Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter December 1st, 2021

From the Chair of the Society, John Webber:

We have a full, exciting programme for the year ahead. A few details are yet to be finalised. Below I am providing what information I can and soon you will be receiving a list of dates in calendar format.

Saturday, January 15th. – we’ll be holding an Education Day at St. John ‘s Church, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT, a joint event with the Bromley and Croydon Association. Winners of our bursary awards will be presented with their certificates by Anna Lapwood; Anna will give a short recital and she will be interviewed by SSLSO Committee member Charlie Warren, who has been responsible for the bursary system and for inviting Anna. Charlie and Anna were organ scholars together at Oxford. Anna played in the 2021 Proms. Do see We are asking members to let us know if they intend to come; there will be a small charge for your attendance. More precise details of this session are being finalised and you will receive further information soon.

Saturday, February 19th. – 2.30p.m. Composite recital by our members at Penge Congregational Church, 172 High Street, SE20 7QG. If you would like to take part, please let me know as soon as possible, together with title and composer of your selected organ music. This is a popular annual event and we may have to limit the number of players. Please restrict your piece to a maximum of six minutes. The Church boasts an impressive large three manual Lewis organ. I shall make myself available to meet players on two evenings earlier that week and from 11.00a.m. onwards on the day itself, so that everyone can have a practice session in advance.

Monday, March 14th. – 7.30p.m. Annual General Meeting at St. Stephen’s, Norbury and Thornton Heath. The Church’s address is 9 Warwick Road, Thornton Heath, CR7 7NH. Our member Andrew Chadney, former Chair of SSLSO is the organist at the Church and will play a couple of pieces. Barry Williams, our guest speaker, says: “I had it in mind to talk about the Revised Guidance from the Legal Office of General Synod concerning parish musicians, explaining its origin and status. We can then move on to some recent cases that have gone to hearings and the way in which the Employment Tribunal tends to view matters. I ought to make some reference to contracts and income tax.” There will be time for questions.

Friday to Tuesday, April 1st. to 5th. – trip to The Netherlands. This fully booked and the plans are well organised by now. we just hope that Covid doesn’t affect our ability to travel!

Saturday, May 7th. – 2.30p.m. Richard Pilliner will lead a session on repertoire at St. John’s Church, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT. There is a fine three manual tracker action Walker organ of 1985 installed. More to come on this.

Saturday, June 11th. – visit to St. Mary’s, Merton, St. Mary’s Wimbledon and Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, arranged by Peter Smith. Timing to be announced.

July or August – we aim to have a summer social.

Saturday, September 10th. – former Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral Peter Wright will lead a session on Flor Peeters; venue, date and time t.b.a. Peter says:

One idea I have had was perhaps doing a session on Flor Peeters, with whom I studied in 1973. I suspect many of the SSLSO members play something by him and I could talk a bit about his teaching (which was rooted in the Lemmens tradition but much more open to modern scholarship than other followers, like Dupre) and his close association with the music of Franck (b.1822) via his friendship and study with Tournemire. Indeed he had Franck’s Cavaille-Coll console in his music room at home, bequeathed to him by Tournemire. I could also do a master-class on his music (and/or Franck’s) if there were an appetite for that.

Saturday in October – annual dinner; venue, date and time t.b.a.

Saturday, November 19th. – afternoon at two churches in Streatham: Christ Church & St. Peter’s

Other news:

I am organising a Choral Evensong at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday, March 5th. for anyone who would like to take part. Please see the attachment for more details: two advance rehearsals; friends welcome. Do get in touch quickly, as the first rehearsal is around the corner.

From Peter Smith: I would be grateful if you would include in your next SSLSO newsletter details of the Wimbledon Chamber Choir concert which I will be conducting on 4 December. The single work is the hugely enjoyable Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini, for which we will be joined by a fine set of soloists and an excellent accompanist. The venue is the beautiful St. Mary’s Church in Merton. I attach the concert flyer. Tickets are available on line here.

This link is from Marilyn Harper, who says:

For those who are not sure what it’s about, it is an organ recital coming from Mexico. Before lockdown 1, I had the good fortune to meet a professor of organ in the University of New Mexico. After corresponding, including hearing both him and his wife play the organ, an invitation came to contribute to his series of recitals on Baroque organs. The chapel organ is not quite Baroque but I was honoured to be invited to give a second recital. As you read this tonight it will be relayed live at 6.00pm Mexico time, midnight UK time. Don’t bother to wait up, but if you do have a minute and would like to watch some of it, you might be amused, entertained or might wish to switch right off. As the chapel was very cold and the sun streamed through the windows some of the time, my attempts at recording are less than excellent, but you might wish to guess which piece I transposed up a semitone to avoid too much wolf from mean tone temperament.

Finally, quotes which I found of interest / amusing:

From Stephen Hough (composer and pianist, in The Observer):

It was a reminder of how important a cog music is in life. Don’t take it for granted. Tell our political leaders it’s not just entertainment. No just icing on the cake. It’s the cake itself. It’s human life.

From Bishop John Saxbee, in The Guardian:

As a newly ordained curate, in receipt of a stipend, it was made clear to me that I was not being paid to do a job: I was being paid so that I didn’t have to do another job.

From Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, speaking to the C of E General Synod:

We have a lot of labourers in the Church of England. The trouble is that the labourers are in the barn arguing about what colour to paint the combine harvester. Like two bald men fighting over a comb.

From a letter to the Times from Jack Blackburn:

Earlier in the week we mentioned the unfortunately truncated film title Who Framed Roger Rabbi. It reminded Waddon Sutton, a reader, of one of his favourite jokes. ‘A Catholic priest, an Anglican vicar and a rabbit go to a clinic to give blood. The nurse asks the rabbit if he happens to know what blood group he is. The rabbit thinks for a moment and then says, “I think I must be a Type O”.

Finally, as I wish you the best for 2022 and all that happens before the New Year starts, let me remind you that we’ll have one or two changes to our Committee as people will have done their stint by the AGM. If you are interested in joining our group, or want to suggest to another member that they could be useful on the Committee, let one us know. Currently the Committee is meeting on Zoom about five times a year, on a Sunday afternoon.

All good wishes,