Church plans soiree to fund replacement organ

Trio of organists at Kamloops United Church excited by new machine’s capabilities

The last time the Kamloops United Church replaced its organ, the Prime Minister’s last name was Trudeau — and his first name was Pierre.

After five years of regular calls for service from the Kamloops United Church, the usual organ repairman had finally had enough and suggested they call it quits.

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Luckily for them, their repairman set them up with a replacement, an Allen CF-17DK, which they could use for demonstration purposes.

Churchgoers liked what they heard and are now raising money to purchase and keep the instrument. So far, they have come up with $40,000 of the $60,000 purchase price through pledges.

Gordon Britton has been with the church since 1965, when he was the organist and choir director for a short time before getting married and having children. He returned to the keys in the 1970s and has been filling in ever since with fellow players Marg Waldon and Gail Ovington.

Although three organists in one church might seem like a wealth of talent in one place, Britton said there aren’t that many organists around — and having this new organ on a permanent basis could turn that around.

“The city is really deplete of organists,” he said. “We want to encourage anyone who is keen to learn organ, and the three of us will share the task of training those people.”

Organ training is just one of the potential perks of the United Church having an organ. Britton said that he’d like to see it used by the whole community.

“This instrument is so versatile, and although it has to be housed in the Kamloops United Church, we want the community to be aware that it’s so useful and has so many capabilities,” he said.

It could even mean more concerts at the church.

On Sunday, Britton and the other organists plan to show off those capabilities in a demonstration soiree. He said he wants to show that the organ is not just an instrument for services at the church, so he plans to play some old theatre organ tunes that evening.

The Sunday evening show will begin at 7 p.m. at the Kamloops United Church, 421 St Paul St.

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