Talk and demonstration by our President, Dr. Harry Bramma

Saturday, September 25th. at 2.30p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, Rectory Grove, SW4 0DZ, Clapham.

Our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, will speak on “My Life as a Cathedral Organist”. All welcome.  Some of our members will be involved by playing a hymn and a short organ piece.  Harry was one time Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral.  Members of the Enfield and District Association will be joining us.

Demonstration & Masterclass on organ music of the Grand Siècle by Norman Harper

Christ’s Chapel, Dulwich Village on Saturday 16 October at 2.30 pm

More Information here…

Introducing the Organ

The SSLSO is pleased to announce the return of its Introducing the Organ scheme for 2021/22.

Please click on the image for more information.


For the latest Society Events, please see here:

Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter September 4th, 2021

From the Chair of the Southwark and South London Society of Organists, John Webber

At last we are reaching the stage where church music is starting back after rules have eased and as the holiday period, for some of us, comes to an end and the teaching year begins.  Everyone is welcome to our events, including non-members.  Do make yourself known to us if you are not a regular attender of our events.

Later today, you will receive a copy of the Bromley and Croydon’s latest letter.  There will inevitably be a little overlap, but heigh ho, good to know twice!

Saturday, September 25th. at 2.30p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, Rectory Grove, SW4 0DZ, Clapham – our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, will speak on “My Life as a Cathedral Organist”. All welcome.  Some of our members will be involved by playing a hymn and a short organ piece.  Harry was one time Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral.  Members of the Enfield and District Association will be joining us.

Saturday, October 9th. at 6.30 for 7.00p.m. at Brasserie Blanc, 119 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1PP – annual dinner, with guest speaker Katy Silverman, Director of Music at St. Mary’s, Battersea.  Minimum price £40.  We shall have more information o this soon and a separate e-mail will go out. 

Saturday, October 16th. at 2.30p.m. – a session on French baroque music led by Norman Harper at Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village, which is next to Dulwich Picture Gallery.  Bus P4 passes the Chapel and routes 3, 37, 42 and P13 are half a mile away.  The nearest station is West Dulwich (Victoria line to Orpington).

Wednesday, November 24th. from 7.30p.m. – informal social.  Details available.

Saturday, January 15th, 2022 – Education Day (afternoon) with Anna Lapwood at St. John’s, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT – this will be a highlight of our programme for next year and a joint event with the Bromley and Croydon Association.  Anna is based at Pembroke College, Cambridge and a regular broadcaster.  She will give a short organ recital and will be presenting awards to winners of the bursary schemes to members of both societies.  A masterclass will take place with some or all of the award candidates involved.   There will be an interview with Anna, conducted by our member Charlie Warren, who was at Oxford at the same time as Anna.   Anna will be playing the solo part of the Organ Symphony by Camille Saint-Saëns in the Prom on Tuesday, September 7th. at the Royal Albert Hall.  This will be the third item in a programme which will begin at 7.30p.m.Do listen on Radio 3!  

Saturday, February 19th. at 2.30p.m. – composite organ recital at Penge Congregational Church.  You will be invited to submit a piece to play; this year we shall have a time limit for pieces, so don’t go for the musical equivalent of “War and Peace”, please!

Monday, March 14th – AGM at St. Stephen’s, Norbury and Thornton Heath.  After the formalities, Barry Williams will speak on the legal aspects of conditions of employment for organists and directors of music, as well as on performing rights.  These are not dry-as-dust topics, as some people in our area have been adversely affected by what many will see as unfair dismissal (in a time of pandemic).

Friday to Tuesday, April 1st. to 5th  – trip to the Netherlands.  Our member Pieter Shaw has put a great programme together.  There will be a chance to try various instruments and to enjoy a relaxed visit, when the local food can be appreciated.  The final place has now been taken and there is a party of nine going.

Other news:

Our Secretary, Andrew Chadney, is this weekend setting off on a long journey: he says: “As you may know I have completed several charity bike rides over the last few years. This year I will be taking part in the ‘Deloittes Ride Across Britain’ in September. This is from Land’s End to John o’Groats in 9 days. I am hoping to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.” https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-chadney6

Psalms, Psinging and Psandwiches: from me, at my Church: come and explore psalmody at St. John’s, East Dulwich, SE22 9AT on Saturday, October 2nd. from 10.00a.m. to 3.30p.m.  All welcome!  A study of the Book of Psalms, with a chance to sing many.  The day will feature speakers from Reading, Bedford and Gloucestershire.  Sandwich lunch provided.  This is a regional day of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  Tickets are now available: in advance £10: https://tinyurl.com/psalmspp; £12 on the door; £5 livestream https://tinyurl.com/psalmsppls   For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/340249407624276  

Congratulations are due to three SSLSO members: Alan Langridge is now able to use ARCO after his name!  Sam and Geremia also passed CAM 3 and CAM 1 respectively; it’s pretty unusual for father and son to pass exams at the same time.  (CAM is the RCO Certificate of Accredited Membership.)  Congratulations also to their teacher, Marilyn Harper, who also put in an extraordinary amount of work to support them.  In Marilyn’s words: “Nice to have things to celebrate!”   Quite…..

Education scheme: this is getting under way, thanks to Charlie Warren.  Please see the details on our Education Initiative page here and use this form if you would like to apply.

Recitals: Richard Pilliner will be pleased to include news of recitals (organ, but we can accommodate choral and instrumental too) in his monthly Recital Round Up.  Contact him on directly by email, or use our general contact form. Please give name of player(s), date, venue and, if possible, the programme of music.  If there is a charge, it is helpful to know in advance.

From the Bexley and District Association: our member Norman Harper is giving a recital at St. John’s, Sidcup, Church Road, DA14 6BX on Saturday, October 30th. at 7.30p.m.  There is an admission charge.  Richard will let you know more soon.

From Nigel Groome: From September Choral Evensong will be sung each Wednesday at St Matthew’s Westminster beginning at 6.30pm. The service will include a four minute ‘thought for the evening’ and wine reception.

Wednesday 8th September (Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Speaker: Canon Jamie Hawkey (Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey) Music: Sumsion in G Ave Maria (Bruckner)

Wednesday 15th September Speaker: Malcolm Archer (Composer) Music: Clifton Service (Archer) Give us the wings of faith (Bullock)  

Wednesday 22nd September Speaker: The Venerable Luke Millar SSC, (Archdeacon of London) Music: Noble in B minor How lovely are thy dwellings fair (Brahms)  

Wednesday 29th September (Michaelmas) Speaker: Clive Marriott (Head Master, Salisbury Cathedral School) Music: Wood in E flat (No 2) Factum est silentium (Dering)

There will also be a series of chamber music concerts at St. Matthew’s on certain Saturdays; do google their website.

Christ Church Sutton: from the Vicar of Christ Church, in Sutton.

We’re a small-medium size church (approx 60-70 on a Sunday morning) in the low church/evangelical tradition. For a bit more flavour of our church, our website is here

In recent months we have been fortunate to have an organ donated to us by St Paul’s Stoneleigh. The organ is already sounding good, but we are shortly going to be improving it-  with upgrades to the electronic console, amplification, and speakers in the next few months. 

We’re hoping to have the organ used regularly in our worship from the autumn. At the moment we envisage it would be used twice a month, for all four hymns. Of course we’d be happy to pay a competitive fee.

I’m emailing in case you, or someone you know, might consider taking on a regular (perhaps once, perhaps twice a month) booking to play at our 10.30am service. If you’d be interested, please do respond, and please do feel free to forward this to others.

The precise timing of when this would start is unclear- not least because I’ll be on sabbatical for six weeks from the start of September. 

Thanks for reading- it would be great to hear from you. 

Kind regards, Phil.

Revd Phil Brooks. (Please note my usual rest day is Saturday.)

Vicar, Christ Church, Sutton

The Vicarage, 14C Christchurch Park, SM2 5TN


All good wishes in your musical and other endeavours; the next letter will be on October 6th. and you are welcome to be in touch with your observations and any news.


Richard’s Recital Round-up   April, 2021

Hello Folks,

Here, at long last, is something that should concentrate your minds wonderfully!

Something for everybody, I hope

Trust you are all surviving during the gloom..


 “Six Sixes” from Ripon Cathedral with Tim Harper – organ

From our member Norman Harper:  Here is a series of links to Tim Harper’s recent online organ recital series from Ripon Cathedral. As many of you know, Tim is the younger son of Marilyn and Norman, and he is assistant director of music at the cathedral. The organ is a very fine 4-manual Lewis rebuilt by Harrison, and in these performances you get to hear it in all its grandeur and variety.

As the opening caption tells you, Tim is playing groups of works which come in collections of six: Bach Trio sonatas & Schübler chorales, Mendelssohn Sonatas, Howells Six Pieces, John Joubert Hymn-tune preludes for chamber organ and Vierne Symphonies – just the Final movements this time round!

The first recital contains all the ones, then the second all the twos etc etc.

The mobile console is on view most of the time, and is positioned variously in the choir stalls and the nave, so we see some of the building and quite a lot of candle-light. Enjoy!

Link to the Ones
Link to the Twos
Link to the Threes
Link to the Fours
Link to the Fives
Link to the Sixes


Recital Series at St. John’s, East Dulwich, 2021

May 22ndIrene Wolstenholme (South London)


  1.  JS Bach (1685-1750)
    • Toccata and Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
    • Schmüke dich, o liebe Seele BWV 654
  2.  Maurice Greene (1696-1755)
    • Voluntary for Full Organ
    • A 1st Voluntary in G major
  3.  Rebecca Groom te Velde (b.1956)
    • Song 13 – Chorale prelude
    • Easter Song – Trumpet tune
  4.  R Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
    • Prelude on Rhosymedre
  5.  JS Bach
    • Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 533
June 19thMarcus Wibberley (St. George’s, Beckenham)
July 10thBridget West (South London)
September 18thMichael Overbury (Newark, Nottinghamshire)
October 9thMichel Szostak (Poland)
November 6thPaul Gobey (Rotherhithe)

Church of St. John the Evangelist, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT
Saturdays at 11.00a.m, followed by coffee and tea. Admission free; retiring collection. Music lasts about forty minutes.

Organ Recitals 2021 at St. Alphage, Edgware

St. Alphage

Montrose Avenue, Burnt Oak, Edgware

Middlesex. HA8 0DN

Organ built 2002 by B.C. Shepherd & Sons incorporating Father Willis pipes from 1857


International Organ Series 2021 at St. John the Evangelist

St. John the Evangelist

Duncan Terrace, Islington N1 8AL

Saturdays at 7:30pm

Organ by J W Walker 1963

Favourite Organs – August 2020

Hello Folks,

I have great pleasure in launching the first in our ‘favourite organ’ series, here (and see the accompanying specification here).

Our true and trusty chairman, John Webber, and committee member Norman Harper have opened a window into their favourite instruments, and Norman has included mp3 recordings of part of a recital that he gave at King’s College, Cambridge: Tranchell and Reger.

These two offerings are full of interest and I hope some more of you will come forward with some news and views of your favourite organs, to share with members of the society in September/October.

I also welcome news of forthcoming recitals and their programmes.



Prior Newsletters

Newsletter June 9th, 2021

Newsletter May 1st, 2021

Newsletter April 3rd, 2021

Newsletter March 6th, 2021

Newsletter February 6th, 2021

Newsletter January 9th, 2021

Newsletter November 28th, 2020

Newsletter October 31st, 2020

Newsletter September 27th, 2020

Richard’s Recital Round-up, July 2020

Newsletter August 29th, 2020

Newsletter July 30th, 2020

Newsletter July 2nd, 2020

Newsletter June 2020

Newsletter May 2020

Notification of Society Events in 2021

Committee member Bridget has put together the entire programme of events for 2021. Enlarge and download (if you wish) click on the image. As you will see there are number of new event  taking place in forthcoming year. Further information will be emailed to you nearer the time of the event.


Recent Events and Notices

AGM, Monday March 15th at 7:30pm  Our AGM will take place on Monday 15th via Zoom commencing at 7.30 with Alisdair Friend playing some music to demonstrate the organ at St John’s, East Dulwich.  Please see the agenda here.

Sunday, November 15th  A recital in the Mexican Festival of Baroque Organs by our former Chair, Marilyn Harper, broadcast on YouTube. The link is here (or click the photo).  Marilyn writes:   “The Mexican organs are well worth hearing, and spectacular to look at. The first recital is given by Gustavo Delgado Parra, the organiser, and the second by him and his wife Ofelia. Explanations as to how the organs work and have been restored are given in Spanish but the gist can be gleaned. The temperaments are far more extreme than the chapel organ so by the time you hear the Dulwich organ it will sound as smooth as a calm lake!  Please give it a thumbs up! Thanks!”

Saturday, October 17th   Following two highly successful online events over the summer, we had a discussion (on Zoom) on choral aspects of the work of church musicians. Members were invited to talk about their experience of running church choirs and singing groups, musical repertoire, recruitment, mixed ability (and ages) within choirs, and how they and their churches have managed recently. All SSLSO members received a link to join the discussion and members of other local societies were also invited to join if they wished. A note of the event is here.

On Saturday 6th June an online meeting, entirely informal in nature, was offered as a substitute for the day-trip to Thaxted and Saffron Walden parish churches, which sadly had to be postponed for the usual current reasons. A real shame, as the two towns and churches are very attractive, and in fine weather are glorious to behold. The organs, of course, are very special.

So instead, all members were sent a message via email, asking if they would like an invitation and link to take part in Saturday evening’s  meeting, which took place using the zoom app.  Please find a note of the meeting here.

Saturday 23rd May saw our former Chair, Marilyn Harper, lead the Keyboard Skills workshop. This was the Society’s first virtual event, hosted over zoom with four participants and seven observers. Keyboard skills, including transposition, figured bass, sight reading and improvisation are core elements of the three Royal College of Organists’ diplomas. Marilyn recommended starting young if possible! Indeed two of the workshop participants were among our younger members, Ben (aged 11) and Joe (aged 15). Marilyn started the workshop looking at exercises from the books written jointly by Anne Marsden Thomas and Frederick Stocken, Graded Keyboard Musicianship, which she thoroughly recommended. Published in two volumes by Oxford University Press, these provide 5 “lessons” at each of 8 “levels”. Each lesson covers Figured bass, Score Reading, Harmonising a Melody, Transposing and Improvising. Ben and Joe performed admirably, realizing the given chord sequences for figured bass, adding them for harmonization, and transposing melodies up and down a tone. Sight reading followed, which was accomplished equally as well. Next, Alan and Robert looked at transposing a four part hymn tune up or down by one or two semitones, which is a requirement for both the Colleague Diploma (CRCO) and Associateship Diploma (ARCO). Marilyn recommended working through the Hanon studies in different keys, to build up technique skills in transposition, and using a metronome for practice – always count in, and start at a slow tempo and work your way up. The workshop concluded with a discussion over zoom among all present, and we of course expressed our gratitude to Marilyn for a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful workshop.

SSLSO Improvisation Master Class has been created by Norman  Harper for you to self learn. Improvisation is something everyone can do.  Follow this link to get more information about this course and access to five short videos to help you.

Summary of the Society’s activities

These two inserts describe the activities of the Society – click to enlarge