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City Hall organ hits the right note

15 March, 2013

City Hall organ hits the right note

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has welcomed back the City Hall organ as part of the building’s $215 million refurbishment, with the restored Father Willis organ currently being tuned.

The milestone is one of the few outstanding projects ahead of the building’s official re-opening on Saturday 6th April.

The Lord Mayor said the sound of each individual pipe was recorded before removing it from City Hall in 2010, to make sure it would sound exactly the same as before.

“City Hall’s Father Willis organ is regarded as one of the best pipe organs in Australia and a lot of time and effort has gone into returning this wonderful instrument to the best condition possible,” he said.

“We have taken great pains to deliver a modern City Hall without compromising its heritage value, and the City Hall organ show pipes have been repainted from silver to their original 1930 gold colour in line with this.

“The organ will not only look fantastic, but technicians will spend about eight months tuning the pipes to sound exactly the same as the day it was removed from City Hall.”

The organ started being tuned off-site in January by Brisbane-based organ builder and tuner Simon Pierce, who has studied organs abroad and worked with the instruments for many years.

It will now continue to be tuned on site in City Hall until August this year.

Cr Quirk said the project milestone had already involved 14,000 hours of workmanship to restore the 4,332 organ pipes, since it was dismantled in February 2010.

The organ restoration included various specialist works such as French polishing, cabinet making, leatherwork, electrical wiring and computer programming.

“With only 5 per cent of the City Hall restoration left to go, this key milestone really is an exciting time for City Hall,” Cr Quirk said.

The City Hall Father Willis organ is complemented by the auditorium’s 8,500 LED recently installed lights, a new dome ceiling and freshly polished floor boards.

Sections of City Hall now completely restored include all the level 1, 2 and 3 spaces, function rooms and tenant spaces such as the Council Chambers, Museum of Brisbane, Main and Ithaca Auditoria, commercial kitchen, 50 Plus Centre, Mobility Centre and back of house. Soon to be completed are the Sherwood and Sandgate Rooms and the Shingle Inn. Red Cross is currently busy with their final fit-out works for their café.

City Hall’s restoration started in January 2010 and the official re-opening will be on April 6.For more information visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/cityhall or phone Council on 3403 8888.

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