Church organ ready for Christmas concert

RICHARD PARR A major restoration of the organ at Fakenham Parish Church has been completed in the nick of time for a Christmas concert.

RICHARD PARR

A major restoration of the organ at Fakenham Parish Church has been completed in the nick of time for a Christmas concert.

Until the eleventh hour it was feared that the £18,000 project would not be finished for a busy programme of Christmas services and a major concert on Saturday.

Fakenham Choral Society is to perform Benjamin Britten's Saint Nicolas with the renowned tenor, Ian Partridge, as guest soloist.

The organ restoration was originally scheduled to take six weeks with completion on November 17 but

the work overran the deadline.

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Brothers Edmund and Frances of the Fakenham-based organ restorers, Holmes and Swift, worked against the clock including a few all-night sessions.

The night shift was forced on them by the fact that the church was staging its popular Christmas Tree Festival, which attracted around 20,000 visitors during its eight days.

Now work is complete on the 1926 Hele three manual organ, and fine tuning will be carried out tomorrow ready for Saturday's concert.

The choral work tells the story of the life and miraculous times of the man we have come to know today as Santa Claus. Securing Ian Partridge, one of Britain's leading tenors, to perform the title role is a musical coup for the Fakenham choir.

Mr Partridge will also figure as a soloist in the second part of the concert, music and readings celebrating the spirit of the season.

Mr Partridge is a greatly admired performing and recording artist, and his successes include worldwide appearances with actress Prunella Scales in the popular stage production, An Evening with Queen Victoria.

At the concert he will be heard not only be the orchestra but also with the a choir of girls' voices. The audience will be invited to join in well-loved hymns.

The concert starts at 7.30pm, and tickets at £9 (under 18s free) will be available on the door or telephone 01328 830639.

The church organ will also be heard in all its restored glory on Sunday at 6.30pm when there is a candlelit carol service with seasonal items sung by the church choir.

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