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News > Of Interest > Dedication to David McElderry (5752)

Dedication to David McElderry (5752)

The Portico of the Ards dedicates specially commissioned new works for organ in memory of David
1 Feb 2022
Written by Claire Bunting
Of Interest
David with the new organ at Portico of The Ards
David with the new organ at Portico of The Ards

David McElderry (5752) was an organ builder and expert of great renown based at the Wells Kennedy Partnership in Lisburn. David and his associates were responsible for significant rebuilds for cathedral organs in Newry, Armagh and Londonderry and restoration of organs across the UK.

In 2015, David was commissioned by The Portico of The Ards Arts Centre in Portaferry, Co. Down to build a new organ as part of the restoration of the building. It was described in Choir and Organ magazine (November, 2021) by organist and radio broadcaster, Dr. John McKee, as ‘a splendid new instrument, both tonally and visually with a building frame and a chamber layout that anyone would be impressed to inspect’  .

The Portico Arts Centre was opened to great acclaim in 2015 by H.R.H Prince Charles and David’s work on the organ played an important part in the success of Portico’s restoration and growth as an arts centre. The Belfast-based NVTV company made a documentary of The Portico restoration in 2018. Not only can you see and hear the organ being played, you can also learn more about David’s involvement in the instrument’s creation.

In 2021, David was advising the Chair of Portico on an innovative project to commission new works for organ by ten contemporary Ulster composers, which would premier at the venue later that year. Sadly, David died rather suddenly in February 2021 while the project was nearing completion (read his obituary in the 2021 OC Magazine). It was decided that the resulting Portico Preludes would be dedicated to David to honour his part in this project and restoration of the organ. The preludes premiered at The Portico in December 2021. Further information on the concert and a performance of one of the preludes can be viewed here.

A pre-requisite of the organ refurbishment was to allow the general public access to the organ. If you are interested in playing it yourself or would like to visit to see the organ and organ loft, please contact the venue directly.

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