A new pipe organ in the Great Hall at the University of Newcastle will be officially unveiled tonight, thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists.
The new instrument is a combination of wind-blown pipes and digital pipes. Its compact design incorporates five different organ styles, giving organists the choice of the best sound for different types of music.
University Foundation Executive Officer, Dr Bernie Curran, said the old organ had reached its use-by date.
"The original organ was installed when the Great Hall was built in 1973, and in recent years there had been concern about how long it could continue to serve its function," Dr Curran said.
"University of Newcastle Professor John Marley, a keen organist, was instrumental in identifying the need to replace the organ and approached renowned specialist David Pitts to discuss the University's needs.
"David Pitts, through his company Pipeless Pipe Organ Co., recommended a new organ and, very generously, donated half the costs of installation.
"The other major financial contributor is the Friends of the University. The Friends is an important benefactor to the University and is valued for its contributions to the Great Hall, in particular through the restoration of the Hunter Tapestry and the new organ.
"Financial support was also received from other donors. On behalf of the University Foundation, my thanks goes out to everyone who has made a contribution to the installation of the Great Hall's new pipe organ."
The new combination organ features an Ahlborn-Galanti AG3200, 62 stop digital organ with a 26 channel powered speaker system.
The value of the new organ installation is estimated at $320,000.
Photo opportunity: 4.30pm today, Great Hall, University of Newcastle.
A ceremony to officially unveil the new organ will be held at the Great Hall, University of Newcastle, at 7pm tonight.