Visit To York
7 June 2003

Review by Tracker

As a result of our Cartmel Priory marathon being moved from June 7th to May 31st, we were able to visit York on June 7th, the only date that Philip Moore at York Minster could host us.

It was a most satisfying day ably organised by Chris Bell. Unfortunately as a result of the proposed London visit being cancelled, and the York visit being substituted at rather short notice, there were fewer members in the party than otherwise would have been possible. Our first call was to Principal Pipe Organs workshops where Geoffrey Coffin explained all the processes involved in organ construction. Those of us fairly ignorant about the subject learnt a great deal in the short time available because of Geoffrey's clear and comprehensive talk. We then walked across York thronged with people to a church in which Principal Pipe organs had reconstructed a basically Forster and Andrews instrument whose tonal qualities were much appreciated especially as a result of three pieces played by Geoffrey.

After Chris had presented Geoffrey with an alcoholic token of appreciation we re-crossed the Ouse to attend evensong in the Minster choir which was full of worshippers. John Scott-Whitely the assistant organist conducted the choir with Philip Moore accompanying. For our benefit Philip gave us a wonderful display on the organ as the concluding voluntary. The singing of course was inspirational despite the inevitable cathedral ambience requiring the words to be realised with the aid of the service books. Philip then met us after the service and gave us an historical account of the Minster organs and organists of musical fame including Camidge, Noble and Bairstow. The main organ console not being comfortably accessible to a party, we assembled 'round the nave duplicate console attempting to cope with the vast number of stops, keyboards and accessories as members played their pieces etching into their memories the fact that they 'performed on the organ in York Minster. Again Chris presented Philip with a liquid token of gratitude for the time he gave to us.

The day was doubly memorable for the superb weather which accompanied our grand tour of the splendours of Northern England, our route taking us via Penrith, Kendal, Skipton and Harrogate. Again our thanks are due to Chris for the organisation, our programme was well matched to the time and energies of the members.

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