Church set for some fun Organ Encounters

Morpeth’s high school is involved in a new organ outreach initiative.

By Andrew Coulson
Friday, 15 February, 2019, 15:05
Robin Forbes, King Edward VI School head of music, and a group of students are pictured with the electronic organ.

It also includes school pupils from other towns and villages in Northumberland taking part in interactive sessions later this month at All Saints’ Church in Rothbury.

They will be led by Andrew Cantrill-Fenwick and Richard Wallhead – who will play an organ duet, accompanied by singing children across Years 2 to 8.

Mr Cantrill-Fenwick has spent the last 25 years working as an organist in schools, cathedrals and concert halls on three continents.

The outreach project for older children has involved putting in place an electronic organ at King Edward VI School for two years and he is providing tuition to a group of students once a fortnight.

Following on from the Organ Encounters at the church, Mr Wallhead will be running a Sunday afternoon organ club from March 3 (2pm to 3pm).

The club will explore a new piece of music each week and everyone will have the chance to play the All Saints’ organ. Other activities, including dance and movement, drama, storytelling, playing handbells and crafting, will be given a fun organ twist.

Funding for these activities comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund grant that also enabled the pipe organ at the church to be restored and repositioned in 2016.

Head of music at KEVI, Robin Forbes, said: “We are one of the few high schools in the county that has an electronic organ, but it’s not that easy to gain access to it because it’s in the upper school hall – a shared public area that is used for lessons and assemblies.

“Having such an instrument, which is in very good condition, in a practice room means that our students can easily access it and play it during free periods and break times.

“Six students are learning the organ so far and they are enjoying it. The experience is very different to learning the piano or electronic keyboard.”

Call 01670 515415 to find out more about the tuition programme for KEVI students.

Mr Cantrill-Fenwick said: “The organ is a fascinating instrument, particularly for children, and we will have a big screen in place for each of the encounters to show footage from inside the organ at All Saints.”

For more details about the sessions and organ club, email rothburyorgan@gmail.com