Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter October 6th, 2021

From the Chair of the Society, John Webber:

Everything seems madly busy at the moment, as postponed events are now coming thick and fast, alongside the weekly cycle of services and rehearsals.

Recent event:

Our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, spoke to members of SSLSO and friends from other local groups on September 25th. at St. Paul’s, Clapham. The subject was “My Life as a Cathedral Organist”, relating principally to Harry’s time at Southwark Cathedral from 1976 to 1989. Before then he was assistant at Worcester. Some of our members played a hymn and an organ piece as part of the event: Sam Gover, Charlie Warren and our host at St. Paul’s, Alan Saggerson. Thanks are due to Alan for his thoroughness in preparing for the day with useful information about the church and the music played. Secondhand organ music was also made available.


From Peter Ramell: “There will be a memorial service on 30 October for Michael Beer, our (SSLSO) member, who sadly died in February 2020.”

Peter received this from George Baker: “I wrote to you last year to inform you that Michael Beer died on 22 February after a short illness. Initially it was planned to hold a memorial service in March 2020 but, sadly, this had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent restrictions. We have now rescheduled the memorial service for Michael for at 12:00 on Saturday 30 October 2021 at the Honor Oak Christian Fellowship. Following the memorial service, refreshments will be provided. All friends and acquaintances of Michael are warmly invited to attend. The Honor Oak Christian Fellowship is at 39 Honor Oak Road, London SE23 3SH. It is on the P4 bus route with the nearest stop being Fairlawn School. The P12 bus also stops nearby. The church is also 10 Minutes’ walk from Honor Oak Railway Station.”

Robert Prizeman RIP

We heard the very sad news that Robert Prizeman had died following a short illness. Robert was a superb choir-trainer, famous for his excellent choir at St Philip’s Church, Norbury and for the concert choir Libera. He was also a BBC producer and the composer of the Songs of Praise signature tune. Here is an obituary from Libera.

Forthcoming events:

Our immediate gathering will be for the annual dinner this Saturday, October 9th. in Central London, which will be attended by nearer thirty than twenty members. Details will have been sent out in the last few days by our member Peter Smith.

October 16th: Norman Harper be will discussing French baroque organ music at Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village. Let him know pretty quickly if you want to attend, either as a player on observer – please use our Contact Form.

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 the 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.

Saturday, February 19th. at 2.30p.m. – composite organ recital at Penge Congregational Church

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).

The social on November 24th is not happening now. The visit to The Netherlands from April 1st. to 5th. is fully booked and nine people will be travelling. Other events are being planned for next year and a calendar will be sent out in good time.

Recitals and links to events:

Do let Richard Pilliner know of forthcoming recitals – use this form.

Two items from Marilyn Harper:

1. “(Here we have) Tim Harper, Assistant Director of Music, on the Harrison & Harrison Organ – 7th recital – YouTube. Here is the latest offering from Ripon for the Association/ Society. It is a programme which ticks all the boxes and entertains at the same time. The cameras have been relocated to give the best view of the player.” Click here.

2. ORGANpromotion – 1st International Organ Week in the Archdiocese of Paderborn 10-17 October 2021 here.

From Matthew Young, the Kent County Organists’ Association Hon. Secretary has sent details of their forthcoming events.

As you know, local Associations are always pleased to welcome members of neighbouring Associations to their meetings – just contact the Association Secretary beforehand so that they know to expect you.

Forthcoming KCOA Events

The unpredictable course of the Covid pandemic, and the associated rules, has made long-term planning liable to change at short notice but here is what we have arranged so far:

Saturday 9th October 2.0pm – KCOA tour of Mander Organs new workshop, followed by tea

Please notify KCOA Secretary, Matthew Young, by Monday 4th October at the latest if you would like to stay for tea after the visit


Church Lane, West Stourmouth, Canterbury, CT3 1HT.

How to get there

Directions from Wingham – take the Preston Hill through Preston and then turn left at Church Lane, West Stourmouth.

Directions from Ramsgate Road (A253)- take the Gore Street road between Sarre & Monkton, through Pluck Gutter, turning sharp right at end of Stourmouth village (It’s very easy to miss this!)

Directions from A28 Upstreet – take the Grove Ferry Hill road, turning left into Grove Ferry Road towards Preston, and then Left towards Stourmouth.

Parking is available in workshop grounds, or just outside next to Church – Please note that the area around are working farms using large vehicles!

14.00 – Welcome and short talk.

14.30 – Tour of workshop and work in progress with short recital on chamber instrument.

15.30 – Chance to view archive material and adjoining church.

16.00 onwards: Tea. Please note, we are unable to provide seating for all, please bring a fold up chair if possible! Numbers for tea are needed by Monday 4th October.

Saturday 20th November – Visit to Newington and St Leonard’s Hythe

2022 January – TBA

February – TBA

Saturday 19th March – Organ Competition – All Saints, Maidstone

April – London churches

Saturday 14th May – Hastings. St Clement’s and All Saints (where their organ has undergone a thorough cleaning and restoration).

June – Coach trip. We hope to replace last year’s cancelled outing to Enfield and Bedford but changes in personnel at some churches means that details are still to be arranged.

July – AGM

St. John’s, East Dulwich, SE22 9AT on Saturdays at 11.00a.m:

October 9th. (i.e. this weekend) – I am playing music by Vivaldi / Bach, Karg-Elert, Martin How and Dubois (replacing someone now unavailable)

November 6th. – Paul Gobey (one of our members, based at Rotherhithe).

St. John’s, Upper Norwood:

We invite members to see the appeal from St. John’s, Upper Norwood. This organ is well known and well used for recitals as well as regular services.

The next newsletter will be on November 3rd. You are welcome to send anything to be included, whether a member of SSLSO or not. I look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday at the annual dinner.

Good wishes,


John Webber