10 December 2022

Back to the future for Trinity College organ

Trinity Theological College’s right pipe organ as it was. Picture: OHTA

By Stephen Cauchi

17 December 2021

LIGHT is set to shine again on Trinity Theological College’s chapel, as it divides its pipe organ into two. 

As it stood until recently, the organ blocked the light from the chapel’s main stained-glass window. Splitting the instrument is also expected to improve sound quality within the space. 

The organ’s positioning has bounced back and forth over the past 100 years. From 1923 to 1959, the organ was in the same position it was in until recently, where it blocked the main window. In 1959 it was split in half and placed against the side walls, as is being done today. 

It stood there until 1997, when it failed, and a new organ was installed, back in the original location 

Trinity College deputy warden Scott Charles said nearly all of the organ’s parts would be reused in its repositioning. Half will be placed against the north chapel wall, and half against the south, where the organist ill sit. 

Trinity College music director Christopher Watson said the decision in 1997 to place the organ centrally was likely made to remain faithful to the placement of the 1923 original. But he said this was smaller, and let in more light. 

But Mr Watson said it imposed on the building physically and tonally. The organ’s size meant it also overpowered any choir singing in the chapel, and took away some resonance from the chapel. 

It’s removal has already meant more light within the chapel. 

“So many people have commented since then that it’s such a pity that the building is dark and the organ really dominated the space,” he said. 

“It’s amazing how much lighter the building is now.” 

It’s also been a chance to improve the technical aspects of the organ, which most people wouldn’t see. The keys and internal mechanisms will all be replaced. 

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