Move the historic Cavaille-Coll organ from the Parr Hall into St. Mary's Warrington
St Mary's Shrine www.musicstmarys.org is served by Priests from the Fraternity of St Peter. It is the town's most central Roman Catholic Church, situated on Buttermarket Street in the heart of Warrington.
St. Mary's is recognised as having one of the leading church choirs in the North West. The choir - and indeed the whole church - prides itself in continuing this ancient tradition that is part of our nation's cultural heritage.
St. Mary's is fortunate to have had a choral tradition, since its opening in 1877. One of the first organists was Rev J E Turner, who, along with R R Terry, organist of Westminster Cathedral, was linstrumental in the the revival of Renaissance polyphonic music in England.
St. Mary's is increasingly a centre for musical excellence as well as liturgical service, with 3 choirs, frequent concerts and new musical enterprises being initiated, such as the Choral Outreach programme: delivering a singing programme to Catholic schools in Warrington.
The Cavaille-Coll was built in Paris in 1869 and bought by Warrington Corporation in 1926. The opening recital was given by Marcel Dupre, organist of S. Sulpice, Paris. It was restored in 1972 by Henry Willis and Sons.
As well as being a magnificent instrument, acclaimed nationally as one of England's finest organs, it is cherished by non organ enthusiasts as a local treasure, a piece of their history and a town landmark.
Moving the organ into St. Mary's would have many major benefits:
St. Mary's would benefit from one of the finest organs in the country, which would bring people from far and wide into the Church;
An organ so suitable for the accompaniment of Catholic liturgy would enhance the liturgical and musical life of St. Mary's;
Links with local Universities and the Royal Northern College of Music could be nurtured, furthering the role of education within the Church;
Good relations with Warrington Corporation and the town could continue;
St. Mary's would become a landmark for musical and community interest locally and nationally, enabling it to further its mission into society.
A proposal for the following:
1. The restoration and re-siting of the organ in its original case and condition into St. Mary's Priory Church;
2. The continuation of the Cavaille-Coll organ supporters group to provide ongoing maintenance and support;
3. The establishment of a Cavaille-Coll Organ School as an outreach of the parish musical tradition where students might be introduced to the specifics of the French organ tradition, plus the teaching of local young organists.