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Farnley Tyas musician Richard Wood helps world famous choir

He loans organ to Kings College Choir

It normally stands proudly in a Huddersfield musician’s cottage.

But now a small pipe organ is being used to accompany the world-famous choir of King’s College, Cambridge - a choir set up more than six centuries ago by Heny VI.

The instrument, owned by Richard Wood of Farnley Tyas, is on loan to the 15th century chapel while its own large organ is being restored.

Mr Wood, previously of Woods Music Shops and founder of the Yorkshire-based Early Music Shop, has owned the organ for three years.

It usually occupies one wall of his dining room.

Mr Wood said: “Knowing the chapel was to be without an organ for nine months I made the impromptu decision.

“I wrote to the director of music, Dr Stephen Cleobury, and my offer was accepted.

Musician Richard Wood

“It will give me pleasure to see it in such noble surroundings doing such a worthwhile job.”

The chamber organ was built for Mr Wood by the Slovenian firm of Skrabl and was installed in the chapel last month.

King’s College Choir comprises 16 boy choristers, aged between nine and 13 years, and 14 male undergraduates, reading for degrees in a variety of subjects. There are also two organ scholars.

Singing at daily Chapel services is the Choir’s primary duty, and has been since the foundation of King’s College in 1441, when King Henry VI envisaged that the choir would provide music for the daily offices and celebrations of the Mass in his new Chapel.

The grand organ in Kings College Chapel, Cambridge, which is silent for nine months during restoration work

Daily services are not the Choir’s sole commitment today though: its worldwide fame and reputation, enhanced by its many recordings, has led to invitations to perform around the globe, and to an extensive international tour schedule.

When the choir was formed, choristers had to be under twelve years of age when admitted, and able to read and sing. In addition to their choral duties, singing daily Matins, Mass and Vespers, they were to wait at table in Hall.

The boys were provided with meals and clothing, and eight pence a week for their board. They were not allowed to wander beyond the College grounds without permission from their Master or the Provost.

The Skrabl organ in Richard Woods Farnley Tyas cottage



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