Our final day of the Willis pipe organ festival offered several different strands - the chance to play the Willis organ, the Projected Picture Trust exhibition next door in the Parish Hall, Jonathan's Get to know the Willis' organ talk at the console and the popular Audience Requests recital, which we tried in 2017 for the first time and was definitely worth doing again.
We had lunch available in the church (soup, bread, cheese, biscuits, cakes) while visitors played the organ and chatted with Dave and Jonathan at the console. At 3pm several people arrived for the Get to know the Willis organ talk in which Jonathan explained how it works and demonstrated different sounds.
The little street organ played outside the Parish Hall for a while, then after the Projected Picture Trust had packed away, it came into the church to play for a little while before the Audience Requests Recital.
To extend our Festival links with the Heritage Open Days theme of Extraordinary Women, the first piece which Jonathan played in the recital was by an female composer. Her brother Felix Mendelssohn knew Fanny Mendelssohn Hensall was a great composer in her own right.
The programme Jonathan chose to play from all the audience requests he received was a follows:
- Prelude in F - Fanny Mendelssohn Hensall (request by Anna)
- Choeur de voix humaines (Song of the Human Voices) - Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély (requested by John)
- Priere - Noel Rawsthorne (request for something gentle, piece specifically requested by Nina)
- Fugue on the Magnificat - JS Bach (less well known piece) (request for something big by Bach)
- Trumpet Tune (D major) and Air (G major) - John Stanley (requested by Janice)
- Nimrod and Pomp & Circumstance March No 4 in G major - Elgar
- Dance of the blessed spirits (using new choir stops) - Gluck (requested by Dick)
- 2 movements of Suite Gothique (Minuet & Toccata) - Leon Boelhman (requested by Rupert)
- Happy Birthday (theme & variations) (request by Rupert for Becky)
This gave the audience a wide variety of sounds, melodies and moods on the organ which was a perfect way to round off a superb three days of the 2018 organ festival.
Thank you to Jonathan and all the volunteers for making this such an enjoyable day for everyone who visited.
More photos can be found in the Willis Pipe Organ Festival 2018 photo album.
Words and photos by Anna Page