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

From the Chair of the Society, John Webber:

Another month, another newsletter – lots of items this time.


Michael Beer – Michael was a former member of the Society. Sadly he died a while back and the proposed Memorial Service was finally able to take place last Saturday. Our members Richard Pilliner and Nicky Jones, plus Nicky’s wife Penny, were able to attend.

Charlie Warren, our newest Committee member, has been appointed Director of Music at St. George’s, Beckenham. This is a very exciting post and Charlie will be well suited to it. We send our congratulations!

Alex Migale – welcome to our most recent member. Alex is a drummer and pianist, new to organ playing. He has kindly been given the chance to practise at St. Giles’s Church, Camberwell and is having organ tuition with Marilyn Harper.

Winners of the Award / Bursary Scheme – four young people have been awarded bursaries:

  • Björn Sommergyll used to play the keyboard in the end of term ensembles at Southwark Music Services;
  • Kenn-Ryan Kouadio-Amalaman used to play guitar and is in a choir;
  • Anna Peacock plays the flute at grade 6 level, she’s in a flute ensemble and will be joining an orchestra;
  • Joshua Aladesuru plays the guitar and the bass guitar. He’s never had organ lessons before.

Thanks to Charlie for the work involved behind the scenes in preparing for these bursaries.

Recent events:

October 9th. – the annual dinner was well supported (about 27 people) and we chose well in inviting Katy Silverman, Director of Music at St. Mary’s, Battersea, as our speaker.

October 16th. – also well attended (seventeen) was Norman Harper’s session at Christ’s Chapel in Dulwich Village on French Baroque organ music, a subject which is all too often overlooked.

Events to come:

Nothing more this year, but there will be more in the next newsletter about the many plans for 2022. Keep January 15th. free for a very special afternoon at St. John’s, East Dulwich, with rising (risen?) star Anna Lapwood.

Events from members and friends:

This Saturday, November 6th – recital by our member Paul Gobey at St. John’s Church, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT at 11.00a.m. for forty minutes:

  • J.P. Sweelinck – Variations on ‘Mein junges Leben hat ein End’
  • Hendrik Andriessen – Theme & Variations
  • Kjell Mørk Karlsen – Partita on a Norwegian folk tune: The last commandment on Sinai
  • Josef Rheinberger – Sonata no.4 in A minor Op.98

2022 recitals at St. John’s will be by SSLSO members, at 11:00am, on:

  • May 14th – Peter Smith
  • June 25th – Norman Harper
  • September 17th – Ann Hubble and Richard Pilliner, violin and organ

Sunday, November 7th – All Saints’ Church on Blackheath at 7p.m: Renaissance Choral Masterpieces by Victoria and Lobo for All Saints and All Souls from the Iken Scholars. Tickets at the door: £10 / £8. Requiem, Victoria

Friday, November 12th – Peter Smith invites us to Christ Church Clapham, Union Grove, SW8 2QJ at 6p.m. for an ORGAN RECITAL BY DAVID COOK Music by Georges Bizet, William Byrd, John Stanley, Alfred Hollins, Johann Sebastian Bach, Camille Saint-Saëns and Louis Vierne. ADMISSION FREE (RETIRING COLLECTION)

Saturday, November 20th – two concerts at SS Peter and Paul, Bromley:

  • a.m. Bromley Boy Singers – see poster and article
  • p.m. Parish Church Choir, directed by Frank Roddy, with organ music from our member William McVicker – see poster and further information

Also on November 20th – message from Reg Boulton of the Bexley and District Association: Dartford Choral Society’s concert at 7.30p.m. on Saturday, November 20th. will include the Fauré Requiem. Details:- Dartford Choral Society: Other music: Parry: “Blest Pair of Sirens;” plus items from Ireland, Walford Davies and Britten. St Michael’s, Church Hill, Wilmington, DA2 7EH. Richard Pilliner (organ), Michael Bell (Conductor). (Good to see Richard involved; SSLSO members are very busy just now!)

Other news:

From our member Robert Bowles (who is a former organist of Holy Spirit Church, Clapham, although not directly involved in this venture); Choral Scholarships are currently available: Choral scholarships at Holy Spirit Clapham.

From Andrew Chadney, who has received this update about Bloomsbury Organ Day on 29th January 2022. Philip Norman and Philip Luke say that it is always a great pleasure to see members from so many Associations at this annual event under the patronage of Dame Gillian Weir. Do see the website. All the afternoon events are free up until the evening celebrity recital but this time we are also offering the option of card payments for this, the buffet and for online donations, registration being available from 15th November.

The theme this time is Trocadero and Town Halls and will feature two of the outstanding performers of organ music in this genre – Simon Gledhill and Richard Hills. The afternoon will include a masterclass by Dame Gillian Weir on English romantic organ music, a recital by Marco Sever, and presentations by Philip Norman and Simon Williams of the RCO. Further information here. We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible at this event and do please contact either Philip Norman or Philip Luke for any further information at all.

From Hilary Reeve: I am pleased to inform you that, after a year’s break because of Covid restrictions, the Organ Section of the 2022 Godalming Performing Arts Festival will be held on Monday 7 March 2022 in Godalming Parish Church. Full details of the syllabus can be found on the website. We have modified the classes this year in order to encourage those starting out as organists. We hope the changes will be well received and will review them again next year in the light of any comments we receive. Entries are now open, accessed from the website. We have a new booking system this year – Run My Festival. You will need to register with Run My Festival (unless you already use Run My Festival with another Festival). The account you may have had with GPAF two years’ ago is no longer to be used. The closing date for entries is Monday 17 January 2022. However, we would urge you to submit entries well in advance if possible, to Hilary Reeve (Secretary – Organ Section & IT Liaison, Godalming Performing Arts Festival)

From Fr. Leon Carberry, Vicar of St. James’s, Elmers End, Beckenham – the Church needs an organist to play for one or two Christmas services, as their usual folk are not available. Fee available. I can pass on a message to Fr. Leon if you contact me.


Singers welcome! I am putting on a Choral Evensong at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday, March 5th. at 3.15p.m, three days after Ash Wednesday. The music will include “Turn thy face from my sins” (Attwood), Psalm 29 (chant in A flat, also by Attwood) and canticles by Stanford in B flat. Two Sunday afternoon rehearsal in East Dulwich, plus on the day at the Cathedral. This is for as many singers as we are allowed to provide (Covid-wise). If you are interested, please let me know; I shall soon have full information to send out (but not yet).

The next newsletter will go out on December 1st; you are welcome to send me news. Richard Pilliner will send out a recital Roundup from time to time, so sometimes I pass items to him to publicise.

All good wishes,