Organ’s ‘baptism of fire’ at Chatburn church

From the left, Sue Hargreaves leader of The Haslingden Choir, concert organiser Clive Greenwood, and organist Nigel Ogden, presenter of BBC Radio's 'The Orgaanist Entertains', with members of the choir behind.
From the left, Sue Hargreaves leader of The Haslingden Choir, concert organiser Clive Greenwood, and organist Nigel Ogden, presenter of BBC Radio's 'The Orgaanist Entertains', with members of the choir behind.

There was a full attendance again for the latest concert at Christ Church Chatburn when a milestone in the life of the church was celebrated with the first concert performance featuring its new organ.

The previous organ was installed in the church 120 years ago and when it finally began to fail, it was decided to run a series of music events to help raise money for a new organ fund. This latest concert was rather special as it was the inaugural concert of the new organ, to show off the vast array of its available sounds.

And who better to put the new organ through its paces than Nigel Ogden, both an acclaimed performer and presenter of the long-running BBC Radio 2 weekly programme “The Organist Entertains”.

His Chatburn concert programme featured a wide range of well-known and popular music including marches, waltzes, music from stage and screen and a tribute to Richard Rodney Bennett. Several medleys created the “Tower Ballroom at Chatburn” and the evening closed with an impromtu singalong from the audience, and the demand for an encore.

A video link displayed the organ’s keyboard onto the big screen so that the audience could watch the creation of the marvelous music coming out of it. It was a sight fto behold, as well as music to the ears.

The evening was made all the more special with a performance by The Haslingden Choir who returned for their third visit by popular demand. A wide range of styles and rhythms was performed by the 40-strong ensemble, including some solo pieces. Each member of the choir gave their all, both in the quiet and gentle passages and when full voice was required. All credit to their leader, Sue Hargreaves, for the selection of music and the superb arrangements.

The audience were moved by the rendition of excerpts from Les Miserables, as they were by the solid accompaniment from Nigel Ogden on the organ for several numbers.

The Chatburn concert organisers are grateful to everyone who attended as ticket money and proceeds from the raffle will be split between the upkeep of the church and a donation to The Contact Centre, set up to enable children to meet with their non-resident parent when couples have split up.

Although the original aim of the music events at Christ Church Chatburn has been achieved, they will continue through popular public demand. The next event is a 1940s Night on May 17th including a full 18-piece swing band, drama sketches, an army regiment and dances capturing the full experience of life in the ’40s. Public interest is already very high and further news of this event will be published in this newspaper.