T HE Majorca Daily Bulletin recently published a story I wrote about a famous Compton Cinema Organ on the Island which was in danger of being scrapped. The article brought an amazing response from a number of parties. The most interesting of these was from Jackie Evans, a former Majorcan Estate Agent who knew the instrument well! Jackie's father Jack Evans had been a cinema and broadcast organist for the BBC back in the UK.
He had retired to the Island with his wife Jean and had been frequent guests of the organ's owner – Arthur Barrett.
Arthur was a former sound engineer with the Atomic Energy Commission in Austria and had retired to Majorca in the early 1960's.
He was a great lover of the Cinema Organ and had the Compton pipe organ shipped from the Regal Cinema Newcastle in the 1970s.
Jack Evans actually recorded a number of broadcasts for the BBC from the house in Majorca.
Arthur died about 20 years ago and since then the organ has had little use.
His son Peter gifted the organ to me on the understanding that I would be responsible for removing it from the house and find a use for it.
I flew out to meet Jackie at the start of March and she immediately opened her contact book to see if she could find a new home for the organ.
She thought that the best solution would be in one of Majorca's many churches and made a number of calls. Within a couple of days, several priests descended on the house near Palma to see if the organ would meet their requirements.

Jackie and I decided that the best home would be the church of Sant Josep Obrer in central Palma.
Not only was there adequate space for the organ, but it could also be used for organ studies by the students from the adjoining Conservatory of Music.

The Professor of Organ at the College, Tomeo Mut was so enthusiastic and fascinated by this rare instrument – he had no idea that it existed.
He was very helpful in removing the more delicate parts.
Tomeo will be helping in the restoration and installation of the Compton in the church.
I made the decision to donate the organ free of charge to Sant Josep.
Two conditions I insisted on.
One was that the organ be removed by the church within one week and the priest in charge Padre Peter, was as good as his word.
The second one was that the organ be installed without modification i.e. as a cinema organ with drums, bells, percussions etc. (also playable as a church organ). The people at Sant Josep agreed to this.

After several days of very hard work unwiring and dismantling the organ's 572 pipes and percussions, on Tuesday of last week, a large furniture van turned up at the house with four hefty removal men.

By Wednesday evening, most of the organ had been moved from the house. However, there was one major obstacle still to be overcome – this was the removal of the giant organ console which was situated in the hallway.

The Compton simply refused to go out of the front door and had to be moved onto a side terrace through the living room windows.
The only solution was to bring in a giant grua (crane) and this arrived on the Thursday morning.
The crane had to hoist the organ over 30 metres in the air, over the house, trees and power lines! Spectacle
Many of the neighbours came to watch the spectacle with their cameras and after about an hour, the organ was swung onto the street and then lifted into the removal van to a round of applause by the spectators.

It is now safely in storage in the church in the centre of Palma.
I will be returning to the Island later this year to help with the reconstruction of the organ.
This unique instrument which will then be available to the citizens of the Island for church services, recitals and concerts... and best of all, used by the music students at the Conservatory.

So, many thanks to The Bulletin for helping to save this historic instrument – the only surviving cinema pipe organ in all of Spain.