A couple of years ago, I posted a letter from Wim Mutsaerts detailing some of the history of the city hall organ and the deplorable condition in which it now finds itself. Things do now appear to be moving forward and Wim is in the process of establishing a trust to oversee its repair. He wrote:
I have met with Dr Michael Sutcliffe, Durban City Manager, who has agreed that it is time something should be done for the Restoration of the City Hall Organ. He suggested the creation of a Trust and to present a Proposal. I invite retired Members of the Public to fill the following posts on a voluntary, part-time basis.
- A Chairman (a marketing man with or without lawyer experience), who is able to start the fundraising campaign and get advise on the best structure for fundraising. I offered to assist this person.
- Consultants. Two-three well-known professional Organists have been already approached and gladly accepted.
- An Accountant, to keep meticulous financial records
- A Public Relations Person/Fundraiser. This position requires knowledge of individuals and enterprises likely to support the project.
- An Administrator, who would keep precise records of activities.
- Additional Volunteers, who would assist with aspects of the Projects.
The time has arrived when I need to call on the support pledged by Organ Friends, to assist me with further activity as well as with fundraising for this worthwhile project. I also need to contact well-wishers known to you who would be willing to contribute. Clearly, I need help and I have established the positions to be filled in good time for the Trust yet to be formed.
As for myself, I have limited contact with the Natal population at large. Accordingly, I must rely on Natalians, particularly those who have retired from active employment, to volunteer their services to the cause. The project will cost about R9 million, if contracted to world experts Messrs Rieger from Austria. I have asked Rieger to provide me with a detailed floor plan (layout) of the Organ they have already outlined.
It would display ALL the parts of the Organ, including the organ case, the console, the wooden and the steel pipes, the swells, the bellows, the windchests and so on. Each part will be allotted a number. I intend to break down the estimated costs of repair to arrive at a price per item or part. Interested members of the public would be invited to submit their ‘Intention to pledge’ or to reserve that amount for the Trust.
If you have other ideas or suggestions, please e-mail me. It is my aim to have the Organ working to its former glory by the time I turn 80, on 31st December 2013, much less than 3 years from now.
I look forward to Your responses at earliest opportunity. Thank You in advance and the very best of wishes.
Wim Mutsaerts (Organ-iser)