Updated through online information from Dr. Bruce Wheatcroft. -- This organ was built for us as a house organ and installed in our home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1992. Unexpected move to Montreal meant change.
This organ, Op. 121 Gabriel Kney (13 stops 15 ranks) was commissioned by Dr. Bruce Wheatcrtoft and William C. Hutton for their home in Edmonton. It was unique in that shutters were added for the first time to the second manual of this tried and true small organ design and the pitches of the mutations were lowered as was the 1' on the swell -- lowered to become a 2'.
The organ was installed in their music room in 1992 and then moved to Montreal in 1995 when they made an unexpected move to accept a new post. Bruce was appointed Director of Music at The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul and the organ was sent to The Anglican Diocesan College where it was installed in the convocation hall by D. Leslie Smith of Fergus, ON and former organ builder in Gabriel Kney's shop in London ON. In exchange for keeping the organ safe and insured, practice priveleges were given to any persons on staff at the College or connected with Christ Church Cathedral and students from McGill University.
In 2008, the organ was moved to a parish church, St. Margaret of Scotland, next door to the country home, B & B country Inn and The Abbey for the Arts that Bruce and Bill had created in 2001. The gallery installation was overseen by Orgues Létourneau from St. Hyacinthe, QC with the assistance of Fred Barr, a long-time friend and organ technician from Charlotte, NC.
In 2012 the organ was sold to the former monks of Oka and relocated to their new monastery, Abbaye Val Notre-Dame in St-Jean-de-Matha, QC J0K 2S0. There it was revoiced carefully to retain its original character and allowed to bloom in the new chapel with its outstanding acoustics. That work was also carried out by Orgues Létourneau, and is one of the best kept secrets in Canadian organ circles. The Abbey is open to the public, including overnight accommodation with meals, at exceptional prices and with pre-arrangement, trained organists are usually invited to play the instrument. On your departure, stop at the Abbey's store and pick up some of their famous Oka cheese.
This remarkable little organ has had quite a history and travelled more than most organs in its short life. The original pipe shades, painted by an Alberta artist, featured brilliant colours and the provincial wild rose of Alberta in its conception and final design. Deemed not appropriate for the Abbey chapel, the pipe shades were removed and remain with the original owners.
The organ is a stunning example of the beautiful workmanship and artistic touch of one of Canada's outstanding organ builders, Gabriel Kney.
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