Southwark and South London Society of Organists newsletter July 30th, 2020

Another month nearly behind us!  Since last time, I have played for Sunday services for the last three weeks, so we are turning a corner; I hope that the playing organists amongst you are making progress?  It would be good to hear how various churches are doing.

Do see our website: for various information.  Sam, who maintains our website now, says: “If anyone wishes to contribute to the website – articles, useful links, lockdown recordings, in fact any relevant information of any kind – please send to [email protected].  Recordings may be sent via a service such as which can deal with the large file sizes.”

You’ll know that our meetings until the end of the year are cancelled, but we have two chances to meet on Zoom: Saturday, August 15th at 2.30p.m and Saturday, October 17th at 7.30p.m.  Details on the August meeting are below and the October one will (in part, at least) have a discussion on choral aspects of being an organist.  In the light of the planned closure of the current choir at Sheffield Cathedral and the professional choirs at two churches in Central London, there will be a lot to discuss…..quite apart from the ban on congregational singing (as opposed to having a cantor) in public worship currently.

Miscellaneous news, some serious and some not:

1. Peter Smith saw some shocking news about Manders, the organ builders: famous-organ-builder-goes-bust

2. I hope that you have responded to Richard Pilliner’s e-mail about your best loved pipe (or even non-pipe) organ.  If you have any recitals coming up (it’s going to happen soon!), do let Richard know, as he is planning to send out a “Recital Round Up” once that we have things to tell.

3. In that connection, please note that the intended organ recitals from September, October and November at Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village are cancelled until further notice.  When they restart, Marilyn Harper will let us know.

4. Ashley Valentine was involved in a project and wrote a brief operatic aria, which you can enjoy here; as well as the music, the filming is impressive.

5. The Hymn Society decide to have a “Hymn for the Day” during July; it had cancelled the annual conference and found this way to use the skills of many of its members.  All through the month, a new item has been added daily.  They have set a high bar with their offerings.

6. Peter Smith’s organ piece (sent last time) was based on the tune “Slane”, used for “Lord of all hopefulness”.

7. “Curiosity killed the cat” was first used by Ben Jonson (in answer to the question in the last newsletter).

8. Andrew Chadney sent this to various people, including someone in my church choir.  Something for the vestry notice board, perhaps?

9. Not very jolly, but this it’s informative.

10. This year’s graduation ceremonies (to say nothing of school end of year events) have been largely abandoned or postponed, but here is a moving way to deal with it from one college.

11. For your information, the BBC Proms are archive recordings until late August when, using reduced forces, live concerts will take place for two weeks.

12. A variation on a well-known theme: apparently it was written by the punk rocker Ian Dury:

Our Driver
Who art in Hendon
Holloway be Thy name
Thy Kingston come
Thy Wimbledon
In Erith as it is in Hendon
Give us this day our Berkhamstead
And forgive us our Westminsters
As we forgive those who Westminster against us
Lead us not into Temple Station
And deliver us for Ealing
For Thine is the Kingston, the Purley and the Crawley
For Iver and Iver.
Crouch End


SATURDAY, AUGUST 15th at 2.30p.m,  Zoom Meeting


Peter Smith will speak about the churches in Merton and Wimbledon which we had hoped to be seeing in September.  Join us for a discussion on Zoom; members will receive the link for this earlier in the same week. Suggested topics (others can be offered; please let me know in advance, on [email protected]

Have you had access to an organ (or piano) during the lockdown?
Have you had time to revise / relearn or even start new repertoire?
Has your church restarted Sunday services?
Are you using the organ..and for what (voluntaries, improvising)?
Have you had a cantor?

All good wishes, John