Warrington Male Voice Choir
Registered Charity: 1015320
Patron: Terry Waite CBE
President: The Mayor of Warrington
Accompanist:  Dr. Anthony Whittaker LRAM ARCO LTCL MMus
Musical Director: Russell Paterson BA PGCE


Warrington's Cavaille-Coll Organ

Some Notes By Barrie Johnson, Chairman of Warrington Male Voice Choir


The Parr Hall’s magnificent pipe organ, affectionately named the ‘Bracewell Queen’, is the only tonally unaltered instrument in the United Kingdom produced by the celebrated French organ builder, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll .  Possibly one of only two in such original condition in the world, it was built in Paris in 1870 as a three-manual organ of 44 stops with two enclosed divisions for the private home of John Turner Hopwood, music publisher, of Bracewell Hall, near Barnoldswick, Skipton, England.  Saint-Saëns and Widor shared the first two performances on the instrument in the Paris workshop hall of Cavaillé-Coll in March 1870.  A third performance was given soon after by Alexander Guilmant.  Following its installation in Bracewell Hall under the supervision of the skilled voicer Félix Reinburg, the organ was inaugurated by William Sparke, on 7th November 1870.  The sophistication of the French organ led to further orders for Cavaillé-Coll organs in Sheffield’s Albert Hall (1873, destroyed by fire in 1937), Paisley Abbey (1875), Bellahouston Church, Glasgow (1875), Blackburn Parish Church (1875, now Cathedral) and Manchester Town Hall (1877).  All of these instruments have since been modified by others and have largely lost the unique Cavaillé-Coll sound.


Warrington Male Voice Choir has enjoyed a long association with this fine instrument.  Read former Chairman Barrie Johnson’s comments below.