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Opera-tion to give new life to oldest pipe organ

ORGAN TRANSPLANT: St Paul’s Anglican Church organ committee chairman Grantley Chaplin and Yamanto opera singer David Hibbard are excited about the restoration of the state’s oldest pipe organ.
ORGAN TRANSPLANT: St Paul’s Anglican Church organ committee chairman Grantley Chaplin and Yamanto opera singer David Hibbard are excited about the restoration of the state’s oldest pipe organ. Claudia Baxter

THE state's oldest pipe organ will be the major beneficiary when Opera Queensland greats perform for Ipswich Festival on May 9.

The organ was built by J.W Walker in London in 1859 and installed at St Paul's Anglican Church in the Ipswich CBD a year later.

Funds raised from the ticket sales to Opera Acoustics, featuring Emily Burke (soprano), Hayley Sugars (mezzo soprano), Phillip Prendergast (tenor), Leon Warnock (baritone), David Hibbard (bass) and Narelle French (piano), will contribute to the $650,000 needed to restore the magnificent instrument to its former glory.

St Paul's Organ Committee chairman Grantley Chaplin said the organ, which is still in use today, would be decommissioned later this year where it would undergo a rebuild by organ builder Simon Pierce, who recently restored the pipe organ at Brisbane City Hall.

It will be shifted to the southern transept of the church, due for completion in 2015.

"The organ introduces a rather unique element into the music life of Ipswich," Mr Chaplin said.

"We were lucky enough to get a major bequest for 85% of the cost from the Jani Haenke Charitable Trust and we are up for the other 15%, which this concert will be a significant fundraiser for the residual funds.

He said the organ would be a significant benefit to the Ipswich community, not only for worship but also as a public facility.

"Once it is restored, we're hoping to host regular recitals, concerts and build up the music participation and culture around the city," Mr Chaplin said.

Tickets are still available to the prestigious Opera Acoustics event at St Paul's Anglican Church on May 9.

Bass soloist David Hibbard, of Yamanto, said the program included an array of opera favourites, including The Lost Chord by Sullivan, a tribute to the restoration of the historic organ.

Other performances featured will be Suoni la Tromba, the magnificent duet from I Puritani (Bellini), the Sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti), and the thrilling Final Trio from Faust (Gounod).

Tickets cost $28 and can be purchased by phoning 3812 2974 or 3812 0377.

Topics:  fundraiser, ipswich festival, opera queensland, pipe organ, st paul's anglican church



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