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What's on City of Melbourne

Time to Get Organ-ised

 Thursday, 7 February 2013 

The City of Melbourne is partnering with the Society of Organists (Victoria) to offer Melburnians and visitors to the city the chance to Get Organ-ised, with a free open day at the Town Hall Grand Organ on Sunday 17 February. 

Free backstage tours will acquaint Melburnians with the largest pipe organ in the southern hemisphere and spectators will have the rare chance to play the enigmatic Grand Organ.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Arts and Culture Portfolio Councillor Rohan Leppert said the Grand Organ is an outstanding instrument that has played a big part in Melbourne’s musical history.

“The Grand Organ has a colourful history that includes royalty, refurbishments, world renowned soloists and every genre of music from Classical to Italian prog rock – as witnessed at the most recent Melbourne Music Week,” said Cr Leppert.

“Melbourne’s much loved Grand Organ has brought renowned organists and world class performances into our city across two centuries.  As a musician, I have tremendous respect for this instrument, and I encourage everyone to explore and experience its impressive sounds.”

Originally built in 1929, it was refurbished and relaunched in 2001 and now contains drums, bells and nearly 10,000 pipes across three levels.  The organ uses ninety thousand cubic feet of air every minute, producing anything from a delicate whistle to deafening thunder.

Get Organ-ised will include entertaining presentations on both the Grand Organ and smaller organs, hands-on sessions for everyone from young music enthusiasts to professional organists and hourly backstage tours. 

The open day will conclude at 5pm with a Young Organists' concert featuring Victoria’s up and coming organists including Alan Thomas, Ria Polo, Samuel Whitehead, Shaun Wallis and Tom Neal-Williams.

What:  Get Organ-ised.  Free open day at the Grand Organ.

Where:  Grand Organ, Melbourne Town Hall

When:  Sunday 17 February, 12pm – 6pm

Cost:  FREE - though bookings are required.

About The Grand Organ 
There have been two permanent Grand Organs installed in the Town Hall since 1872. The original was extensively rebuilt in 1905. The second organ was installed in 1929 following the Town Hall fire of 1925. The Heritage Victoria-listed 1929 façade is made of rich-grained Queensland maple with coin-bronze grilles. It took $4.5 million dollars from 1996 to 2001 to restore and enhance the Grand Organ.