A MASTER of music who is embarking on a tour to play all the working church organs in the Derby Diocese is due to touch down in Ashbourne next week.
Peter Gould, master of music at Derby Cathedral, set out in 2012 with an ambitious plan to play on every organ in the diocese that was still operable.
The former music teacher spent 2013 concentrating on touring the seven rural deaneries in the Northern Archdeaconary, but now he is switching his focus on to the 148 working organs in the south.
As part of this leg, he plans to visit village churches over three days starting on Tuesday.
Mr Gould will also return to Ashbourne in July for a full 45-minute recital as part of Ashbourne Festival. This is due to take place at noon on Wednesday, July 2.
He said: "Upon arrival at each church, I aim to play a short programme of three works, a short prelude and fugue by Bach, followed by two pieces from the English romantic repertoire – often Stanford, Whitlock and Vaughan Williams – to show off the colours and sounds that each organ can produce.
"The great joy is that every organ is unique, just as the buildings are. For me, it is the first time that I have visited some of these beautiful buildings and made them come alive.
"I have played on manual organs without pedals, organs in a sorry state of repair and a range of electronic instruments, including a Hammond in a worship centre, though I much prefer the traditional pipe organs and have found many gems on my travels.
"At the end of each concert, I ask for a collection to support two charities. One is the restoration of the Cathedral organ and the other is a local charity, the choice of the local rural dean.
"The only sad thing that I am picking up from my travels is that the organ has much less use than was originally intended.
"Pedal boards sometimes look very dusty and I am often told that the organ is only played infrequently by a visiting organist for weddings and funerals.
"I hope that, through my playing, I can help to awaken the possibilities, showing how versatile the instrument still is and what it is capable of in the service of God."
Call Derby Cathedral on 01332 341201 for more information.