Amateur Organ Builders Group Meeting

by John Pettifer

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May Day Weekend 2004
Our hosts for the weekend at St Nicholas at Wade nr.Margate were Peter and Rosemarie Hood. They had prepared a large flat field for us to camp on and display the organs, and also a large marquee for lectures, meals and entertainment.

There were about 25 organs being displayed - two being large trailer mounted street organs: David England's 'Dutchess' and Peter Hood's 'Pedrosa'.  People either camped in caravans, tents or motorhomes, or came for the day to play their organs.

On Saturday there were 3 lectures: John Smith talked about designing and building a small organ; Marcus Foreman told us how to use the internet to our advantage as organ builders; Bob Essex was very informative about pipe building and voicing.  In the evening we were treated to a very good buffet and drinks, followed by a local folk band. Comprising accordion, drums and key board.

Sunday started with a talk by Bob Essex about Midi. This was followed by a lunch break.  John Smith carried on where he had left off with another talk about designing and building a small organ.  Following this at 5.00 - we were once again provided with a lovely meal. This time it was a cream tea - with sandwiches, scones jam and cream and cakes.  After tea - there was an award ceremony and the following awards were presented by Peter and Rosemarie:

Best Sound: Arthur Nicholls
Best Build: Bernard Pilgrim
Best Presentation: Les Wilbraham

These lucky people got a cut-glass vase which had been engraved specially for the event.  John and Julia Smith also received an engraved flower bowl for their work with amateur organ builders.  Peter and Rosemarie also presented everyone who had displayed, an engraved glass dish as a memento.

On Monday the display of organs was opened to the public, and we had 80 or so people listening to and admiring the various organs on display.  Unfortunately the rain started to fall by lunchtime, this was a shame as more people might have come to visit in the afternoon.

All in all it was a very enjoyable weekend, and we have made plans to meet again at various steam and country fairs throughout the year. The main one being The Great Dorset Steam Fair, where it is hoped to build a small organ in the Amateur Organ Builders marquee over the four days of the show.

Bernard & Les with their wives (& monkey)

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