Resounding The Organ / The Organ Resounding

Resounding The Organ / The Organ Resounding

Brilliant French organist and composer, Charles-Marie Widor, described the pipe organ as the ‘sound of eternity singing to the stars’. For centuries the soaring music of the organ has bound people together, offering gravitas and comfort when we are sad and sparking exultation and delight when we rejoice.

For 130 years the sound of the beautiful pipe organ in St Luke’s church has lifted the spirits and brought joy, solace and musical delight to the almost 20,000 people who come here each year for weddings, funerals, concerts, recitals and worship.

Now it is time for a major refurbishment and enhancement of the organ to ensure it continues to make a resounding contribution to Auckland musical life. Please help us extend and enrich the life of this wonderful instrument by making a donation. We need to raise $450,000 to add to the $100,000 already committed by the Community of Saint Luke. Why not buy a pipe – or a whole family of them!

Buy a pipe and help the organ continue to ‘sing eternity to the stars’…

Interested in donating?

A list of all donors to the Organ Refurbishment Fund who agree to be acknowledged will appear on a plaque inside the church. Donors will also receive free tickets to the series of concerts planned to celebrate the completion of the work in 2019.

… a beautiful venue for concerts …ideal for choral music, chamber music and small orchestra concerts
David Hamilton


Are pipe organs still important?
Pipe organs have been integral to classical music for over 500 years. Their unique characteristics mean that they are ideally suited to accompany the human voice. Access to a high quality pipe organ is essential to authentically experience the glories of classical music, especially the work of two of its colossal figures, J S Bach and G F Handel. Leading twentieth century composers have composed for the organ and in the twenty first century the Community of St Luke, with donated funds, commissioned a mass from renowned New Zealand composer David Hamilton. 

Why is $600,000 required?
The Community of St Luke carried out a twelvemonth enquiry into the options for the organ’s future that involved both community members and external experts. In their written report the Review Team identified four options, but very strongly recommended ‘refurbishment and enhancement’. All options were presented to the whole Community of St Luke at a March 2016 special meeting. It was unanimously agreed that the ‘refurbishment and enhancement’, option provided the best outcomes in terms of longevity of investment, cost/benefit and improved musical qualities. Following a rigorous tender process Pierce Pipes of Brisbane were selected to carry out the work. They have an international reputation for world class work and have previously completed significant New Zealand projects. The Community of St Luke has committed $100,000.00 towards the project and significant grants have been received from Foundation North, Goodfellow Trust, Lion Foundation, Lottery Grants Board and The Stout Trust together with donations from individuals. 

Who will benefit from this project?
Because of its superb acoustics, and affordability, the church is a popular venue for smaller choral and orchestral concerts and annually attracts audiences of about 10,000 people for non-Church musical events. As part of its strategic commitment to music in Auckland, St Luke’s in late 2017 appointed a part time Director of Music to promote music communities’ knowledge, and us, of our venue. As highlighted above the refurbishment of the organ will benefit, and be an important asset for music in Auckland. 

What sort of place is the Community of St Luke?  
Since 1875 St Luke’s Church has been a treasured part of the fabric of Auckland. St Luke’s is today a popular venue for important family events like christenings, weddings and funerals for many beyond the regular worshipping community. Each year just under 10,000 people attend weddings, funerals and worship at the Community of St Luke.
The current church, replacing the original wooden church, was opened in 1932 based on the parish church of Kirkintilloch, Scotland. The building committee included parishioners James (later Sir James Fletcher) and William Fletcher, directors of what would become Fletcher Construction. The Fletcher brothers provided the plans, raised funds and built the new church on terms very favourable to the parish. Today leafy trees surround the weathered stone landmark, and richly coloured stained glass illuminates the warm and inviting interior. St Luke’s is a beacon of beauty on a busy road, easily accessible by public and private transport.
The Community of St Luke describes itself as an inclusive and progressive Presbyterian Church and its church congregation is drawn from across the Auckland region. Unlike many mainstream churches St Luke’s has a growing, rather than declining, congregation. 

What’s the time frame?
 A contract with Pierce Pipes has been signed and the 12 month project will commence in early 2019..

Choirs from the New Zealand Choral Federation regularly perform at St Luke’s, which is the perfect setting for concerts of a more intimate nature. With a fully refurbished pipe organ, this beautiful venue’s versatility would be considerably increased and would contribute even more to Auckland’s music community. I have played the instrument — possibly one of the finest church organs in the country with some very fine pipe work — and is obvious that it is in urgent need of an overhaul. If this instrument were to be refurbished to its former glory, and with a few enhancements, it would become even more of an asset for the Auckland region.