Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter July 3rd, 2021

Suddenly life is busier – well, for me, anyway. As we await the next stage of events, hopefully with fewer restrictions, we are wondering whether singing in church can match the chanting of football crowds. Mind you, you can’t fit thousands into most churches. It would be nice to let more than six sing indoors, mind you……..

Before we get any further, here is some light relief: link

News of our members:

  1. Welcome to new member Norman Flower, who lives in Fulham. We hope to see Norman soon at some of our events, which are listed below.
  2. Marilyn Nicholson, who has so often welcomed the Society to Penge Congregational Church, will move to Scotland soon, to be nearer her family. She says “it was such a joy to me to spread the news of my beloved Lewis organ”. We wish Marilyn well and have fond memories of many composite recitals in Penge. Hopefully we can go again next year.

Bursary Project:

This will go ahead; in September we shall be inviting applications, then assessing successful applicants by late October. More information to come.

Future SSLSO events:

Saturday, August 14th. – summer social at the home of Timothy Byram-Wigfield, at his kind invitation. Tim lives in the Clapham-Stockwell area and I’ll give full details nearer the time. Arrival of members and their guests from 12.30p.m. There will be a small charge to cover costs and drinks will be provided. Please bring your own nibbles on this occasion, to help the Covid precautions. Do let me know if you will be coming as soon as you like, so that we can know how to cater.

Saturday, September 25th. – our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, will talk about his life as a cathedral organist. Harry was Director of Music at Southwark Anglican Cathedral from 1976-1989, having been Assistant at Worcester before. This will be at St. Paul’s Church, Clapham from 2.30p.m.

Saturday, October 9th. – this is the new date for our meal, which we had to cancel at the beginning of this year. We shall now be at Brasserie Blanc, 119 Chancery Lane (Fleet Street end), WC2A 1PP, 6.30 for 7.00p.m. The charge will be £40 or thereabouts. Please note the dates, but we shan’t take bookings until we have seen the new menu in September. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Katy Silverman, Director of Music at St. Mary’s, Battersea; we shall welcome Katy and her husband Matthew.

Saturday, October 16th. – Norman Harper will be giving a presentation on French baroque organ music. There will be suggestions on repertoire soon, so that members can prepare music to play on the day under Norman’s guidance. This will be from 2.30p.m. at Christ’s Chapel, next to the Picture Gallery in Dulwich Village. The organ is as close as we can get to a French sound in our area. Please let me know if you would like to attend.

Wednesday, November 24th. – this will be a relaxing evening at the home of one of our members. There will be an organ to play on, should you wish it. We’ll ask for numbers nearer the date and can tell you more then.

Also: we plan to visit Southwark Cathedral for a Monday lunchtime recital, hopefully in the autumn, when we’ll be allowed access to the console.

January 15th, 2022 – we have been extremely fortunate in getting Anna Lapwood, organist, choir trainer and broadcaster to be with us for our Education Day. Do visit Despite her young age, Anna has had a remarkable career since leaving Oxford and has presented BBC television’s Young Musician programmes and given recitals on Radio 3. This event will be jointly held with the Bromley and Croydon Association. Anna will give a short organ recital. She will also 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.

Monday, March 14th (2022). – 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 (2022) . – 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. There is space for one more person. Do let me know if you are interested.

Other plans for next year include a repertoire workshop with Richard Pilliner and a visit to churches in Merton and Wimbledon to be organised by Peter Smith.

Organ recitals:

  1. Please send news of dates, players and their programmes to Richard Pilliner for his Recital Round-Ups (or send via
  2. Our member Bridget West will be playing at St. John’s, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT next Saturday, July 10th. at 11.00a.m:
    • Three Pieces from Richard III — William Walton (1902-83)
    • Variations on “Est-ce Mars” — Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
    • Sonata VI in D minor — Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy(1809-47)
    • Vater Unser im Himmelreich: Chorale – Variations – Fuga – Finale from “Five Portraits for Home Organ” — William Lloyd Webber (1914-82)
    • Strength and Stay (A reflection on the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh) — Piers Maxim(b. 1968)
    • Fanfare for Nottingham — Naji Hakim (b. 1955)
  1. Tim Harper has had more fun on the organ of Ripon Cathedral: link This was from a live recital on June 24th. Marilyn Harper says: “The programme starts with a transcription by Marcel Dupre of Bach’s Cantata 146 , ‘ Wir mussen durch viel Trubsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen’, followed by repertoire by composers (including) Jeanne Demessieux, Edward Bairstow and ending with Percy Whitlock. If you like humour, watch for the moment when he leans across the console to push a stop in with his head!”

Psalms, Psinging and Psandwiches:

Saturday, October 2nd. – St. John’s, East Dulwich is putting on a day in which various ways of singing the Psalms are discussed, with (we hope) a chance to both hear and join in a fair bit of singing. This under the auspices of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. This will be a live event and also livestreamed. Tickets from Eventbrite from August. Everyone is welcome; please mention it to your friends. Please let me know if you are interested in attending. As the title suggests, lunch will be provided!

Good wishes; the next newsletter will be on August 3rd.