Music @ StPauls Presbyterian
God gave us music that we might pray without words.
Quality music is an integral part of our Worship Services and this is especially so for Services at particular seasons of the Christian calendar.
Our pipe organ is played each Sunday morning and with all the possibilities of its variable tone colours and dynamics of sound it provides an inspiring lead for the congregational singing.
Choral items are a welcome addition to our Services from time to time. (Click to find out more about Our Worship.)
Our pipe organ is the 1882 Hill & Son, London, (Job No 1834) instrument. It has a full pedal board, two manuals and 20 ranks of pipes and is well-regarded by organ specialists.
In 2014 OHTA (Organ Historical Trust of Australia) held their annual conference in Brisbane and St Paul’s was the venue for the opening session.
The organ was originally brought to Brisbane for our early congregation’s Church in Creek Street (established 1863) and was then moved to the newly built St Paul’s Church in St Paul’s Terrace which opened for worship in 1889. Click here to read about Our History.
We believe this to be the organ which gave Brisbane its first organ recital in 1883. Recitals were given on this historic instrument in 1983 and 2013 to mark significant milestones for both the organ and the congregation and some of the pieces from the original recital were programmed each time.
The organ is used each Sunday morning to lead the hymn singing in worship and to provide music for reflection.
Many a wedding at St Paul’s has begun with an eager bride processing up the long central aisle to the glorious sounds of the pipe organ and ended with happy husband and wife exiting proudly to a stirring rendition on the organ of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March or Prelude from Te Deum by Charpentier. (Click the title to listen.)
The organ was rebuilt in 1963 by Whitehouse Bros. and altered from tracker action to electro-pneumatic action with extended console. The keyboards and pedal board were extended from 56/30 to 61/32. All of the original pipe work was retained and 146 new pipes were added in the rebuild.
Some restoration work was carried out by Bert Jarrott in 2008 including a new “Ventus” motor and blower from Germany, plus the refurbishing of two sets of bellows and some other structural work.
Maintenance and tuning are ongoing and this ensures the organ is in its optimum playing condition as it is used for worship services each Sunday, for weddings, funerals and for other special occasions such as the Opening of the Law Year.
Further reading about this instrument can be found here courtesy of the Organ Historical Trust of Australia.
Listen here for more organ sounds.
Professional musicians who visit St Paul’s are instantly impressed by its acoustic ability.
Choirs, vocal soloists, organ recitalists, string ensembles, brass and wind players and concert bands have all performed in this space.
Music programs for both radio and television have been recorded at St Paul’s.
A raised dais area at the front gives some elevation for performers and a clavinova and piano are nearby. The choir stalls provide a dedicated area for choristers adjacent to the pipe organ.
Pre-COVID, seating was available for an audience in excess of 300. However limitations of considerably less now apply due to COVID regulations.
(More favourite hymns and contemporary Christian songs to come from time to time, played on St Paul’s organ.)