Singing Hills WurliTzer

The Singing Hills WurliTzer is an amalgamation of several ranks, some from unknown origins. Whilst the original 2/5 was in a playable condition, it was always intended that another console would be added, along with several ranks of pipes. To this end, Michael Maine designed the additional 3 manual console layout, David Houlgate installed an electronic relay of his own design, and a local (classical) builder was called in to help to install an extra 14 ranks of pipes.

Around 1999 it was decided that the original blowers were causing problems, by being 'under-volumed' and 'over-pressured', so a new White Blower was shipped in from Michigan USA. This blower now delivers more than adequate volume of wind at a static pressure of 25" WG.

However, the organ was still lacking, especially in wind regulation and chest winding, and the traps were very poorly sited. Alan Baker was called in to re-wind the entire installation and realising that this was a daunting task, called Michaael Wooldridge to 'volunteer' to assist, with helpful advice being supplied by Larry McGuire of STOPS. A total re-build ensued including upending all of the pipe chests and replacing missing dowels, opening the ends of some chests to allow entry for more wind, and forming two new chambers to house the traps and tuned percussion, including two new sets of separately controlled swell shades. Some ranks were moved, the Diapason from the Worthing WurliTzer was obtained (courtesy of Jim Buckland), Duncan Booth (Leeds) was commissioned to manufacture a brand new Krumet to WurliTzer spec. and 3 extra ranks were added, making up the current 23. Michael Wooldridge redesigned the console layout to help to accomodate more styles of playing, and an extra expression pedal was added along with many more stop tabs. The results were very encouraging but at this point it was decided that professional finishing/regulation was required to put the 'icing on the cake'. To this end, in November 2003, Clark Wilson and John Struve were asked to carry out extensive work and the results of this were quite astounding! The organ transformed over a couple of weeks beyond our wildest dreams, and is now rated as one of the most pleasurable in the UK to play and listen to.

Current 2004 projects include a sound dispersing plexiglass 'baffle' in front of the main chamber, the addition of 12 x 16' bass Tuba pipes, two 'missing' offset Tibia chests, a 'sampled' Vibraharp and a Disklavier attached via MIDI. Michael and Alan are still involved in the projects and are currently contracted to carry out monthly maintenance work (which keeps Michael on his toes, despite his busy playing schedule)!.

The Singing Hills venue is a particularly pleasant one, as in addition to its location in the Sussex countryside, it also sports its own restaurant, so organ lovers can visit for a first-rate Sunday lunch, and then an entertaining concert on the WurliTzer.

Current ranks are (in chest order):

Vox, Flute, Salicional, Tibia I (WurliTzer), Brass Trumpet.
Krumet, Clarinet, Salicional Celeste, Orchestral Oboe.
Diapason, Quintadena, Gamba, Gamba Celeste, Tuba (WurliTzer).
Saxophone, Oboe Horn, Tibia II (Christie), Kinura, English Horn.
Tuba (Christie) to be replaced by a Trumpet rank..
Offsets: Viol de Orch, Viol Celeste, Flute Celeste.

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