Melburnians blown away by the pipes of the Grand Organ

By Katie Wong Hoy

Seniors and students flocked to Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday, October 7 to be serenaded by the glorious pipes of the Grand Organ.  

The first concert was one of many events organised in the CBD as part of the Seniors Festival 2015.
German organist extraordinaire, Christian Schmitt, brought the magnificent organ to life blowing away those who were lucky to attend.

Audience member Frances Papp said she decided to do something for herself and attend the Town Hall Grand Organ recital.

“For the past quite a few number of years I was a carer for my husband and I’ve never really taken advantage of the Seniors Festival before,” Ms Papp said.

“I like the organ music because it is so dramatic in parts and I just love it when it nearly pulls the walls down! It was lovely. I enjoyed it very much.”

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s arts portfolio Cr Rohan Leppert said the concerts were a fantastic opportunity for Melbourne to feature the outstanding instrument.

“These performances promise to showcase the musical brilliance of the Grand Organ, Melbourne’s much loved instrument that attracts international artists and emerging talent alike,” Cr Leppert said.

The Grand Organ was played again later in the same day for a less traditional concert called dis-organ-eyes-d, aimed at Melbourne’s youth. The music featured was composed by RMIT students and included interactive light projections.

Known for its culture, Melbourne’s CBD is a hub for musical events around Australia.

Senior Melbourne couple Joe and Dorothy Blitz also listened to the early concert and were impressed by

Christian Schmitt’s performance. Mr Blitz moved to Australia from Holland and has lived in Melbourne ever since.

“I’ve been all over the place but Melbourne is the best place to go to and stay. I just love it!” Mr Blitz said.

Mrs Blitz said people were attracted to Melbourne for its big events including those on the cultural calendar.

“They’ve always got something on – theatre, shows, everything. People seem to come here for cultural things,” Mrs Blitz said.

With about 10,000 pipes, the Grand Organ is the largest instrument in the Southern Hemisphere. It was originally built in 1929 before being refurbished to its current beautiful state in 2001.

After losing her husband last year, Mrs Papp said her trip into the city had inspired her to rediscover Melbourne’s CBD.

“I think it sort of wakes you up a bit, these sort of things and I might come into the city a bit more often I think now. It’s not how it was 50 years ago when I used to meet my boy on the corner of Collins and Swanston streets.”

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