An unfading musical love for Launceston organ player

TALENT: Peter Schultz sits down at the Albert Hall pipe organ. It is an instrument he has been playing since 1967. Picture: Paul Scambler
TALENT: Peter Schultz sits down at the Albert Hall pipe organ. It is an instrument he has been playing since 1967. Picture: Paul Scambler

It was love at first sight when Peter Schultz first set eyes on a pipe organ.

The regular organist at Holy Trinity Church, and semi-regular organist at Albert Hall, first played a church organ in 1967 after honing his skills on the piano for several years.

After first expressing his desire as a young boy to master the intricate instrument, he finally got his big chance years later. 

Mr Schultz’s love for the pipe organ was only strengthened on that fateful day. 

“My mother said if you want to play the organ, first you need to learn the piano,” he recalled. 

“So I reached about grade five in piano in 1967 and she took me off to an organist to learn the pipe organ. 

“Some things you just feel like you’d like to do.”

Mr Schultz has played the pipe organ at Holy Trinity Anglican Church every Sunday for the past 10 years and played the organ at the Pilgrim Uniting Church every week for the 14 years prior to that.

He also plays every two to three years at Albert Hall on special occasions, including Sunday’ Mother’s Day concert. 

The organ at Albert Hall was praised by Mr Schultz as being particularly special for its size and unique heritage. 

It was built by Charles Brindley in 1860 and was originally stationed at the Launceston Mechanics Institute.

“[The Albert Hall] organ is very highly valued in the organist community,” he said

“It’s the very earliest surviving town hall organ in Australia or public concert instrument.”

PIPES: Peter Schultz on the Albert Hall organ. Picture: Paul Scambler

PIPES: Peter Schultz on the Albert Hall organ. Picture: Paul Scambler

However, Mr Schultz is worried about the future of the instrument in Launceston. 

Fewer and fewer young children go to their parents begging to learn how to play church organs, as Mr Schultz did once upon a time. 

“I think there are some people in Hobart who are learning to play, but I’m not aware of any in Launceston,” Mr Schultz commented.

“One of the things of course with musical tuition that you have issues with is these days is the history of abuse within individual tuition and that sort of thing.

“These days in a lot of teaching bodies, particularly the church now, if you have a minor with you it is required if they’re under 18 that another adult, preferably their parent, is with you. 

“Once upon a time, if you taught someone the organ you sat there and had a lesson and away you went.”

With the number of organists dwindling in Launceston, Mr Schultz said it may come to a point when no one is able to produce the grandiose sounds that come from the mighty Albert Hall organ. 

You just don’t get the same sound, do you?

Peter Schultz

Mr Schultz believes its future is uncertain.

“We hope there are people who will come along and play these instruments from interstate,” he said.

“There are several other organists around town, for now, who play here and churches like St John and places where there are pipe organs.

“But a lot of churches have guitar bands and stuff like that.

“You just don’t get the same sound, do you?”

Sunday’s Mother’s Day organ recital at Albert Hall will take place from 2pm, with entry via a gold coin donation.