Singers silenced as church organ goes up in smoke

Left to right: Francis Rumsey, director of music and the Reverend Toby Wright, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Witney.  Picture: OX68806 Mark Hemsworth

Left to right: Francis Rumsey, director of music and the Reverend Toby Wright, vicar of St Mary’s Church, Witney. Picture: OX68806 Mark Hemsworth Buy this photo

First published in News

WHEN the organ at St Mary’s Church, Witney, started smoking in the middle of a hymn, the congregation was stunned into silence.

It was lucky the church was already half way towards raising the £20,000 it needed to buy a new one. The faithful were in full voice when smoke began to curl from under the keys of the organ during Sunday evening’s service.

An acrid smell filled the air as the electronic components breathed their last. Members of the choir and congregation were ushered into the nave while the organ console was checked for flames.

The choir then completed the service, accompanied by organist Terry McNamara, after he switched to the electronic keyboard.

Director of music Francis Rumsey said: “We were already well into a fundraising project for the organ at St Mary’s. Sunday’s drama focused our attention on doing something more quickly than we expected. We are aiming to replace the ageing electronics with the best modern technology, so that good church music can continue to happen here.”

  • Anyone wishing to making a contribution can contact the parish office on 01993 779492 or email wtparish@btinternet.com

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