Last week a class from St. James and St. John, Hyde Park school, had the opportunity to build their own organ at the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Betty’s engagement with the community, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The day started with an introduction to the Royal Festival Hall . Pupils learned about the types of activities the hall promotes including orchestral concerts and the use of the recently restored Harrison and Harrison organ. Together they watched an exciting video made by similar aged children explaining how the organ works, from the blowers and bellows through to the different types of pipes played from the console.
Things quickly became more hands on as the class worked as a team to place specially made plastic pipes in order of size and pitch so that they could be assembled.
A smaller team worked on connecting plastic tubing together to make sure that all of the pipes had a wind supply. Six energetic students pumped the bellows to make the wind while thirteen more controlled the valves to let wind into the rank of pipes. Pupils learned about producing wind to make the bellows rise, measuring wind pressure using a water gauge, and that pipes need a steady, supply of wind to make them sound.
This project consolidated how the students knowledge of how a pipe organ works after having been introduced to Betty, the pipe organ at St. John’s Hyde Park before it was taken away for restoration.