As part of the 2018 Auckland Heritage Festival, we were pleased to join with Holy Trinity Cathedral for a delightful event in St Mary’s church. Dr Philip Smith, the Cathedral organist, gave a presentation followed by a programme of organ music culminating in Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4.
In his address, Philip told us about the organs in St Mary’s. The small original organ was powered by water – the air was produced by two paddles turned by the stream of water. This was a very wasteful method with the water going down the drain and the locals complained as the water pressure dropped dramatically every time there was a service in the church! After WWI electricity was used to power the organ.
The current organ was built in 1909 by Auckland organ builder, George Croft. The metal pipes for the organ were brought over from England and the wooden pipes were made here. In the 1980’s, the ivory keys were replaced with plastic, but these have now been replaced again with cow bone. When it was built it was the largest organ in Auckland. At that time and without access to radio broadcasts, it was difficult for people to enjoy full orchestral concerts. Thus the organ could give renditions of orchestral music to be enjoyed by all.