I’m home today from an African adventure. The Lawton / Walker 3-manual organ in Nairobi’s All Saints’ Cathedral (seat of Kenya’s Anglican Archbishop) was in England during 2022, being rebuilt by Michael Farley and his team at Budleigh Salterton, the 1955 Walker console being elegantly remade with stop-knobs and modern control systems by Renatus of Bideford.
Following its reinstallation in the cathedral during January this year, I flew out for a week to assist with the final tonal finishing, to test it thoroughly, to talk about it to the cathedral congregation, explain it to the cathedral’s several organists, record it, be filmed playing it, and give a masterclass on it. All at 30° centigrade!
It’s a really splendid instrument whose tone sounds truly cathedralesque in Temple Moore’s fine stone building, a building packed for numerous services each Sunday, all of them with the cathedral’s choirs, in style covering the whole gamut of liturgical approaches, including formal Choral Morning Prayer and Choral Evensong. Congregants last Sunday numbered just short of 10,000! The organ is to be Dedicated this coming Sunday (12th February) though, alas, the Farley team and I will only be able to watch it live-streamed rather than in person.
I’ve had a stimulating week, enhanced by the generous welcome we were offered by everyone connected with the cathedral. With three other possible organ projects around the cathedral and in another local church, it may not perhaps be the last visit for the Farley team and yours truly.