Pretty soon you won’t be able to hear organs any more…. About organ mentors

by Hans Steketee | Photo's: Jan Zwart | Het ORGEL | Year 115 | (2019) | Issue 6

Alkmaar, Grote Kerk, Van Hager-beer-Schnitger-orgel

Church congregations and governments have been traditionally responsible for a protective environment for organs. Now that more and more churches are closing and the government is also withdrawing from the sphere of subsidies for sounding monuments, many organs in redundant church buildings will no longer be maintained. New owners of the buildings where these instruments stand often lack the knowledge to care properly for the instruments. The Stichting Vrienden van het Orgel Alkmaar {Friends of the organ Alkmaar} has therefore taken the initiative to set up organ mentors; these are organ lovers with sufficient knowledge who assume responsibility for an organ and help the owners manage and use the instrument. By deploying mentors, the network around organs will be maintained or re-established. This opens the way for a new protective, stimulating environment in which all manner of activities with the organ will again be possible. The added value of a mentor is not only keeping tabs on the organ and developing (new) activities. His contribution to the realization that truly beautiful music is only possible on an instrument that is in optimal condition, will also legitimize the work of organists, organ builders, and consultants. And this will also give the craft of organ building renewed prospects.