Double Screen success for Organ Animation

29 September 2011


‘Mechanical and magical
And marvellous and grand
The magic of the organ
Is not hard to understand’

Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s Education and Community team are celebrating successafter learning that an animated journey through the workings of Symphony Hall’sspectacular 6000-pipe organ, created by Digbeth-based animation company Second Home Studios , will be shown to the public in both Chicago and Birmingham next month.

The Mechanical Musical Marvel has been selected for screening at this year’s prestigious Chicago International Children’s Film Festival between 21 – 30 October 2011 and will also be shown on Birmingham’s BBC Big Screen in Victoria Square from 1 – 30 October 2011.

Commissioned by Town Hall and Symphony Hall (THSH), the animation was funded by the DMC McDonald Foundation and created by animator Chris Randall to a poem by Symphony Hall’s poet-in-residence Julie Boden, narrated by actress Lorna Laidlaw.

The Mechanical Musical Marvel is an educational tool to simply explain the inner workings of Symphony Hall’s pipe organ to children. As well as being available on-line, it will be used as the centrepiece for THSH’s Science of Sound Discovery Days which introduce Symphony Hall’s organ and stunning acoustics to Key Stage Two pupils in a fun and interactive way.

Amy Martin, Head of Education and Community at Town Hall and Symphony Hall, said “We’re thrilled the animation has been awarded the accolade of being screened both in Chicago and in Birmingham. The Symphony Organ plays an important role in our Education work and we needed a straightforward way to describe how it works. The animation uses 21st century techniques to explain an instrument steeped in history and tradition in a way that makes it engaging for today’s younger generation. The result is something unique and entertaining which will not only be a fantastic resource for us but can be used on-line by teachers.”

Chris Randall, from Second Home Studios, explains how the film was put together, “I collaborated closely with Julie (Boden) to devise a storyline and characters to explain the simple mechanical and musical principles behind this huge and powerful instrument. I worked with a superb team of animators from in and around Birmingham to realise the quirky characters and entertaining visual style I had in mind, to make the animation as visually interesting as possible. Julie Boden’s witty poetry, coupled with Lorna Laidlaw’s energetic voiceover and a specially composed soundtrack from Voodoo Kazoo, has made this a great project for Second Home Studios, and we’ve created a fascinating introduction to an interesting subject and city showpiece.”

View on-line here and