Share this article

Hereford Cathedral School pupils for many years to come will have the opportunity to expand their musical repertoire, thanks to the School’s recent purchase of an organ.

Members of the PTA and friends of the School gathered in the HCS Music School last week for the opening of the new ‘Gilbert Room’, which houses the 17-year-old Collins organ.

The guests heard the magnificent instrument in all its glory thanks to the evening’s organists, HCS pupils Emily S and Michael D, HCS Saturday Outreach mature student Sandra Catley, and former pupil James Wall, who went on to become an organ scholar at Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral and is now Director of Music at Lucton School.

Following the performances, the new Gilbert Room was dedicated by Mr Richard Rhodes, former Housemaster at the Old Deanery (pictured below, right), to marks his 40 years’ service as Director of the Gilbert Consort.

Mr David Evans and Mr Richard Rhodes

Mr Richard Rhodes - the Gilbert Room


HCS Director of Music David Evans said: “It is an outstanding achievement for this community to have come together to purchase this fine two manual instrument. Without the support, generosity and educational vision of donors, this purchase would not have been possible. One talks a lot about how important sports fields are in the training of athletes, and the importance of IT (which regularly needs constant updating and replacement). In this instrument we have the original crafted technology, something which will be here for generations and will enable this school to continue to produce organists of National and International standing, not to mention those who can support within our own community. Like the athlete, the organist needs the facilities and I can’t think of another school in this county which has such an outstanding facility and can produce organists as we have here for many generations. It’s a good, sensible, long-term investment and will both inspire and enable choristers, ex-choristers and others who may wish to learn the organ.”

It is hoped that the purchase will provide more HCS pupils to pursue organ scholarships in future. Laurence John, who left HCS in 2016, spent a year as organ scholar at Hereford Cathedral before taking up his organ scholarship at Queen’s College, Oxford. Other former pupils who went on to become organ scholars are Amalie Fisher (Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge), John Challenger (St John’s College, Cambridge) to mention just a few.

The purchase was made possible thanks to financial support from both Hereford Cathedral School’s PTAs, the Old Herefordians’ Club, The Howard Bulmer Charitable Trust, The Southwell Trust, a number of kind personal donations, an alumnus and the HCS Music Outreach programme.

With the kind support and advice of Peter Dyke, the organ had been dismantled and transported from its former home near Whitby, North Yorkshire, and rebuilt by local firm Go Organ Builders, based in Eaton Bishop, to whom we are extremely grateful and much indebted. 

If you are interested in learning to play the organ, please contact Mrs Turtle in the HCS Music school on 01432 363531.