Shamrock Chapel & Belle Vue Function Hall

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Shamrock Chapel & Belle Vue Function Hall

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A few years ago, a project was started in the Netherlands where individuals decided to build an organ. But it was not an ordinary project. They had a dream. This dream was to bring people together with the authentic sounds of a pipe organ. People gave their time, energy and expertise to build an organ and concert room. Their dream was to, through the income of concerts, bring hope and dignity to those in need. Today, this is not a dream anymore.

Back in 1814 a number of farms were allocated to Afrikaner and British settlers in the lower Sundays River valley in the Eastern Cape. James Kirkwood, an auctioneer from Port Elizabeth, bought one of these farms in 1877. He formed a company also with a dream: irrigating the valley and making the area a centre of agriculture. Years later, this dream became a reality when an irrigation scheme was begun, and the Kirkwood and Addo region became one of South Africa’s major citrus producers.

Off the R366 connecting these towns, is the small farming village of Sunland. It was the world of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and his Staffordshire bull terrier, Jock. It was here where the Coetzee family, over four generations, acquired farms in the district. Geluk Boerdery ("happiness") is a working citrus and cattle farm, where Lukas G. Coetzee is currently the farm and operational manager. One of these farms is Shamrock which the Coetzees bought from a British family. The Shamrock homestead was built in the 1920’s, but had to be evacuated due to a natural fault line which made the house unsafe to live in. Due to the sentimental value of the property, Coetzee decided to reclaim all usable material from the homestead, and to build a chapel at Dassiekruin, a piece of mountain land overlooking the Sundays River Valley, in memory of his grandparents.

Through the mutual love of organ music, Coetzee teamed up with organist Johan D. Strydom, and started to develop plans for the bringing about of a chapel and an instrument for the space. The idea of the Shamrock Chapel, as it is now named, was born out of a vision when preliminary research was done on the establishment and underlining of the importance of music, and of the education of church organists in South Africa.

The shamrock was used by Saint Patrick to demonstrate the Christian doctrine of Trinity.

Thus a new dream was born to bring people together with music.

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