Organ experts check out Suffolk churches

Some of the country's top church organ experts have gathered in Suffolk for their annual conference. More than 50 diocesan organs advisers arrived in the county on Monday for a two-day conference this week.

By James Fraser

Some of the country's top church organ experts have gathered in Suffolk for their annual conference.

More than 50 diocesan organs advisers arrived in the county on Monday for a two-day conference this week.

They advise the Church of England on the maintenance and historic value of church organs in parish churches across the country – and Suffolk is particularly rich in good examples of the instruments.

"This is the first time that the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has hosted the conference," said Canon Derrick Stiff, the diocesan organ adviser in Suffolk.

"There are some very fine instruments in Suffolk and this is a chance for us to explore some of them."

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The delegates have been visiting the instruments in St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich, St Andrew's Rushmere and Framlingham – as well as attending a masterclass given by John Norman, a world organ expert at Blythburgh.

They also visited St John the Baptist church, Snape where a new "chair" organ has recently been installed, part of which is suspended behind the organist's bench.

Canon Stiff added: "The organ is often the most valuable item in the church. They contribute greatly to the worship and musical life of Suffolk's parishes.

"Some began their work as far back in the 17th century and are still going strong, whilst some of the modern instruments include state-of-the art components, including the latest computer technology."

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