Young Persons' Guide to the Organ
22 November 1997 - Carlisle Cathedral

As a result of this event at least no one can accuse the CSO of doing nothing about the very few young people who adopt the organ as their main musical study. There was much encouragement and relief on the part of Jeremy Suter (who master-minded the event) that no less than 14 young people came to play (or observe) the cathedral organ. I shall well remember a 10 year old seated at the organ at 10.30 am eagerly satiating his curiosity aroused by the immense 4 manual machine complete with electronic wizardry including sequencer facilities. Jeremy gave a short demonstration recital before inviting the youngsters to try their hand, organising them in two shifts. Whilst one shift was in the organ left the other came to the song room to listen to explanations of how the organ works aided by the use of organ pipes kindly loaned by Ian Black. Also on hand was the chamber organ for them to try.

There was no lack of publicity for this event with press photographers and Radio Cumbria microphones in the organ loft.

Jeremy provided the participants with a certificate of attendance together with a list of organ teachers whom, hopefully, our young friends will contact for lessons.

Ages of the youngsters ranged from 10 to 18, and consisted mainly of pianists and keyboard enthusiasts. Even if none of them take up lessons their musical education has been greatly widened by a rare experience, and the cause of promoting the organ as a real musical instrument has been achieved. All who took part will be grateful to Jeremy for providing this event, probably the first of its kind in the cathedral's history. The CSO training committee will be considering possible follow-up events.

A similarly successful event was also held on the same day at Ulverston Parish Church under the direction of Colin Dean and Adrian Self, with a somewhat more liberal view of the meaning of 'young'. Our thanks are due to Jeremy and Colin for their encouragement and expertise.


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