Welcome and I wish you a Happy Easter!
March 15th. – our AGM. A summing up of the last year, which had several beneficial sessions online and we increased our links with other local societies. The Committee said “thank you” and “farewell” to Lionel Bourne and Ashley Valentine; we welcome Charlie Warren (a younger member, one time organ scholar of Merton College, Oxford and now living in Upper Norwood).
March 25th. – six of our members attended an online presentation by John Norman, organised by the Enfield and District Organists’ Association. I thought that SSLSO members would like to know more. John’s latest book is called “What is an organ and how does it work?” He trained with Hill Norman and Beard and his father, Herbert Norman, was well known in organ building circles. We saw slides of some organs which John Norman had worked on, including Brisbane Cathedral, The Royal College of Organists, St. Mark’s, Portsmouth and Hambleden Church (Hampshire). John left organ building for IBM; when he retired from them, he became a member of various church and musical bodies, becoming organ consultant for sixteen new organs, including those at the Palace of Westminster, St. Mary-le-Bow and Worcester Cathedral. His latest book includes chapters on “What is an organ?”, the history of the instrument, matching the organ to its building (quote: “the building is the most important stop”), tonal structure, different types of pipes and what they do, voicing and tuning, a glossary of stop names, what an organ looks like, the console, key action and stop action. Thank you to Michael Hennin and Rosemary Knight for the invitation.
Saturday, May 15th. – SSLSO quiz at 7.30p.m. We have questions from four members and all are invited to log in from 7.20p.m. We’ll have an interval, during which our distinguished member Peter Wright will tell us about his recent temporary position as DoM of Ripon Cathedral. Most of you will know that Peter held this position in Southwark Cathedral from 1989 until recently.
Saturday, June 5th. – we are definitely going to see churches in Thaxted and Saffron Walden. More precise timing will be sent soon; we begin at Thaxted in the morning, hope to have lunch in the town (otherwise bring a packed lunch) and we are due at St. Mary’s, Saffron Walden at 2.30p.m.
2022 trip to The Netherlands
As announced in the last newsletter, we have spaces for three or four more for this visit, which will be from April 1st. to 5th. next year. Let me know if you are interested, even if only tentatively.
Singer available: Ronald Samm
There have been many funerals this year and this acclaimed local singer is available. Ian Shaw writes: “At St Laurence, Catford – where there are, sadly, rather more funerals than usual at present – the vicar, Fr Charles Pickstone, has been engaging the tenor RONALD SAMM as a soloist. Ron has proven a great success, with glowing comments from many families. His singing has lifted many spirits.
“Ron was born in Trinidad and has Gospel music in his blood. He also studied at Guildhall, RNCM and the National Opera Studio, and – until the pandemic – pursued a high-profile career in opera, concert and West End musicals. He was notably the first black man to sing the title role in Verdi’s ‘Otello’ in the UK. At recent funerals, Ron has sung the usual diet of hymns, gospel songs and pop ballads – for example, ‘Jesus is Love’ (Lionel Richie) or ‘Goodbye, my friend’ (Linda Ronstadt.) Oratorio is also in his core repertoire.
Ron’s website is www.ronaldsamm.com. To contact him or to book him (for a competitive fee), please email email@example.com.
Congratulations to Martin, who has recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday. He was RSCM Commissioner for the South of England for many years and in his retirement has continued to compose and to play the organ at Croydon Minster. The last issue of the RSCM’s magazine, CMQ, has an article from Martin about, of all things, piano technique. Well worth the read, if you have a copy and haven’t started on it yet.
Richard Shepherd RIP
Church music composer Richard Shepherd died on February 21st, aged just 71. He was a chorister in Gloucester as a treble and was associated for many years with Cambridge. In his last years he sang at York Minster and did much there behind the scenes.
Society of Women Organists
I have just joined this group – clearly it is open to both women and men! There are excellent female organists out there, as we all know, but the proportion of women to men in the organ world is shamefully inadequate. I encourage you to see Society of Women Organists This a lively group of people of all ages, active and with a good website to explain more.
These are now starting to be fixed. Do see our website (sslso.org.uk). I have a series at St. John’s, East Dulwich, including our members Irene Wolstenholme, Bridget West and Paul Gobey; this is listed on our website and elsewhere. To add to the list of recitals, do contact Sam Gover and Richard Pilliner, who are responsible for the website (Sam) and occasional e-mails listing recitals (Richard): firstname.lastname@example.org (Sam) and email@example.com
A hotch potch of things, as ever:
1. See here about these musical knives? Can you sing from them?
2. Music to hear, thanks for this link from our member Ian Clifford, who says: “You might enjoy this. It’s Carl Jackson, organist and DOM at Hampton Court Palace Chapel playing the Willis organ in Freemason’s Hall. What was amazing and lovely was that over 1100 people from all around the world were watching.
3. Thanks to Reg Boulton from the Bexley Association for sending this, which he received: “My name is Alan and I live in Dundee Scotland. I’m trying to spread the word as much as possible. I have written lyrics to a new hymn. “Praise To The King The Lord Of All We See” It was published only last month. The publisher snapped it up after only one week! It is an organ arrangement to Highland Cathedral the world famous iconic bagpipe tune. The piece was originally arranged without lyrics by organist Anthony Baldwin and can be heard here played on organ by Professor Winfried Bonig in Cologne Cathedral. It can also be heard played by Anthony here. The Cologne Cathedral one has almost 300,000 views to date. Anthony contacted me when he had heard I had written lyrics and he slightly altered his original version, heard on YouTube links, slightly to accommodate my lyrics. I hope you enjoy it. This is the first time I have ever written lyrics. If you manage to get a choir to sing it then please let me know. Because of Covid, it has never been sung before. If you do then please let me know beforehand ….all post Covid of course. It is available from the publisher here. My phone number is 07778674508. Regards, Alan Playfair Calder-McNicoll.
4. A weird one, this photo and article; it was sent to Reg by Michael Norman in the Bexley Society.
5. The strange language which we read and write (yet another offering from Bexley).
6. I hope that you feel sorry for this writer: “Oh, don’t you just love it when, hungry, weary and massively screened out, you record a whole session of a Lent course and then realise you never pressed “Record”. AARGH! Time for dinner, I think…[Later] Now that I’ve done it my computer is giving me the option “Stop converting” which would rather undermine the purpose of the Lent course.” Quote from Philip North, Bishop of Burnley.
7. Thanks to Bridget and Church Times for this link, with another priest to feel sorry for!
You are welcome to send me comments, suggestions, news and links for the next newsletter, which will be on May 1st.
Good wishes and hope to see many of you at the Zoom quiz and the Thaxted outing, if not sooner.