Feted organistpulls out allthe stops forvillage church

Date: Friday 21st July 2017

A “LEGENDARY” organist is heading back to his Eden roots next month for a special event at a village church.

Professional musician Alexander Ffinch regularly travels the world playing the finest organs at top concert venues in major cities, as well as featuring regularly on the BBC.

But on 4th August he will give a recital at the “slightly less prestigious” venue of St. Oswald’s Church, Ravenstonedale, where he will take on a rather “elderly” Harrison & Harrison organ, say excited church members.

The event came about by chance for Mr. Ffinch, who is originally from Newbiggin-on-Lune, and went to school in Ravenstonedale.

While visting the area, he attended a service and heard grumblings about the church’s ageing organ, built in 1891 and notoriously a “struggle” to play.

Having offered to try it out, he played a part of Widor’s Toccata, a piece regularly played at royal weddings, to the “amazement and delight” of all those listening.

Caroline Morris, secretary of the parochial church council, said: “We are in for a treat. Alexander agreed it was difficult to play and was in need of regular care and attention. He promptly offered to put on a recital to help raise money towards its upkeep.”

Mr. Ffinch, who started life in Newbiggin-on-Lune and later attended Sedbergh School, is now organist for Cheltenham College, one of the UK’s most prestigious boarding schools. He is also a former director of music at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and studied at the Royal College of Music, London. He was organ scholar of Keble College, Oxford, and has played in Europe, the UK and Far East, with dates coming up in San Francisco.