Each year the Organ Historical Trust of Australia organises a conference lasting about a week in one of the states of Australia. Conferences have also been held on both islands of New Zealand. These conferences bring organists and those interested in the instrument together from all over Australia, as well as New Zealand, the UK, the USA, Asia and Europe. Often, an international authority on the history and restoration of historic organs attends as a key-note speaker. Past guests have included Uwe Pape (Germany), Barbara Owen (USA) and Stephen Bicknell (UK). Opportunities are provided for recitals on historic and instruments. Members often have time to play and inspect the instruments for themselves and papers on the preservation of organs and other relevant topics are presented and later published in OHTA News.
OHTA 43RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE OCTOBER 2023
Planning for the 2023 conference is now complete and bookings are open via Trybooking: https://www.trybooking.com/CGOGB. The conference committee, comprising Simon Colvin, James Flores, Kelvin Hastie, Hugh Knight, John Maidment, Mark Quarmby and Chris Trikilis, has been busily engaged in drawing up an appealing itinerary and making arrangements with venues.
The conference will be based in Albury which is on the border between NSW and Victoria. It is easily accessible by train, road, air and coach. Accommodation has been block booked at the Commodore Motor Inn and it will be essential to make a room reservation by no later than 1 August to secure a room. Contact details are on the brochure.
Coaches have been booked for the three days of excursions to Beechworth and Wangaratta, Walla Walla and Wagga Wagga, and to Corowa. One whole day will be spent in Albury itself, and this day will conclude with a dinner at the mansion ‘Adamshurst’, which has a spectacular ballroom equipped with a splendid c. 1850 English chamber organ, a two-manual Alexandre harmonium and a grand piano. On the Friday, we will be having lunch at All Saints Winery at Wahgunyah followed by a wine tasting at Morris Wines.
There is a wide variety of organs by Australian, British, Canadian and German makers that will be visited. Three very early English organs will be seen at Beechworth Town Hall, the Lady Chapel of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wangaratta (Bevington & Sons 1845) and at ‘Adamshurst’ in Albury. The 1922 Henry Willis & Sons and Lewis & Company Ltd organ in Wangaratta Cathedral will also be a drawcard, now with the wind system fully operational again: it is a very substantial instrument of three manuals and 40 speaking stops and Dr Kieran Crichton will perform a recital. More recently, the large Letourneau instrument of 1994 at St Matthew’s Church in Albury will be heard in a recital given by James Flores.
One of the focal points of the conference will be the small ‘model’ organs produced by firms in Melbourne and Sydney after the second world war to provide an affordable product. We will see examples of this at Albury, Alma Park, Wagga Wagga and Wodonga built by Hill, Norman & Beard, Geo. Fincham & Sons, Laurie Pipe Organs and S.T. Noad. Several papers will explore this topic on the Wednesday afternoon followed by the OHTA AGM.
Student bursaries are also available for attendance at the conference. Full time organ students are urged to apply to [email protected] by 1 July and it would be appreciated if the availability of the bursaries could be made known to students through their teachers.
The cost of enrolling for the whole conference has been modestly set at $400.00. For each day, daily rates are also available with details on the brochure. This will be the first opportunity for OHTA to gather together for a major conference since 2019 owing to the COVID crisis and we trust that members and readers will take advantage of this very worthwhile opportunity once again.
- Christ Church Anglican Church, Beechworth (William Anderson)
- Beechworth Town Hall (anon. English c.1850)
- Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Wangaratta – main organ (Willis & Lewis)
- Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Wangaratta – lady chapel (Bevington & Sons)
- St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Albury (Letourneau)
- St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Albury (1 Australian Pipe Organs and 2 Hill, Norman & Beard)
- St David’s Uniting Church, Albury (Geo. Fincham & Sons)
- ‘Adamshurst’, Albury (anon. English c.1850)
- Zion Lutheran Church, Walla Walla (George Fincham / Laurie Pipe Organs)
- Salem Lutheran Church, Alma Park (Davis & Laurie)
- St Michael’s Catholic Cathedral, Wagga Wagga (Samuel Lewis / Laurie Pipe Organs)
- Calvary Hospital Chapel (S.T. Noad)
- Vianney College (Geo. Fincham & Sons)
- St John’s Anglican Church, Corowa (E.F. Walcker)
- St John’s Anglican Church, Wodonga (Laurie Pipe Organs)