Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter September 4th, 2021

From the Chair of the Southwark and South London Society of Organists, John Webber

At last we are reaching the stage where church music is starting back after rules have eased and as the holiday period, for some of us, comes to an end and the teaching year begins.  Everyone is welcome to our events, including non-members.  Do make yourself known to us if you are not a regular attender of our events.

Later today, you will receive a copy of the Bromley and Croydon’s latest letter.  There will inevitably be a little overlap, but heigh ho, good to know twice!

Saturday, September 25th. at 2.30p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, Rectory Grove, SW4 0DZ, Clapham – our President, Dr. Harry Bramma, will speak on “My Life as a Cathedral Organist”. All welcome.  Some of our members will be involved by playing a hymn and a short organ piece.  Harry was one time Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral.  Members of the Enfield and District Association will be joining us.

Saturday, October 9th. at 6.30 for 7.00p.m. at Brasserie Blanc, 119 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1PP – annual dinner, with guest speaker Katy Silverman, Director of Music at St. Mary’s, Battersea.  Minimum price £40.  We shall have more information o this soon and a separate e-mail will go out. 

Saturday, October 16th. at 2.30p.m. – a session on French baroque music led by Norman Harper at Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village, which is next to Dulwich Picture Gallery.  Bus P4 passes the Chapel and routes 3, 37, 42 and P13 are half a mile away.  The nearest station is West Dulwich (Victoria line to Orpington).

Wednesday, November 24th. from 7.30p.m. – informal social.  Details available.

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 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.   Anna will be playing the solo part of the Organ Symphony by Camille Saint-Saëns in the Prom on Tuesday, September 7th. at the Royal Albert Hall.  This will be the third item in a programme which will begin at 7.30p.m.Do listen on Radio 3!  

Saturday, February 19th. at 2.30p.m. – composite organ recital at Penge Congregational Church.  You will be invited to submit a piece to play; this year we shall have a time limit for pieces, so don’t go for the musical equivalent of “War and Peace”, please!

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).

Friday to Tuesday, April 1st. to 5th  – 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.  The final place has now been taken and there is a party of nine going.

Other news:

Our Secretary, Andrew Chadney, is this weekend setting off on a long journey: he says: “As you may know I have completed several charity bike rides over the last few years. This year I will be taking part in the ‘Deloittes Ride Across Britain’ in September. This is from Land’s End to John o’Groats in 9 days. I am hoping to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.”

Psalms, Psinging and Psandwiches: from me, at my Church: come and explore psalmody at St. John’s, East Dulwich, SE22 9AT on Saturday, October 2nd. from 10.00a.m. to 3.30p.m.  All welcome!  A study of the Book of Psalms, with a chance to sing many.  The day will feature speakers from Reading, Bedford and Gloucestershire.  Sandwich lunch provided.  This is a regional day of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  Tickets are now available: in advance £10:; £12 on the door; £5 livestream   For more information, go to  

Congratulations are due to three SSLSO members: Alan Langridge is now able to use ARCO after his name!  Sam and Geremia also passed CAM 3 and CAM 1 respectively; it’s pretty unusual for father and son to pass exams at the same time.  (CAM is the RCO Certificate of Accredited Membership.)  Congratulations also to their teacher, Marilyn Harper, who also put in an extraordinary amount of work to support them.  In Marilyn’s words: “Nice to have things to celebrate!”   Quite…..

Education scheme: this is getting under way, thanks to Charlie Warren.  Please see the details on our Education Initiative page here and use this form if you would like to apply.

Recitals: Richard Pilliner will be pleased to include news of recitals (organ, but we can accommodate choral and instrumental too) in his monthly Recital Round Up.  Contact him on directly by email, or use our general contact form. Please give name of player(s), date, venue and, if possible, the programme of music.  If there is a charge, it is helpful to know in advance.

From the Bexley and District Association: our member Norman Harper is giving a recital at St. John’s, Sidcup, Church Road, DA14 6BX on Saturday, October 30th. at 7.30p.m.  There is an admission charge.  Richard will let you know more soon.

From Nigel Groome: From September Choral Evensong will be sung each Wednesday at St Matthew’s Westminster beginning at 6.30pm. The service will include a four minute ‘thought for the evening’ and wine reception.

Wednesday 8th September (Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Speaker: Canon Jamie Hawkey (Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey) Music: Sumsion in G Ave Maria (Bruckner)

Wednesday 15th September Speaker: Malcolm Archer (Composer) Music: Clifton Service (Archer) Give us the wings of faith (Bullock)  

Wednesday 22nd September Speaker: The Venerable Luke Millar SSC, (Archdeacon of London) Music: Noble in B minor How lovely are thy dwellings fair (Brahms)  

Wednesday 29th September (Michaelmas) Speaker: Clive Marriott (Head Master, Salisbury Cathedral School) Music: Wood in E flat (No 2) Factum est silentium (Dering)

There will also be a series of chamber music concerts at St. Matthew’s on certain Saturdays; do google their website.

Christ Church Sutton: from the Vicar of Christ Church, in Sutton.

We’re a small-medium size church (approx 60-70 on a Sunday morning) in the low church/evangelical tradition. For a bit more flavour of our church, our website is here

In recent months we have been fortunate to have an organ donated to us by St Paul’s Stoneleigh. The organ is already sounding good, but we are shortly going to be improving it-  with upgrades to the electronic console, amplification, and speakers in the next few months. 

We’re hoping to have the organ used regularly in our worship from the autumn. At the moment we envisage it would be used twice a month, for all four hymns. Of course we’d be happy to pay a competitive fee.

I’m emailing in case you, or someone you know, might consider taking on a regular (perhaps once, perhaps twice a month) booking to play at our 10.30am service. If you’d be interested, please do respond, and please do feel free to forward this to others.

The precise timing of when this would start is unclear- not least because I’ll be on sabbatical for six weeks from the start of September. 

Thanks for reading- it would be great to hear from you. 

Kind regards, Phil.

Revd Phil Brooks. (Please note my usual rest day is Saturday.)

Vicar, Christ Church, Sutton

The Vicarage, 14C Christchurch Park, SM2 5TN

All good wishes in your musical and other endeavours; the next letter will be on October 6th. and you are welcome to be in touch with your observations and any news.