Third visit, with Rieger CEO Wendelin Eberle
Town Hall organ has only ‘minimal’ earthquake damage
Press Release: Christchurch City Council, Tuesday 22 November 2011
The organ in Christchurch Town Hall’s main auditorium has sustained ‘unbelievably minimal damage’ following recent earthquakes, a report says.
The report for Christchurch City Council by Wendelin Eberle, president of Austrian company Rieger-Orgelbau, which built the organ, says the 14-year old organ’s structure, and its delicate mechanisms are undamaged. It recommends some of the organ’s pipes will need to be replaced or repaired as they are damaged. The organ will also need to be cleaned, revoiced and tuned. It is expected that this work will be covered by the Council’s insurance.
The report says, “Compared to what happened in general, the damage to the organ is unbelievably minimal. There’s nothing which can’t be repaired or restored and only a few pipes have to be replaced.”
During his visit from Austria to inspect the organ this month, Mr Eberle also stabilised it and its damaged pipes to prevent any more damage occurring. The organ has been housed in the Town Hall since 1997 after the public raised most of its $1.2 million purchase price.
Christchurch City Council Community Services General Manager Michael Aitken says it is wonderful news that the valuable organ has sustained so little damage. “We are still working through a process which will help us to make a decision about the future of the Town Hall, after it was badly damaged in the 22 February earthquake. However, it is great that the organ, which holds a special place in the heart of so many Cantabrians, has survived so well.”
Martin Setchell, the Town Hall organ’s curator, says the world-renowned organ belongs to the people of Christchurch. “We are relieved and extremely thrilled that the organ will be preserved for generations to come. With so many of our city’s church organs damaged in the recent earthquakes, this news about the Town Hall organ is even more special.”