SOCA visit to Crediton Parish Church and Nichols Nymet House

Saturday 16th June 2018

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Crediton Church

This was a most enjoyable day and it was fascinating to visit two very different instruments, both in their own way excellent examples of their type.

The Crediton organ was built in 1921 by Harrison & Harrison of Durham.  It was renovated in 2001 by Michael Farley, with the addition of a splendid 32′ Double Ophicleide.  The beautiful and elegant console has that classic English feel, as refined and comfortable as a Bentley.  Everything feels right and is just where it should be for maximum ease of playing, and subtlety of registration.  The latest electronic controls for the piston memories etc are discreetly hidden behind a wood panel.  We were warmly welcomed with refreshments by Mark Perry, the resident organist, who demonstrated the colours of the instrument for us.  We then all enjoyed a chance to play and to wander round this mammoth church, savouring the acoustics and ambience.

Following a scenic route into Devon, we enjoyed an excellent buffet lunch at Nichols Nymet House, set in deep rural green-ness with views of rolling countryside.  We were able to recline in comfort in the organ hall, close our eyes and be immediately transported to Hereford Cathedral, or a roaring Cavaillé-Coll in France, or a sparklingly clear continental Baroque instrument, all without ever leaving the sofa.  The Hauptwerk software which makes this possible (together at NNH with some decidedly ‘high-end’ speakers and a floor-shaking sub-woofer) is a remarkable leap forward in electronic organ technology which gives a highly effective and slightly spooky realism to its Dead Ringers-style imitations of famous instruments.  And it can all be run from a laptop and electronic keyboard!  That said, Paul Goodman, our delightful and welcoming host, has connected an impressive draw-stop 4-manual console – more familiar ground for most organists than selecting virtual stops on a touch-screen!

Many thanks to our hosts and especially to Derek Jones our Secretary for master-minding the arrangements, and herding the organists.

Report by Miles Quick