2018 Willis Pipe Organ Festival

We had 5 free daytime events, one free evening event and one evening concert:

Friday 7 September:
Festival Fanfare! Opening Organ and Trumpet concert Free Friday lunchtime concert with Jonathan Kingston and Nigel Gibbon

Friday 7 September:
Festival Social Evening

A free non-musical social event with food for everyone to enjoy.

Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September:
Projected Picture Trust and Willis Pipe Organ Exhibition
A free exhibition about the Silent Movie era by the Projected Picture Trust, with an exhibition and video about the Willis Organ

Saturday 8 September:
Saturday Night at the Movies
Back by popular demand:  Silent Movies with live organ accompaniment - A series of comedy shorts starring Monty Banks, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy. Odeon Leicester Square Organist Donald MacKenzie provided a live soundtrack on the Willis organ

Sunday 9 September:
Hands on our Willis! 

Your chance to try playing a wonderfully restored Victorian pipe organ. 

Sunday 9 September:
Get to know our Willis Pipe Organ!
‘Father Willis’ was a leading Victorian organ builder, making many innovations in organ technology and sound. In this free one-hour talk, Jonathan Kingston explains how the Willis pipe organ works at St Mary and St Giles, Stony Stratford.
Back by popular demand! A talk at the organ console with excerpts on the organ by Jonathan Kingston, who will explain and demonstrate what the different controls on the console mean.  The organ console is in the gallery which is reached by stairs, so this event is unfortunately not accessible for wheelchair users, who can access the church via the Parish Hall to listen to the organ at other events this weekend and see the exhibition in the Parish Hall.  Refreshments will be available. Donations to the Organ Maintenance Fund welcomed. Please book ahead as numbers around the console are limited to 30 people.

Sunday 9 September:
Audience requests - free organ concert
Jonathan Kingston plays your favourite music on the Willis pipe organ

2017 Willis Pipe Organ Festival

We had 6 free daytime events and 2 evening concerts:

Free daytime events include:

  • a free lunchtime organ concert on Friday by Jacob Collins at 12:30 pm
  • a free Heritage photo exhibition on Friday and Saturday at 10:00 am - 12:30 pm (with video screening on Saturday at 12 noon)
  • Teddy Bears' Picnic with organ on Saturday afternoon (places limited to 60, advance booking preferred).  Teddy Bears' Picnic online booking
  • Hands on our Willis! on Sunday afternoon
  • Get to know our Willis! (places limited to 30, advance booking) on Sunday afternoon. Get to know our Willis! online booking
  • An afternoon 'audience requests' organ concert by Jonathan Kingston. Book your request in advance via the website contact form or email your request to events@musicforallsmsg.org of your favourite piece for Jonathan to play.

Online booking opened on 24 June 2017 via the Online Box Office

Seating is limited for some events so book early to avoid disappointment.

Stony Stratford Pipe Organ Festival 2017 A4 flyer

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 formed the centre piece of the Festival and demonstrated 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: events@musicforallsmsg.org

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

Join our monthly events notification emailing list by filling in the Contact form or send an email to events@musicforallsmsg.org

Restored Willis organ with new casework and golden pipes

Restored Willis organ with new casework and golden pipes