Trip to Thaxted and Saffron Walden, June 5th, 2021

See here!

Organ Scholar Vacancy – Church of the Holy Spirit, Clapham

There will shortly be a vacancy for an Organ Scholar at Church of the Holy Spirit in Narbonne Avenue  Clapham – see details here.

Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter May 1st, 2021

Future events:

Saturday, May 15th. at 7.30p.m. on Zoom: we are having a quiz, set by four members of the Society. No prizes; just for the fun of trying your skills and knowledge. During the evening, we shall hear from our member Peter Wright, until fairly recently the Director of Music at Southwark Anglican Cathedral. Peter is currently in charge of music at Ripon Cathedral on a temporary basis. We’ll send out the link to this event nearer the time; please aim to join us by 7.20p.m, so that we can start punctually.

Saturday, June 5th: this will be our first real outing to visit a group of Churches for well over a year. We shall be visiting three churches in Thaxted and Saffron Walden in Essex. Wonderfully comprehensive details are attached here and our hosts are going the extra mile to welcome us. We look forward to good numbers. Please let Norman Harper know if you are coming, preferably by May 29th, but come anyway if you miss the deadline.

August: we hope to have an outdoor lunchtime social occasion. More soon.

Saturday, September 25th. at 2.30p.m: at St. Paul’s Church, Clapham, our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, will talk about his life in church music.

Saturday, October 9th. at 6.30 for 7p.m: postponed annual meal. We hope to use our 2020 venue. The speaker will be Katy Silverman, Director of Music at St. Mary’s Church, Battersea, who has had an impressive start to her musical career.

Saturday, October 16th. at 2.30p.m: session on French baroque music, led by Norman Harper at Christ’s Chapel, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD.

Wednesday, November 24th. at 7.30p.m: social evening, when you can share and play music. This will be at a member’s house and details are available on request from me.

2022: our Committee has many plans for next year. One is an education day, to be led by Anna Lapwood (who was on television last night, introducing potential musicians of the year). Do see www.annalapwood.co.uk In the meantime, and you may also like to see this!

We hope to restart our bursary scheme either by January. Next year’s events will include a session on repertoire led by Vice Chair Richard Pilliner.

Recital Roundup: Richard recently sent members an exciting list of recitals over the next few months, at various venues, see here.  See below for the list of recitals at my Church in East Dulwich.

Winchester and District Association of Organists: they are currently part way through a group of talks on Tuesdays at 7.30p.m. Three are yet to come, with Barry Rose on June 8th. and David Hill on June 29th. Before them is one on “Contemporary Music and improvisation” on May 11th, given by our own Norman Harper. All invited: please request a link if you would like to join.

A couple of links:

1. The bells of Banff – a short diversion from organ music; peaceful and with beautiful photography.

2. Marilyn has demonstrated some of the keyboard instruments at Horniman’s Museum, at Forest Hill. Now here is Steven Devine, who demonstrates and describes instruments from there: “Hear it Live! Digital” – Steven Devine at the Horniman Part 1. Steven knew some of these instruments when he was based at the living museum of keyboard instruments at Finchcocks in deepest Kent. The collection there was split when Katrina and Richard Burnett retired and Horniman’s received some of the instruments. You can follow Steven on www.devinemusic.co.uk.

Many thanks to the able and hardworking Committee, who have been involved behind the scenes in putting our programme of events together.

I’ll send another newsletter in early June, probably on Wednesday 9th. Comments on this newsletter are welcome and do send anything which you may wish me to include. Let’s hope that we can enjoy the gradual route to a “new normal”!

Best Wishes,



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 22nd Irene 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 19th Marcus Wibberley (St. George’s, Beckenham)
July 10th Bridget West (South London)
September 18th Michael Overbury (Newark, Nottinghamshire)
October 9th Michel Szostak (Poland)
November 6th Paul 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 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