Southwark and South London Society of Organists newsletter May 12th, 2020

Good to be in touch!  Thanks to members and to the organisation of our Committee, I now have the privilege to chair SSLSO, with the particular support of Richard Pilliner (Vice-Chair), Andrew Chadney (Secretary) and Peter Ramell (Treasurer).  Peter is also Membership Secretary.  The Committee will have its next meeting by Zoom on June 28th.  Let me know if you’d like anything brought to our attention.  The Committee is hugely talented and we did have great plans for the rest of the year, so hopefully some will be able to take place!

I’ll now be sending out a newsletter every month, possibly more often.  (Occasionally colleagues will send it out.)  It will contain a mix of news and information, plus other things which may crop up, such as links, some less serious than others.  Andrew and Peter will send out messages relevant to their roles and Richard will send out a “recital round up”, once that that the phrase has a meaning once more.  Newsletters will go out to a representative of three other local societies and they will keep us on their missives.  You are invited to send items to any of us, for inclusion in our e-mails.  I’d prefer links to attachments, please.

Do please visit our website:  Our thanks have already been recorded to Martin Callingham for maintaining the site and he is rightly stepping back after a long time.   You can see articles by members Marilyn Harper and David Wakefield, plus recordings of sixty organ pieces.  The home page lists plans for the rest of 2020.  The Royal College of Organists and the Royal School of Church Music are sending weekly e-mails, to which non-members can have free access at present.  I recommend that you look at these, as there is much on offer, not only musical advice and “webinars” on offer, but the RCO is providing news about access to organs in churches during the current pandemic.

I have attached a quiz; nobody has to do it and there are no prizes; it’s just for fun, especially while many people have extra time available!  The answers will go out in the next newsletter, in three or four weeks’ time.

The next three meetings:

Andrew has been in touch about May 23rd, so do respond if you are interested;

for June 6th. there is a proposed outing to North Essex, which Norman Harper is still checking out, so we’ll come back o that;

on July 4th. Richard Pilliner will do a session for us either in Penge or by Zoom, so that’s something else to let you know about.

From the newsletter of the Bexley and District Association:

From the Parish of Friern Barnet’s Dictionary of Musical Terms:

  • Anon – composer of many 16th. century anthems, sometimes wrongly attributes to Tallis, Byrd, etc.
  • Bridal March – Signature tune to Horse of the Year Show.
  • Chant – old English spelling of “can’t”, which is what the choir say when asked to do it.
  • Descant – one of two nuisances in church, the other being pigeons.  A descant is a disagreement between choir and congregation about how the music goes.
  • Great organ – British version of “fine instrument” known in America as “swell organ”.
  • Ground Bass – what you might call a “basso profundo” after being run over by a steam roller.
  • Handel’s Largo – 18th. century great German taste for the great British thirst
  • Handel’s “Messiah” – lesser known Prelude to the “Hallelujah” chorus.

(There is more…..)

And, as SW4 is part of our patch, here is one solution to the limerick which Bexley members were invited to complete:

There once was an organist from Clapham
Whose choir thinks she’s a bit of a madam.
The sops she berated,
The tenors she slated.
As they often sang flat in the anthem.

(From Lydia Gray)

Some links to see:

You are welcome to respond or to generally keep in touch.

With good wishes,


John Webber