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Kingussie Primary have it all organ-ised!

By Tom Ramage

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Organetto builders
Organetto builders

Presenting the organ builders of Badenoch!

The craftspeople of Kingussie Primary School have constructed their own, working Organetto - and helped the town keep its word to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Parish Church's magnificent rebuilding of the priceless Evans & Barr pipe organ needed the help of the nation's lottery players and to get that they had to ensure that it would be a real community effort, not just the congregation's.

"It’s hard to believe the organ restoration was completed over two years ago in December 2016," said project leader Eppy Mackay. "Within the terms and conditions of the lottery grant it was stipulated that all projects undertaken where they have provided funding should involve the local community including its young people.

"The success of our organ restoration project would not have been complete without the involvement of pupils from both Kingussie Primary and High Schools.

"The design and completion of two leaflets developed at the outset fell to the more than capable hands of four students from the High School. An organ trail leaflet provides the many organ enthusiasts of our fair land with a map of the national park and a trail which details all sites of the pipe organs within its boundaries. It also provides relevant information about each organ with a point of contact should an organist wish to make arrangements to visit a site and indeed play the organ."

The second leaflet provides a “potted” history of Kingussie and its kirk, and follows the organ’s journey to restoration – two interesting productions for a read through for locals and visitors alike.

"Both schools took a keen interest in the project from the start," said Mrs Mackay, "indeed the Primary School emptied into the church for a question and answer session with the organ building team, while smaller groups from the High School’s Physics and Music Departments held lessons at the organ with our organist Mr John Crombie.

"The students of the High School are unlikely to forget their contribution to the preparation and production of the leaflets and it was with this in mind we looked at what could be done to ensure the inclusion of the Primary school pupils would be as memorable for them too.

"For the organ working team it was a case ofthinking caps on – one of our members, Mr Bob Stirling, hitting on the idea of building a mini organ, an “organetto”.This fell nicely into the schools’ curriculum programme and lessons on sound. The school gave the ‘go ahead’ and were happy to take part."

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