St. Peter's Organ Restoration Fund
Appeal launched on 25 August 2019. Goal: CHF 15,000
St. Peter’s organ needs your help
Over the past few years, thanks to generous support, we have been able to carry out much needed maintenance of the St. Peter’s building. This has included renovation of the stained-glass windows, the addition of triple glazing, installation of a new heating system, replacement of the electrical wiring and lighting systems, removal of pews in the third aisle, and repairs to the chancel walls to prevent damp.
History of the organ
Installed just over 100 years ago, our organ has an interesting history. Although the church was built and inaugurated in 1899, it had no organ for many years. In 1916, however, when 400-600 British soldiers were interned in Château-d’Oex for the duration of the war, the chaplain of St Peter’s, Reverend Lampen, wrote to The Times of London. He described the soldiers’ “sense of thankfulness to God for their deliverance” from the prison camps and the horrors of war and their appreciation of the church services where they sang “with all their hearts”. Music for the services was provided by an American harmonium but it was not sufficiently powerful. He therefore requested help so that St Peter’s could “procure a small but efficient instrument … an organ that would be a permanent memorial to the historic sojourn of our British officers and men in this valley of Switzerland.” He added that he felt sure there were “many wives and friends of the interned prisoners of war who would esteem it a privilege to contribute towards placing such a memorial in the English church of Château-d’Oex.” The British public responded generously to his heartfelt plea and now, just over 100 years later, this is the organ we still have in St. Peter’s … and it is in need of repair. It is our turn to be part of our organ’s history and to be caretakers for the future.
How the renovation is taking place
A specialist in historic organ restoration, tuning and maintenance, Dr David Elliott, will undertake the renovation. He has advised us that our Goll organ, made by one of Switzerland’s leading organ builders, is a rare example of its period. It is rare because, unlike many other 100-year old organs, it still operates with its original pneumatic action and has not been modified to suit changing musical tastes. He classifies the present condition of our organ as “playable” but in need of work to replace all the leather action (over 1500 parts), and repair air leaks and damage from carpenter ants and the high range of humidity in the church.
How you can contribute
The estimated cost of the repairs is CHF 15,000. The organ comprises almost 600 pipes, each of which has to be individually restored at an average cost of CHF 25.00 per pipe. So, if you would like to donate, just choose the number of pipes you will sponsor! All donations, large and small, are very welcome. With your contribution, please be sure to include a note that it is for “St. Peter’s Organ Repairs, Château-d’Oex”.
Payments may be made in several ways:
Pink bank slip: PC 10-725-4. These slips are available in St. Peter’s entrance hall.
A bank transfer to: St Peter’s Church Château-d’Oex, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise,
IBAN CH08 0076 7000 K055 33160 BIC/SWIFT: BCVLCH2LXXX.
UK residents can make a contribution via the website of the Intercontinental Church Society
and claim Gift Aid: (http://ics-uk.org/supporting-ics/donate).
Recording of concert given on 25 August 2019 to raise funds for Organ Restoration. With Rob Gore and Grace Stephens-Spada.