Stichting Groningen Orgelland and educational projects for children
One of the goals of the Stichting Groningen Orgelland is to draw attention to the great number and variety of organs in Groningen. In a single province there’s a choice collection of instruments to be found, of which the oldest date from the sixteenth century! Under the category 'heritage education' the SGO hopes to interest children and youth in the organ. For the future of the instrument depends in an important way on interest among the youth.
The children’s project 'Pijpen zoeken met Piet Prestant' [Pipe hunting with Piet Prestant] was first performed on the occasion of the inauguration of the restored Arp Schnitger organ in Uithuizen in Juli, 2001. This project, devised by Sietze de Vries, consists of a story that is attractive, both visually and audibly, to (young) children. In addition to the narrator, the organist, a percussionist and a pair of 'organ elves' play a large role. Characters in the tale are Piet Prestant, Flip Flutie, Tom Tooter, and Bas Bellows, who are brought to life by the sounds of various organ registers. The percussionist provides special effects, and the organ elves show the various pipes and sing along. Of course the audience of children participates as well: they sing the final chorus and are given a sheet with homework, which they can finish off at school. An organ model was made especially for this project by Bernhardt Edskes Orgelbau; it shows clearly, to both eye and ear, how the instrument works.
The project 'Piet Prestant' is offered by the SGO as an educative package to grade schools and organ committees. It’s best to use the project in an old church with a historical organ; there’s much more for the children to see and hear. Moreover, the children are then exposed not only to the instrument itself, but also to other aspects of a rich (church-)cultural heritage, with which they are often scarcely familiar, if at all.
'Pijpen zoeken met Piet Prestant' is performed by: