“One of the finest church organs in Scotland”
The organ in The Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, St Andrews, is a magnificent three-manual instrument built by Harrison and Harrison of Durham in 1966, arguably the finest church organ in the east of Scotland north of Edinburgh. Among the instrument’s many impressive attributes is the unique ‘Bobby Jones Bombarde’, a division of fanfare trumpets (4-foot, 8-foot and 16-foot, played from the Choir) and a Pedal 32-foot Contra Bombarde, gifted by Mrs Mary Jones in memory of her husband, the world-famous golfer, Robert Tyre Jones.
The organ plays a major part in the music of church services, and especially so in the large civic and town-and-gown services held in Holy Trinity as the historic Town Church of the ancient university city of St Andrews; such services include those on Remembrance Sunday and St Andrew’s Day, the annual Golf Service attended by representatives and members of the Royal and Ancient Club and other golf clubs in the town, and the annual University Carol Service.
Additionally, with its beautiful proportions and fine acoustics, Holy Trinity is an important venue for organ recitals. The opening recital on the Harrison organ was given in 1966 by Gillian (now Dame Gillian) Weir. Many foremost national and international recitalists have played here since, including Lionel Rogg (Switzerland), Daniel Roth (Paris), the late George Thalben-Ball (London), Jane Parker-Smith (London), George McPhee (Paisley), Marjorie Bruce (London), James Lancelot (Durham), and Lionel Pike (London).
Likewise, the organ plays a significant role in the numerous choral and instrumental concerts which take place in Holy Trinity, some given by visiting choirs (largely from America and Europe) which, year by year, come to perform in St Andrews.
This organ also has an important educational role: it is used in the St Andrews University ‘Church Music’ diploma course, in the annual week-long St Andrews University Organ Summer School, and in the teaching of organ students (including the Holy Trinity Organ Scholar). The organ also plays its part in the education of the five Holy Trinity Choral Scholars, supported by the Friends of Holy Trinity as part of their commitment to education.
Following a comprehensive report from Harrison and Harrison Ltd the organ recently was restored and (in some respects) upgraded in 2009.
To meet the costs of this extensive renovation an Organ Restoration Appeal was launched aiming to raise £200,000, a daunting sum, but one which had to be considered in the light of the fact that to build this organ from scratch today would require in the region of £1,000,000. The Appeal had the full support of Minister and Kirk Session who are alike committed to securing the future of the organ as an important part of the heritage of Holy Trinity and of St Andrews.