Pulling out all the stops

18 Mar 2020

For perhaps the first time in its history, College has not one, not two, not three ... but seven boys wanting to learn to play the organ, and organist and Music teacher Nick Sutcliffe couldn’t be happier.

Nick has been teaching Year 12 student Sam Kelly and Year 10 student Josh Hooker for a year now, while Year 9 student Harry Vaughan has recently started, and Year 10 student Edward Nye and Year 11 students James Griffin, Arthur Mahon and Bruce Chen are keen to get underway as soon as possible.

“It’s excellent to have such a good group of boys all wanting to learn at the same time,” says Nick. “Organ music is very, very strong at College, it’s a big part of our tradition and – in Chapel and through Congers – an integral part of the College experience. It’s wonderful to be able to expose students to this type of music.

“Being an organist is not just about playing your own music, it’s about leading and working with a big group of people. The organ is a collaborative instrument and it’s a wonderful instrument to sing to, as it has such a wholesome tone and full sound. The boys will gain a wide range of skills, including listening to the congregation, and there are certain tricks you need to learn as an organist to keep things moving.”

College has a three manual organ, and the three keyboards, numerous buttons, foot pedals and playing aids, pipes and trumpets, produce a tremendous variety of sounds. Nick describes it as the perfect instrument for someone who loves to get into the detail of things, with hands working independently across the keyboards and feet dancing over the pedals to produce rich, powerful and pure music.

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