independent

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Cathedral's historic organ to get a digital makeover

Published 06/11/2012 | 18:52

St Aidan's Cathedral organist, Adrian Doyle.

IT IS NOT just the television service that is going digital. Plans are afoot to transform the old organ in Saint Aidan's cathedral with a new digital system.

The spectacular system of pipes that fills the church with music is beginning to show its age after more than a century at the centre of worship in the heart of the Diocese of Ferns and the time for change is fast approaching.

' There are things going wrong that cannot be fixed,' confirmed cathedral organist Adrian Doyle. ' The organ is not tuned properly and it cannot be tuned properly. It is becoming difficult to play. There should be a decent sounding organ in the cathedral and there isn't.'

He believes that the future lies with a digitised system, with eight speakers to be installed discreetly in the gallery, to make the ancient pipe work redundant. The price of a new pipe organ would be astronomical, so digital is the only practical alternative in order to reach the high standard of music traditionally associated with St. Aidan's.

Carlow based organ specialist Stephen Adams performed some first aid on the existing system ten years ago but it still requires continuous maintenance. However, modern technology now offers an alternative.

Adrian Doyle reports that a digitised organ has already been installed in the chapel at Maynooth College and it produces a very satisfactory sound. Moreover, the music is in tune, in contrast to the struggling old equipment that remains in service in Enniscorthy.

Progress will come at a price - a sum of at least €40,000 - but several donations have already been lodged in the bank and a series of concerts is being planned. It is expected that it will take two or three years to raise the necessary funds but the man at keyboard of the old organ is already looking forward to the day.

'You won't notice the difference. It won't look any different,' says Adrian, who took up the job in the cathedral five years ago, ' but it will sound different, and it will sound better.'

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