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Professor Peter Toyne enjoyed the unusual experience of a mini-organ recital on his first visit to Blue Coat School in his role as Blue Coat Ambassador for our Blue Coat For All project.

The project is based around the restoration of our historic and rare Father Willis pipe organ in Shirley Hall. Besides inspecting the organ, Professor Toyne was treated to a performance by two of our talented Year 12 organists.

Professor Toyne, who was founder Vice Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University and as chair of the Liverpool Culture Company delivered European Capital of Culture 2008, is also co-chair of YOST, the Young Organ Scholars’ Trust. Until last year he was chair of Friends of Cathedral Music.

“This has been a wonderful visit to see the amazing Father Willis pipe organ and also to enjoy a performance by such talented musicians,” said Professor Toyne.

“Highly-skilled young musicians such as these are the future to ensure the continuation of our rich heritage of organ music, but for that to happen they must have the opportunity and access to these instruments.

That’s why the Blue Coat For All project is not only of local, but national importance. It could not be more timely as there is a real shortage of young organists and high quality instruments on which they can practice and perform.

“Blue Coat’s Father Willis organ is a splendid instrument, but it is in dire need of restoration. Once completed, the terrific idea for a Blue Coat Organ Scholarship open to everyone, based at Blue Coat and the two Liverpool cathedrals, will foster our crucially-needed new generation of organists.

“The project will also lead to creating an asset for the wider local community, with regular concerts, by students and professionals, on this historic instrument. It will further reinforce and enhance Liverpool’s reputation as a beacon of high-quality education and performance in the world of organ music.”

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