The Pipe Organ Restoration Action Group, formed in 2006, organised 150 events to help raise funds for restoration. A wonderful group of volunteers has kindly donated their time and talents to helping realise this goal. The enthusiasm and persistence of the group in finding many musical ways to fund raise successfully meant that in 2011 we were able to fund the restoration of the console and this spurred the group on to the ultimate goal of restoring the whole instrument and completing the specification.
In 2014 when the Heritage Lottery Fund gave a substantial grant of £82,700 for the Willis Pipe Organ Restoration and Reach-out project, the group became a Project Team and Music for all @ SMSG was formed to replace PORAG. The Project Team and wider group of volunteers continue to put on events to raise funds towards the cost of the new pipes and casework which were not covered by the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The aims of the project are:
- To restore the current instrument to full working condition so as to make it possible to play a wide ranging organ repertoire;
- Enhance the musical offerings at Church services;
- Provide an instrument which is attractive to renowned organists for recital purposes and for training new organists;
- Continue to encourage the development of Church music in Stony Stratford and to raise awareness of this organ as a wonderful resource for music making in Milton Keynes;
- Involve as many members of the parish and wider community as possible in our fundraising and music making activities;
- Research the history of the organ including its use in Stony Stratford and its first home in Edinburgh;
- Produce audio visual, print and online learning resources to enable exploration of the organ and its history;
- Create and deliver an Education and Activities programme relating to the organ;
- Restore the instrument as soon as possible to avoid continuing costly repairs.
For a more detailed history of the SMSG Willis Pipe Organ download History of the Willis Organ at SMSG - handout - January 2017