Taaaa-daaaaa! Here it is - well, some of it. As announced in the April newsletter yesterday, the nzorgan site has had a facelift, and I am rebuilding it almost as I did when first building it all those aeons ago in 1997. Much work to be still done but it keeps me off the street and away from housework. So that's good. I will be adding captions to installation photos, completing the transfer of the Musings and Amusings articles, and of course, keeping you posted about the progress with the rebuild - when it happens.
If you discover any glaring errors, let me know; always glad to hear from readers.
The image on the left is the earliest I can find of the original site and was in circulation in maybe 1998, about a year after the organ opened, at a guess. How amazing that people didn't run screaming from it and ring the police.
My Martin's had a big spruce up; not him (although he did have a hair cut the other day) but I've been slaving away at his new website so much that I've worn the white paint off my keyboard and have had to dig out a new one so I can see what I'm typing. It's a great excuse for typos of course, but..
I digress. Martin's new website is a considerable improvement on the old mish-mash which grew like topsy and which was almost impossible to find your way around - including for me.
Check it out Martin's website here and let me know if you like it /hate it/ think the cats could do better etc. If I've missed including anything, please do tell me because I think my brain has shrivelled away to the size of a pea and the value of a piece of cardboard.
Yes, a long 15 months since we last saw the organ as it was being tucked up for the duration. How long? As long as it takes is the usual answer in post-quake Christchurch.
I wanted to show up-dated photos of the organ, but since it doesn't appear practical to enter the auditorium any more (climbing Mt Cook in jandals would be easier), the nice people at the City Council have sent me two pictures to use on this website. It does look snug and secure. What a party we will have when the wrapping paper comes off. Whenever that is. Notice in the second photo how much work has been down on the lower stage area. Great to see.
If you want to see more photos of the pipe organ being put to bed, check out this page here
I'm trying to transfer across each day at least something from the old site. Today - despite it being a dazzlingly beautiful day and the weeds in the garden poking their tongues out at me, I managed to get three more pages from David Bridgeman-Sutton's wonderful Musings and Amusings series in 2007 copied across. Do check them out- unexpected delights and surprises, and considerable amount of information all presented in a page of reading.
Slowly, slowly, the transfer of articles from the old nzorgan website continues. I've now covered from the most recent Musings and Amusings back to "An Eloquent Music" in 2007. Blame the riveting cricket matches that have been a characteristic of this year's ICC Cricket World Cup, which is being hosted by Australia and New Zealand. And joy of joys, and against all our expectations, our superb Blackcaps team has for the first time ever, made it to the finals. Great joy and nail-biting in equal measures. The final is today, 4.30pm New Zealand time, in Melbourne. After that, we will have to remember what it was we did with our lives. (That's one of the aspects of cricket - the games, even the ODI, take so long - it's both a good and a bad thing. ). So please don't try to contact anyone in New Zealand today - they won't answer the phone anyway. Would be a great time to have a military coup, come to think of it...
The earthquake pages are filling up too - so have a wander around those. I found some excellent videos which say more about these underground monsters than I ever could.
Since the organ was installed in 1997, I have lived with this website and tried to tame it into submission. Now, in 2015, it has fallen behind the fashions and developments of html, CSS and all the other gobbledygook that I've learned to contend with. Pages have fallen by the wayside, links occasionally don't work, and the look of it? EEEK.
So now I am transferring the entire site over to the new Weebly system. It's a loooooong process. The main categories are now up, with the installation pictures and the extension pictures mostly in place. Now the real work of shifting the content such as David Bridgeman-Sutton's wonderful Musings and Amusings article over, as well as the amazing collection of reviews. It's incredible how many have accumulated over the years, from David, Philip Bailey, Peter Wilding, Grant Vicat and others. It would be a shame to lose these, so it will get done. It just won't get done over night.
The latest additions have been the Musings and Amusings articles, and the sound samples, which I am adding snippet by snippet. So much more to be done, and at last despairing calculation I figured I had completed about 4% of the entire transfer.
It's at times like this when I wonder what possessed me to start this website; but then, it's what happens when you get a bee in your bonnet about something. The Rieger organ in the Town Hall just happens to be my particular buzzy creature.
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.
I've now completed the transfer of David Bridgeman-Sutton's Musings and Amusings for 2009. Work has been slow because I enjoy re-reading them so much. It's like trying to tidy a home library or choose books to give to a second-hand book fair. David has such a wide-ranging interest that it's not all about organs. Trains, mechanisms of all kinds, people, favourite characters and even rhubarb comes into the equation (thanks mainly to David's wife Althea who could out-cook the best of chefs with one hand tied behind her apron strings).
So go and enjoy a few musings from David while I keep working on the earlier years.
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.