The first organ of the Murraysburg Dutch Reformed Church was inaugurated on July 7, 1871. The organist was W P de Villiers from Beaufort West, who regularly played until Miss J P Herholdt was appointed as organist in January 1872, at a salary of £25 a year. She held this position until she married B B Keet in 1877. When the church was enlarged in 1907, the organ was sold to the Elliot congregation and a new organ was ordered from Vowles in Bristol, England. It was one of six delivered to South Africa. It was inaugurated with the new church on December 14, 1907, when Jan S de Villiers gave a recital which, according to The Graaff-Reinet Herald, was “grand, perfect and truly heavenly.” Initially pumped by hand, the organ was refurbished in 1945 and an electric pump was installed. The organ has 1 594 pipes, of which 53 are the symmetrically arranged, decorative pipes visible to the congregation. The organ has 31 different registers. It is regularly serviced and tuned by Cooper, Gill and Tomkins and their agents. Experts consider this organ to be “reasonably young”. Similar ones in Europe, they say, are over 300 years old and still deliver first class sound. Murraysburg’s longest serving organist was Mymie Burger, who stepped into the post just before her marriage in 1896 and continued playing for 59 years until she retired in 1955. She was the daughter of Charel van Heerden who farmed at Brandkraal. His wife was the sister of Rev A A Louw, who served this community for over 15 years.
© Rose’s Roundup, October 2011 (No 213)
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