A restored British antique pipe organ will tonight herald the birth of Baby Jesus at the Maria Regina church in Marsa.

The organ, about 150 years old, was restored by engineer and musician Brian Bugeja over the past three years.

The church service will start at 11 p.m. with Frederick Scerri playing the organ.

Dion Buhagiar, Maestro di Cappella at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, described the work done by Mr Bugeja as “a miracle”.

“When one takes into account the fact that the first restorer who was asked to examine the organ had concluded it was only fit for the scrap heap, Mr Bugeja’s achievement gains in its stature,” Mro Buhagiar said.

The organ was the most complex instrument invented by humans. The bravura of any restorer was to attain the sensitive control between the performer and the sound source, Mro Buhagiar noted.

“Brian managed to change the organ’s mechanism from scratch, a complicated process that takes a genius to complete.

“People with such talent ought to be respected and given more incentives to showcase their skills,” he added.

Fr Paul Bugeja, Maria Regina parish priest, said the parishioners were extremely pleased with the way the instrument was brought to life.

When contacted, Mr Bugeja said when one took on such a challenge, one was amazed how craftsmen so many years ago managed to achieve such levels of virtuosity with the use of simple hand tools.

“It is important for an organ restorer to be also a musician to be able to hear with a sensitive ear so that he can voice the pipes. Such restoration is at times given to foreigners when locals need to thrive to retain their skills,” Mr Bugeja said.

The organ was made by the firm Frederick Rothwell of Harrow, London, which started out in business in 1858 and wound up in 1961.

Originally, the organ was at the Immaculate Conception church in Burnt Oak in London. It was bought for the Maria Regina church in 1982 by then parish priest Fr Valent Calleja.

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