Jonathan Kingston

Jonathan Kingston

2016 Willis Pipe Organ Festival

The 2016 Willis Pipe Organ Festival ran from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September, as part of the national Heritage Open Days weekend.

Musical Director: Jonathan Kingston

All events except ‘Family Jam’ were at St Mary and St Giles Church, Church St, Stony Stratford, MK11 1BD. ‘Family Jam’ was at St Mary and St Giles School.

Three special evening events

Donald McKenzie

Donald McKenzie

Three very special evening events form the centre piece of this year’s Festival and demonstrate the versatility and grandeur of our newly restored Willis Pipe Organ:

Friday Night Organ Pops introduced and played by Jonathan Kingston
Popular organ classics with something for everyone! 9 September 7:30 pm

Saturday Night Silent Movie ‘Safety Last!’ accompanied by Donald MacKenzie.  10 September 7:30 pm

Independent Cinema MKInternational virtuoso concert organist Donald MacKenzie improvised a live soundtrack to Harold Lloyd’s classic 1923 film Safety Last! giving you an authentic Jazz Age experience of this iconic romantic comedy.

This event was promoted by Independent Cinema Milton Keynes


Roger Sayer

Roger Sayer

Sunday Night Masterworks Recital by Roger Sayer
A blaze of sound filled St Mary and St Giles Church in a recital of masterworks by J S Bach, Jongen, William Lloyd Webber, Alain, Duruflé and Vierne.  11 September 7:30 pm

Five free daytime events – fun for all ages

Jacob Collins

Jacob Collins

Five free daytime events are designed to help music lovers of all ages to find out more about our wonderful pipe organ.

Friday lunchtime Opening Recital with Jacob Collins
Jacob got the Festival off to a rousing start with an introduced programme of attractive and well known music for organ.
9 September 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm

Friday afternoon workshop Beginner’s Guide to the Organ for grade 4+ keyboard players who sat at the console and played not just on one keyboard but three keyboards and a full set of foot pedals.
9 September 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Teddy Bears' Picnic with the Willis Organ

Teddy Bears' Picnic with the Willis Organ

Saturday morning workshop Family Jam with pipes and percussion for preschoolers.
10 September 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Saturday afternoon family concert Teddy Bears’ Picnic – an entertaining introduction to the pipe organ for 4-11 year olds.
10 September 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Sunday morning talk with excerpts on the organ Get to know our Willis! by Jonathan Kingston.
11 September 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Drop in to find out more about the organ and church

Drop in and find out more about the newly restored Willis pipe organ in the lovely grade 2* listed church of St Mary and St Giles at the heart of Stony Stratford.

Thursday (11:00 am - 5:00 pm) and Friday (9:00 am - 12.30 pm) the Church Hall was open for a History & Photo Exhibition. A 20 minute video of the organ history and restoration was shown at 11.30 each day.  See History & Photo Exibition part 1 and History & Photo Exhibition part 2

Sunday morning service (9:30 am) was open to all and included organ music.  The Parish Singers sang the psalm and an anthem with the organ (A New Commandment composed by David Barton).

Sunday afternoon (12:30 pm - 3:30 pm) our organ guides were available for Hands On Our Willis! – your chance to try the organ and find out more about it.

Refreshments were available at all events. All funds raised went towards the maintenance and restoration of the organ.

We enjoyed welcoming you (more than 800 people) during the Willis Pipe Organ Festival!

Music for All @ SMSG Events Team

For all queries, contact us at:

For high resolution photos of our Organ Festival promotion photos please visit the album Willis Pipe Organ Festival on Flickr.

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Restored Willis organ with new casework and golden pipes

Restored Willis organ with new casework and golden pipes