Belfast Telegraph

Biker organist all revved up to play dozen churches in 12 hours

By Adrian Rutherford

A church organist is aiming to play 12 concerts on 12 cathedral organs across Northern Ireland in a single day.

Musician and biker Elise Crean from Armagh will be taken around the country on a powerful motorcycle piloted by her husband Dessie Moorcroft.

The 12-venue, 270-mile fundraising dash is scheduled for July 21.

Bike enthusiast Elise, who is the resident organist in First Armagh Presbyterian Church, is aiming to raise money towards the £70,000 required to rebuild the church's historic organ.

"This may be the first time a church organist has been seen in motorcycle gear and I am hoping that a combination of curiosity and generosity will help generate audiences for each concert," she said.

The marathon music day will span 14 hours and take in all six counties of Northern Ireland.

It has an early start - the first concert is scheduled for 7am at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh.

Next it is on to the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Colman in Newry, Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity in Downpatrick and then Dromore Cathedral.

By 11.15am Elise is due to reach Lisburn Cathedral, before travelling to Belfast where she will play at St Anne's Cathedral and St Peter's Cathedral. Then the couple face a dash to the north-west for two concerts in Londonderry - first at St Columb's Cathedral, then at St Eugene's Cathedral.

By 6.40pm Elise hopes to have reached Co Fermanagh, with a concert scheduled for St Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen.

The final two stops are at St Macartan's Cathedral in Clogher, Co Tyrone, with the mission ending at 9pm back in Armagh at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral.

Elise explained that her day has been carefully planned out.

"Each stop will be exactly 30 minutes long," she added. "We have to stick very strictly to the schedule so that we can complete the round trip through each of the six counties on time."

Elise will be playing a programme of favourites from across the centuries.

These include Purcell's Trumpet Tune, Pachelbel's Canon in D, Elgar's Nimrod (from Enigma Variations) and Karg-Elert's Nun danket alle Gott.

Each concert will also feature an organ and bagpipe duet of Highland Cathedral.

Fundraising details are www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/firstarmaghorgan

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