Church’s new pipe organ consecrated

GEORGE TOWN: South-East Asia’s oldest Anglican church, the St George’s Church Penang in Farquhar Street, saw the official dedication of a new pipe organ in conjunction with its bicentenary celebration.

Consecrated by Archbishop of the Province of South-East Asia Datuk Ng Moon Hing, the organ was donated by the family of the late Datuk Tan Kim Yeow.

Built by the prestigious Mander Organs of London, the new pipe organ with 1,050 pipes took over a year to construct. It comes with an organ case of African teak, a console of English oak and pipe shades of limewood carved with traditional Malaysian motifs.

There are only two pipe organs in Penang, the current pipe organ at St George’s Church and another at the nearby Church of the Assumption.

Bishop Charles Samuel said the character of Anglican worship revolved around congregational singing of hymns.

“An organ is the basic necessity for nearly all of this music and there is no other instrument that matches its ability to lead the singing of a several hundred-strong congregation,” he said.

“The organ will also serve for the good of the community through special recitals and other associated events that will be open to the public.”

An inaugural public recital will be held in the church on Aug 19.

St George’s Church had a few organs over the centuries, including a two-manual 16-stop (17-rank) pipe organ built in 1899 by Forster & Andrews in memory of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

However, at the outset of the Second World War, St George’s Church was hit by a Japanese bomb, and shortly after, the organ was destroyed by looters.

The church was built in 1817 by the East India Company and consecrated in 1819 by the Right Rev Thomas Middleton, Bishop of Calcutta.

Located within the Unesco’s World Heritage Site in George Town, it underwent a major restoration in 2009.

By Cavina Lim (The Star)