Construction of the historic Salisbury Cathedral was begun in 1220. The Cathedral boasts the highest spire in England at 404 feet home to the nests of peregrine falcons, and it’s regal Chapter Room houses one of only four surviving copies of The Magna Carta.
The magnificent church organ, known as the Father Willis organ was commissioned in 1877 from Henry Willis and Sons.
Now it is providing a function its founding fathers could never have anticipated: it is a centre for those receiving their vaccinations against Covid-19. And to soothe the possible nerves of those patients, Cathedral organist John Challenger is providing music on the church organ.
One of the first to be vaccinated in the Cathedral was 95-year-old Louis Godwin, former RAF Flight Lieutenant and Lancaster bomber tail gunner. He said, “It has been absolutely marvellous to come into this wonderful building and have this jab. I’ve had many jabs in my time, especially in the RAF. After the war, I was sent to Egypt and I had a couple of jabs which knocked me over for a week.”
“This one, the doctor said to me ‘Well that’s done’ and I thought he hadn’t started. So it’s no trouble at all and no pain,” he added.
For 800 years the Salisbury Cathedral has been providing spiritual guidance, sanctuary and solace to generations of Christian worshippers.
The church organ was completely renovated and was recommissioned in August 2020. In celebration, they released an album of organ music named Organ Prom. To quote the BBC the album provides, “Gloriously kaleidoscopic earfuls that show off the organ’s colours in all their regal majesty.”
You can listen to a sample of the music here.
I have to confess to a little bias here: my father was a church organist for many years. Still, if you are to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, better it be in a glorious centuries-old Cathedral accompanied by the magnificent sound of organ music.
Feature image via CNN