David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Monday, January 19, 2009


On Sunday afternoon I attended the second piano concert in my local Church of St. Mary The Blessed Virgin, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon, performed by an accomplished concert pianist who happens to be our Director of Music and Organist, Mrs. Mila Grimes. She is Russian by birth and married to an Englishman.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon included Handel's Passacaille and Courante. Mozart's Fantasie in D minor, Turkish March and Sonata in C 1. Allegro 2. Andante and 3. Allegretto. Tchakovsky's Au coin du feu. Perce-neige and La Chasse. Daquin's Le Coucou. Liszt's Consolation in D flat. Saint-Saens Le Cygne. Schubert's Impromtu in A flat. Chopin's Nocturne in E flat. Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee and finally Arndt: Nola.

Mila gave a wonderful performance and the programme was so diffrent to her first concert in October. The depth, range and variety of her selections was a sheer joy to experience. The acoustics of St. Mary's Church added significantly to the sound of her beautiful piano. Such a hugely talented pianist of whom we are very proud. Thank you Mila.

Mila gave her services free of charge in order to help raise funds to maintain and complete our historic church organ. It was given to the church by William Henry Osmond in 1879 and has served the parish well for 130 years.

William Osmond was the only son of James Osmond, who became a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, Australia, and died in 1849. His memorial, which was also presented by his son, in on the east wall of St. Mary's outer south aisle. William Osmond went on to make his fortune in Australia before returning to his roots in Plympton.

The organ was built by Lewis and Co of Brixton, London, and by Hele & Co of Exeter, at a cost of nearly £1,000 - a huge sum in 1879. The organ is regularly maintained by Hele & Co of Saltash, Cornwall.

It has two manuals (keyboards) - the swell and the great - and also a third which has never been connected to pipes and has therefore remained silent since 1879. The pedal board and swell have electronic action and the great has tracker action.

In December 1950, £185 was donated by a parishioner to clean and overhaul the organ. The repairs were completed in May 1951.

In November 1954, the organ had a lucky escape when the church was badly flooded. If the water had risen another three inches, the organ would have been ruined.

It was again cleaned and tuned in July 1976 and in July 1979, there was a flower festival to celebrate the organ's centenary.

In 1985, the organ acquired a new bench in memory of Harry Hansford, a chorister for more than 40 years, who left a legacy for this gift in his will.

Now it is time for the organ to be cleaned and overhauled once again, and a special St. Mary's Organ Fund has been set up and contributions are sought towards the cost of this necessary work.

As well as repairs and maintenance, it would be superb if enough money was donated for the third, silent manual to be connected to its pipes. The space for these pipes is still empty and has been waiting to be filled for 130 years.

If you have any connections with our beloved church or simply feel you would like to help in its maintenance or refurbishment please let me know by e-mail and I will put you in touch with a member of our Clergy or the Hon. Treasurer of our Parochial Church Council.

In 2011 we will be celebrating our Septuacentennial (700th) Anniversary of the dedication of St. Mary's Church and it would be a wonderful achievement if we could mark the occasion by restoring the organ to its former glory for future generations to enjoy. So if you were baptised, confirmed, married, or served as a chorister, altar server, bellringer, sidesperson, or have relatives buried in our churchyard, etc. etc. why not help us achieve our objective by contributing to this project. Any help, however great or small, will be thankfully received and faithfully applied. You will also be helping us to preserve a valuable piece of English heritage.

No comments: