IN 2013 the organ in Shankill Parish Church will be 150 years old.
It’s hoped before it reaches the milestone birthday it will undergo a major renovation.
The wiring is over 50 years old and in urgent need of being replaced. As well as this the original sound boards are warped and can no longer render the magnificent strains that they once produced.
Without immediate action those behind the organ restoration project fear people will no longer hear its music, and future generations will know nothing of the musical legacy that congregations have enjoyed for over a century.
The anticipated cost of restoration is in the order of £300,000.
Rector of Shankill Parish Rev Geoff Wilson commented: “The choir and the organ are still very much central in the worship in Shankill Parish.
“Through the years the contemporary worship has been introduced especially at our 10.30 am service, but the organ is very much central to our act of worship.
“The two do not jar with one another. One very much compliments the other.
“The organ is something we can very much focus on as we gather for worship.”
The choir at Shankill has blossomed under Musical Director Carl McCambley and his predecessor Duncan Peel.
Carl said: “The heritage is strong and that’s something I’m trying to continue in the church while still marrying that with the more contemporary worship.
“It’s a fine organ but it’s in need of restoration. It will be 150 years old in 2013
“We’re anticipating major renovation and major overhaul of the instrument for 2013, God willing. We hope the work will be carried out smoothly next year.”
In endorsing the appeal Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller: “When I think of Shankill Parish Church one of the things that really strikes me first is the quality of the music
“It can be absolutely wonderful when there’s a big service and a big choir of about fifty people and then the organ strikes up.”
As part of the organ restoration project the church also intend to place a commemorative memorial plaque in the church.
The point has often been made that with no graveyard adjacent to Shankill Parish Church, there is no tangible way of remembering loved ones who have in the past given loyal service to the Parish and this will allow such tributes to be paid.
Donations to the organ restoration project can be made at the church or by visiting the website www.shankillparish.com