The first substantial signs of restoration are being seen in (or arther under) the town hall. Three grout machines that have been specifically imported from Germany are happily regurgitating their concrete under the building as the first major step to strengthening the land which suffered so badly in the earthquakes. The restoration of the Town Hall, which also includes a significant upgrade and refurbishment of the facility, is due to be completed in 2018. Read more on the Press website here
The inimitable Pipedreams radio programme chaired, presented, and no doubt researched by Michael Barone is presenting this week's programme on that ever-so English tradition of Town Halls. As Michael writes: "…the tradition of grand pipe organs in civic halls seems to have been an English invention, one carried on successfully throughout the Empire and still maintained…and emulated…today."
It is divided into 2 one-hour programmes, and Michael begins the second hour with some tracks from Martin Setchell's Priory CD "Great Australasian Organs VII" recorded on the Christchurch Rieger. The new Klais in Auckland and Dunedin's Norma also appear.
For details and how to listen to Pipedreams, go here:
The good news is that work on the town hall repairs is progressing well, and according to project manager, Patrick Cantillon, workers will install their first jet grout column soon. Whoopppeeee! Anyone know what a jet grout column is? I'll ask Patrick next time I'm talking to him.
For more info and pictures look at the latest newsletter here.
And while you're at it, check out the competition for October, where you can go in the draw to win a lovely organs of the world calendar for 2016.
In a whirl of Tweetings, Facebook postings, emails, phone calls and any other means of communication we are embarked on one last fight: the Christchurch City Council meets this Thursday for once and for all to consider the Deloitte report on the viability of the rebuild/restoration of the Christchurch Town Hall. Martin will be making a submission along with many others to the council on Wednesday (tomorrow) and the public debate and private council meeting will happen on Thursday. If you can, and want to, contact the city councillors with your views; if tweeting, use the hashtag #ilovechchtownhall. It's vital that we show our appreciation of this hall and back the findings of the Deloitte firm in their report. (Unfortunately the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery and the Earthquake Commission, the Hon. Gerry Brownlee, didn't think it necessary to read this report before blabbing to the media about how the rebuild should not go ahead; and The Press, even more stupidly, didn't think it was odd to print such comments given they were based on ignorance.
It would also pay to keep in mind the very heartening choice of our Christchurch Town Hall as one of the top 10 halls in the world ; read this article here.
Anyway, we are doing all we can. What follows is the list of councillors you should contact before Thursday :
Mayor Lianne Dalziel
Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck
Councillor Raf Manji:
Councillor Ali Jones:
Councillor Glenn Livingstone:
Councillor Yani Johanson
Councillor Jamie Gough:
Councillor David East:
Councillor Andrew Turner:
Councillor Phil Clearwater:
Councillor Paul Lonsdale:
Councillor Jimmy Chen:
Councillor Pauline Cotter:
Christchurch City Council official twitter and FB account:
Optimism all on for Thursday
Ahead of the decision this Thursday, The Press published this reaction to the report for the Christchurch City Council: Work could start soon on restoring the Christchurch Town Hall.
The report was comprehensive and very positive. You can read it in its entirety if you follow this link and scroll down to the June 11 date. The report is contained in the appendix to the agenda for the Christchurch City Council meeting on Thursday.
Better still, if you live in Christchurch, go to the public debate in the morning, before the council shuffle off to chat things over in private...
Cross all digits, people.
PS: we wouldn't want to have to start again really, would we??!?
So here's another world authority to confirm what we have known for years in Christchurch: that we have a top world-class acoustic in the Christchurch Town Hall. In a recent letter to The Press, Dr Ian Lochhead wrote:
"What does Christchurch have in common with the following cities: Lucerne, Boston, Manchester, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Lahti (Finland), Tokyo and Sao Paolo? According to an article by Professor Trevor Cox in The Guardian of (March 5) these cities possess 10 of the best concert halls in the world. Cox is Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford and was President of the Institute of Acoustics from 2010 to 2012. He is also an acclaimed author and broadcaster on the science of sound.
Here is confirmation by an international authority writing in one of the world’s leading newspapers of what we, in Christchurch, have always known; that our Town Hall is one of the best concert halls in the world. Seven of the concert halls in Cox’s list are in Europe, eight are in the northern hemisphere but only one is in Australasia. Of the cities listed only Lahti is smaller than Christchurch; all the others are many times its size.
Our Town Hall is an invaluable asset to the city that, if properly promoted, will generate cultural tourism, international recognition and civic pride while also fulfilling pressing local needs. Sadly, Cox is wrong about one thing; he reports that the Town Hall is currently being repaired."
Thanks Ian - so well put. the article to which he refers can be found in The Guardian newspaper here.
It's four years since Christchurch went into shock with the shaking of the ground, the roar of the earth as if in childbirth, the falling of masonry and tumbling of walls. We count our blessings every day that we were not among the 185 who died on February 22nd, 2011 when the earthquake struck; neither have we had to suffer huge physical pain and recovery. Others are still battling - and are likely to for some time - money, housing and job worries of a most basic nature. The worst we must cope with is uncertainty about the future of the Town Hall and the Rieger pipe organ, which is still inside, patiently waiting for normal life to resume. In the last four years, the 'new' normal has meant sitting underneath spitfire planes in the Airforce Museum for orchestral concerts, cancellation of so many usual concert series, having the number of pipe organs reduced from 77 in the region to 4 before they have begun to slowly claw their way back to life again, and a myriad of other annoying life changes. Taken one-by-one they are easy to cope with; but heaped together as they are, sometimes life becomes unbearably difficult to negotiate. But we have not suffered as those who did who were trapped but survived, often with horrible and debilitating injuries. We have lost only a venue, the heartbeat that is the town hall, and of course the use of the fine organ inside it which is the whole reason for the existence of this website.
All the friends of this organ - of which there are many around the globe - fervently hope the hall will be repaired and re-open so we can all hear the organ resound again, and in the century to come. We can only hope it doesn't take another four years. Or longer.