able to embrace the past by playing pieces by Lemare and Salom√© that were played by Dr Bradshaw at the opening of the original 2-manual Jenkins organ just over a century ago in 1904. Slightly more unusually, instead of an encore, Martin asked the co-director of the SIOC, John Hargraves, to sing the Malotte "Lord's Prayer", a double act which the pair had performed for a memorial service in the Timaru Basilica in 2012. Not often does the organ builder and the concert organist close the inaugural recital together.

Shining and new (-Ish): Rebuilt Knox Church with the organ, and the mobile console out front. 

pipeline press website

Tee-shirt competition

Pipeline Press website has had a BIIIIIG make-over. To celebrate, I've got a little competition for you, and the super-dooper prize this time is an "Organists are Great" t-shirt. Have a wander around the new-look Pipeline Press and go to the Fun page to find the competition. Open to all, anywhere, and the competition will close on February 16th. Head over to:  Pipeline Press . NOW!

Been bizzy, bizzy, bizzy. . .

OK, confession: I know this is also a ploy to get out of housework when possible, but I really HAVE been busy in the Zazzle organ gift shop trying to design for the new products the people behind the steering wheels dream up for us. So, just so you know, some of my latest organistic designs are for wooden rulers, cribbage boards (complete with a side slot for holding the cards), square and round poufs, and USB sticks (see images below). All relentlessly organ-themed, of course.  You know where to go? Try our new organ gifts section of

From the Swellbox

More videos and websites to waste time with:
  1. Before Christmas becomes too much of a distant fog, here's a BBC production "60 years of Carols from Kings" (ignore the Carlos from Kings sub-title!). Gorgeous music of course, and amazing footage.  Watch here
  2. Another boost to Christchurch's morale is the arrival of the ICC Cricket World Cup at the Hagley Oval, kicking off with an opening event on February 12. I know where Martin will be for the duration...Bat on:
  3. If you're coming to NZ for the cricket, another great bit of fun is the Queenstown Luge. Although Martin and I both had a wow of a time on it, we didn't quite get to the speed of the guy filming his descent. Queenstown Luge
  4. Remember the deadpan engineers who filmed a tutorial about cats? Here's their hilarious sequel. 
  5. All organists have had an accident, or an occasion they'd rather forget. Like this. (But this really worse than anything else I've seen or heard - how do they get away with it?)
Cats need ironing.
Must dash,
cheerful noises, and happy organ listening (and don't forget to enter the tee-shirt competition)
PS: Please let me know your reaction to the new-look  All comments are helpful. But be gentle with me... :-)
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