Speech before the Inaugural concert for new Goetze & Gwynn organ

Public Theatre

Friday 30th November 2018, 7.30pm


Good evening,

Two days ago, we lit the Christmas Tree in Front Square, marking for us the beginning of the Christmas season. But I can’t imagine anything more seasonal than launching our new college organ in the Public Theatre with this inaugural concert.

This is one of the great occasions of my Provostship: for the first time since probably 1838 we are about to hear the Public Theatre organ in its full glory! Professor David Grayson, speaking after me, will tell you more about the old organ and its long decline.

In case he is too modest, I must emphasize that the successful completion of this project to replace the old organ owes so much to David himself, and to Dr Andrew Johnstone who will also address us, and to Professor Shane Allwright in her former role as Registrar. They have driven this project and the whole college community – and indeed the city of Dublin - owes them a great debt of gratitude for their commitment and passion.

Make no mistake, this has been a long, painstaking project. And of course an expensive one; a 17th century great organ is not replaced simply or at low cost. We have a number of most generous donors to thank for their support of this project:

* The estate of John and Ann Boland;

* TCD Association and Trust;

* Dr Peter Schwartz; and

* A donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Thanks to the generosity of all these, this project has been completed to the highest possible specificity – which was of course essential: the restored organ must last centuries, it cannot be a rush-job or a stop-gap.

Trinity was fortunate indeed to have secured the services of Goetze and Gwynn, specialist organ builders and restorers based in Nottinghamshire. David will tell us a bit more about the build and restoration and the unexpected challenges and treasures uncovered in the process. And we will shortly hear for ourselves just what an outstanding job they have done.

In Trinity – as any institution with a heritage going back centuries – we are constantly involved in renovations and upgradings – of buildings and labs, of programmes and administrative systems. All this work is essential, but often it’s not particularly visible.

The restoration and rebuilding of this organ, on the contrary, is stand out. It can escape no-one’s notice. The organ is visibly and demonstrably more impressive and in sound – well, we are about to hear a sound which has not been heard in Trinity since the early 19th century.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are extremely fortunate.

Thank you all for being here and on behalf of the whole university, Season’s Greetings

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