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Guildhall organ brings music magic back to Main Hall

28 September 2015

A special musical celebration took place yesterday in the Guildhall allowing guests to enjoy a sneak preview of the newly restored Guildhall organ.

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District was joined by an audience of invited guests for a special music recital, pre-empting a major public event scheduled to take place on June 26th next year.
Speaking after the recital, Mayor McCallion said: “The performances today were absolutely beautiful and I was delighted to see the completion of this painstaking work to restore the organ to its original glory. It’s the final stage in the renovation of the Guildhall and the last piece that has been missing in the building’s transformation.

“The performances today were exceptional and it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the newly restored organ before its public unveiling next year. The Guildhall is such a special building in the history of the city, and the perfect venue for so many public and private events. The organ will now lend an additional visual and musical element to the splendour of the Main Hall.”

The organ is the second largest concert organ in N. Ireland, and dominates the stage of the impressive Main Hall in the Guildhall. The original instrument was crafted and paid for by public donations of £2,000 in 1891, but was destroyed by fire in 1908. It was reinstalled but was again damaged by the 1972 bombs before being rebuilt by Hill, Norman and Beard Ltd of London at a cost of £68,000 in 1978.

The recently completed restoration of the Guildhall organ was part of a £10m restoration project funded by the former Derry City Council, Tourism NI, Department of Social Development and Department for Environment under its Built Heritage Programme.