Taking a brief break from my principal profession as pornographer to frogblog visitors, this morning I accompanied Fingernail I's class to visit a church organ. It's located in a desanctified church which was bought by the private Catholic school to which it is physically attached and is now used for concerts and festivals. It's also in our street, so none of us burned too many calories getting there and back.
The presentation was done by a charity, Toulouse les Orgues, which also stages an organ festival every year. Toulouse is rich in instruments and the concerts attract organ lovers from all over the world. This particular instrument is a Cavaillé-Coll and you can read more about it here.
The visit was complementary to a musical project the children are all participating in called Le Clavier Fantastique, performed in collaboration with the Orchestre National du Capitole. They kept their concentration for a long time and asked some pretty intelligent questions. Our organist-presenter played a piece by Messiaen followed by Bach's ubiquitous Toccata and Fugue in D minor then took all the children up to spacious organ loft (see picture) to show them how the instrument worked. There's an unfunny joke in there, but I can't be bothered. Downstairs, they were able to get some hands-on experience with the help of a few fundamental models of bellows, keys and pipes. Needless to say, it got very loud, very quickly.
In a country where you really need a toothcomb to find any musical education in state schools, our little local establishment is pretty good: they sing, they take part in cultural projects, they visit famous organs. It's reassuring.