Young Person's Guide to the Organ
Carlisle Cathedral - 28 February 2002

Review by Tracker

This event was the result of interest shared between the CSO and the Cathedral in demonstrating the organ to youngsters in the schools in the hope that pupils might be the result.

David Gibbs, Assistant Organist at the Cathedral, designed and conducted the programme of about 3/4 hour with a group of 20 CSE music students from Trinity School. The group assembled first in the nave where the basic differences between the piano and the organ were explained using the chamber organ. With the aid of some individual pipes David showed the difference between flute and diapason tone, the relation between pitch and pipe length and using the chamber organ, explained how 4' stops sound an octave above the 8' stop, 8' being the length of the pipe played by the bottom note on the keyboard using an 8' stop. Following this session, the class was split into two groups each having a go in the organ loft and at the chamber organ.

For the occasion, David composed six brilliant variations on `Old MacDonald had a farm' each variation using different styles and tone colours. Before playing them, David handed out a quiz to each pupil, the questions being based on the variations, and all the other information supplied during the event. Their answers were then analysed back in Trinity School. Both Jeremy and David regarded the event as an experiment so that any shortcomings could be rectified on a future occasion with a different school. Because of this caution it was decided not to involve the media. However, there were no doubts in the minds of the three CSO members present that David was to be congratulated on a very successful performance because of his personality and by never letting the pupils become bored, moving from one scenario to another with just the right timings. The training committee of the CSO is currently compiling a directory of organists in Cumbria and is also planning similar events to David's throughout Cumbria in the belief that it is the schools which will provide our organists of the future more so than the churches.

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