Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter April 8th, 2022

From the Chair of the Society, John Webber:

Well nigh time for this newsletter.  It would have come sooner, but Maggie and I enjoyed a few days’ peace and quiet in South Dorset.  We enjoy visiting St. Mary the Virgin, Dorchester on a Sunday morning when we go to the area.  In addition, on Tuesday this week we visited Beaminster Church and I was surprised to discover that Peter Nardone is no longer at Worcester but is now Director of Music at Beaminster Church.  At this time of year we sing his “I give to you a new commandment”, so seeing his name in print in Dorset this week was a coincidence!  

Recent events

Sadly I missed the Annual Meeting in March , as we caught Covid (it took us two years to acquire it).  Thanks to Richard Pilliner and the SSLSO Committee for looking after the event.  Andrew Chadney hosted the AGM at St. Stephen’s, Norbury and Thornton Heath and played some organ music to begin the meeting.  We said “farewell” to Committee members Robert Bowles, Richard Pilliner (who has been Vice Chair) and Bridget West.  All three have contributed well and given good support;  my thanks to them.  In their place, we welcome Irene Wolstenholme and Alan Langridge, who are new to the Committee, and Martin Callingham, who returns after a few years.  The speaker after the AGM was Barry Williams, who (although I’d not known when I “booked” him), had been organist at St. Stephen’s Church some years ago.  Barry spoke to a favourite theme of his, regarding the legal aspects of being a church musician (and keeping your job if it’s threatened).  Barry offers this useful link.  He says: “If that fails, just put: ‘church England synod legal parish musicians’ into the search engine and it comes up.”

Forthcoming events

Saturday, May 7th. at 2.30p.m. at St. John’s Church, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT  –  Richard Pilliner writes: “I will be on hand to listen to whomever would like to play to me whatever they might like to bring.The aim of the afternoon will be to provide constructive suggestions as encouragement.I benefited from this early in my career, and know how supportive this can be.    It will be rewarding to pass this on to others.”Richard Pilliner is a recitalist, accompanist and teacher of wide experience.  He has given recitals in the UK, throughout the USA, Paris (Notre Dame), Moscow, Tokyo and Hong Kong.  Observers and players alike are welcome.  I can recommend this event; players are invited to contact me as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 11th. from 11.00a.m.  –  Peter Smith has set up this meeting and he says: “This is a somewhat different itinerary from the one originally planned. It has the advantage that both churches and the pub are all within reasonable walking distance of each other. It will probably be best for people to come by public transport as parking could be difficult. 

  • 11am  Visit Sacred Heart Church, Edge Hill, Wimbledon SW19 4LU. Sacred Heart is a large Roman Catholic Church with a substantial three-manual Walker organ, originally built in 1912 and subsequently altered by Manders, most recently in 1985. More information about the organ is available here.
  • 1pm  Lunch at the Hand in Hand, 6-9 Crooked Billet, Wimbledon,  SW19 4RQ.  The pub’s web site is here.
  • 2.30pm Visit St John the Baptist, Spencer Hill, Wimbledon, SW19 4NZ.  St. John’s has three-manual organ built in 1904 by Norman and Beard, rebuilt by Walker’s in 1926 and restored by GO Organ Builders in 2015. More information here.
  • 4pm  Depart.”

Please let Peter know if you would like lunch booked.

Summer social  –  Martin Callingham is liaising and we are booking outdoor space at St. Giles’ Church, Camberwell for early August.  More on this in the next newsletter.        

Saturday, September 10th. from 3.00 to 6.00p.m.  –  our member Peter Wright, former Director of Music at Southwark (anglican) Cathedral will be giving a workshop on the organ music of Flor Peeters (and touching on Cesar Franck, significantly born in 1822).  This will be at St. John’s Church, Upper Norwood.  As you will know, this Church boasts a fine organ; elsewhere in this missive, the recital series at St. John’s is promoted.  If you would like to play, please let me know in good time.  Peter studied with Flor Peeters at one stage.  Thanks to Norman Harper and Lionel Bourne for their part in planning Peter’s event.

Saturday, October 1st, 15th. or 29th.  –  annual dinner at The Prince Regent, Herne Hill.  We used this venue in 2020 and it proved very popular.  We are hoping for October 15th. and I’ll let you know in the next letter.  Our speaker will be Revd. Canon Dr. Gordon Giles, who is a Residentiary Canon of Rochester.  Gordon writes in the RSCM’s “Church Music Quarterly” and will be an entertaining speaker.

Saturday, November 19th. from 2.30p.m.  –  we start at Christ Church Streatham (the Italianate building on the South Circular Road), where our member Ian Giddons plays.  We move on to St. Peter’s, Leigham Court Road for 4.00/4.30p.m, where Norman Harper has fond memories as D of M some years ago.

Membership news

From the Mother of one of our bursary award winners from January, Björn:

“Dear Charlie and John,

On behalf of Björn, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for giving Björn the opportunity to attend the organ taster sessions.  We completed the programme in February, 2022 and I am happy to inform you that Björn is carrying on with lessons.  Please find attached a photo from the award ceremony.  Once again, thank you very much for giving Björn the wonderful experience.

With kindest regards,

Ms Leah Ndei-Sommergyll.”

Someone has been heard this week playing on Radio 3:
Andrew Chadney was able to let you know about this earlier in the week:
From Norman Harper: “I have just learned that tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6.50 am on Radio 3 there will be a couple of tracks from a CD I made on the very fine GDB organ in Fulham Priory in 2000. This is the daily Bach before 7 slot.
Members of SSLSO, may be amused to listen – assuming they are awake, near a radio and are fond of Bach!
It will be the last two variations of the Partita on Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig – for Passiontide.”

As it’s all happened by now and you may not have heard Norman, Peter Smith adds: also available on BBC Sounds here (at about the 24 minute mark).


There is a lot going on; here is what I can fit into this letter.  Some of it is sooner than you’d imagine, so look quickly, before it’s all happened!

Marilyn and Norman Harper have been / will be as busy as ever:

  • Sunday 3 April  3.00 pm – Duet recital at Magnuskerk, Bellingwolde, Netherlands
  • Wednesday 13 April 8.00pm – Marilyn at St Oswald’s, Norbury  
  • Saturday 21 May 7.30 pm – Norman at St Mary’s Church, Ewell
  • Thursday 9 June 1.00 pm – Duet recital at Ripon Cathedral
  • Thursday 23 June 7.30 pm – Norman at St John’s Upper Norwood
  • Thursday 30 June 1.00 pm – Norman at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol
  • Saturday 25 June at 11.00 am – Norman at St John’s East Dulwich
  • Saturday 16 July at 7.30 pm – Marilyn at St John’s Church, Sidcup

More about the recital next Wednesday at St. Oswald’s, Norbury, from our member Ann Hubble, who plays at the Church:

“The address of the church is: St Oswald’s Church, St Oswald’s Road (corner of Green Lane), London SW16 3SB.

Date and time: Wednesday 13th April at 8pm. The recital will last about 45 minutes.

The performer is Marilyn Harper, a very accomplished organist who lives locally and performs in the UK and abroad.  I have heard her play on several occasions and she always chooses very interesting and varied programmes. She will be playing music appropriate for the Holy week / Easter season.

This concert, which will start at 8pm and last about 45 minutes,  will be part of our programme for Holy Week, so instead of selling tickets on this occasion, we will be inviting donations to cover our costs and will be donating part of the proceeds to the DEC appeal for Ukrainian refugees.

You are warmly invited to attend, and bring friends and relatives. Please forward the invitation to members of your church and choir and  anyone else you know who might be interested

Thanks and Best wishes


Do also see this link.

More from Ann:

“I have received the finalised programme from Marilyn for her recital at St Oswald’s next Wednesday, so am forwarding it to you (below) as this will be of interest to your members.

A particularly interesting feature is that Marilyn is going to sing a Ukrainian prayer in the contemplative part of the programme. She will be accompanied by Norman Harper for this.

Hope to see as many of you there as possible!

Kind Regards


Organ Recital St Oswald’s Church Norbury London SW16 3SB
Marilyn Harper


  • 1. Introducing Musical Styles of the Organ:
    Toccata – Georgi Mushel (1909-1989)
    Song 13 – Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
    Fugue in C major (Gigue) BuxWV 174 – Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
  • 2. Music for Lent:
    O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sunde Gross BWV 622 – JS Bach (1685-1750)
    From 12 Choral Preludes: Stabat Mater – Jeanne Demessieux (1921-1968)
    Ach her, mich armen Sunder BuxWV 178- Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
    Ciacona in C minor BuxWV 159- Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
  • 3. Music for the Theatre:
    Overture for Camilla
    (Adagio)- Allegro- Largo- Allegro – Giovanni. Bononcini (1670-1747)
  • 4. Music for Contemplation:
    Kyrie-Gebet- based on music by Myroslav Skoryk (1938-2020)
    Arranged by Martin Dietze, adapted by David Chapman
    Accompanied by Norman Harper
    Elegie- Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
  • 5. Finale:
    Toccata- Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)

St. John’s, Upper Norwood (see attached flyer)

Dear friends and supporters,

I am delighted to announce and invite you to our 2022 season of Organ Concerts at St John’s Upper Norwood.  Each concert begins at 7.30pm and is followed by refreshments and an opportunity to meet the performer.

To launch the series on Thursday 21st April we are very pleased to welcome International Concert Organist, Jonathan Scott. 

Jonathan Scott demonstrates the full capabilities of the wonderful Lewis organ of St. John’s in an unmissable programme which brings together amazing organ music, brilliant Bach, operatic favourites and epic orchestral masterpieces, including the Finale from Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony!


  • Johann Strauss II arr. Scott – Die Fledermaus Overture Op. 362
  • Johann Sebastian Bach – Prelude & Fugue in C Major BWV 547
  • César Franck arr. Scott – Allegretto poco mosso (Violin Sonata)
  • Charles-Marie Widor – Allegro Vivace from Symphony No. 5 in F Op. 42
  • Ludwig van Beethoven arr. Scott – Allegro con brio from Symphony No 5 in C Minor Op. 67
  • Gaetano Donizetti arr. Scott – Una Furtiva Lagrima (L’elisir d’amour)
  • Camille Saint-Saëns arr. Scott – Finale from “Organ” Symphony No.3 in c minor Op. 78

The concert series will continue as follows:

  • Thursday 19th May                           Ian Shaw, London
  • Thursday 23rd June                          Norman Harper, London
  • Thursday 21st July                             Christopher Herrick, Concert Organist
  • Thursday 15th September               Will Nicholson, Alston Moor
  • Thursday 13th October                    Katy Silverman, St Mary’s Battersea

Admission is free but we do request donations to cover the cost of the recitalists’ fees and the refreshments. A minimum of £10 would be welcome.

There are no parking restrictions in the area. St John’s is easily reached by public transport: rail to Crystal Palace or Norwood Junction. 410 bus from both stations stops outside the church.

There is a flyer for the Concert Series attached should you wish to download it but for further information please contact St John’s Office 020 8771 6686 or visit the website 

Please come and join us to hear some excellent performers play our wonderful and treasured T C Lewis organ.

I look forward to welcoming you to St John’s.

Lionel Bourne
Organist & Master of Music
St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood
Auckland Road/Sylvan Road
SE19 2RX

St. John’s, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT

Organ recitals on the 1985 three manual Walker organ on Saturdays at 11.00a.m. for about forty minutes:

  • May 14th.  –  Peter Smith
  • June 25th.  –  Norman Harper
  • September 17th.  –  Ann Hubble (violin) and Richard Pilliner

St. Peter’s, Streatham

From David Chapman:

“Dear Friends,

This Saturday (9th April) local musicians will gather together for a performance of The Crucifixion by John Stainer.  We hope that you may be able to attend.  Performance at 7.30pm – free entry.  Details below.  It is a “Come and Sing” format, and there is still time sign up if you want to sing.

See also details of our Holy Week and Easter Services and further recitals in April, May and June.

* Saturday 9th April: Come and Sing Event: 2.45pm Rehearsal | 7.30pm Concert

Come and Sing Stainer’s Crucifixion: If you would like to sing – please contact us, stating your voice part.  Singers – £15 fee | Audience – no charge: Email:  Poster here

Holy Week and Easter Services at St Peter’s 2022

10 April -– Palm Sunday

  10.15am             Distribution of palms, procession from front garden and Parish Mass
  6.30pm               Choral Evensong & Benediction

11, 12, 13 April – Monday to Wednesday in Holy Week

  7pm     Mass followed by supper in the crypt and Compline (night prayer) at 9pm

14 April – Maundy Thursday

  7.45pm               Mass and Watch: Liturgy of the Lord’s Last Supper followed by watch

15 April – Good Friday

  10.30am             Kid’s Workshop + Kid’s Stations of the Cross (to 1pm)
  3pm                     Good Friday Liturgy – Mass with singing of the Passion

16 April – Holy Saturday

  12.30pm            Journeying the Cross with Mary (to 1.30pm)
  8pm                     Easter Vigil Mass with lighting of Easter Fire

17 April – Easter Sunday

 10.30am             Parish Mass for Easter Day

* Sunday 24th April: Luke Saint – Organ Recital: 1150am (about an hour)

Luke attended Trinity School in Croydon.  He was an Organ Scholar for the Chapel Choir of Royal Holloway and since has performed regularly as Organ Scholar at Guildford Cathedral.  In September 2021, Luke took up a post at LVS Ascot to teach music.

* Sunday 22nd May: Angela Sones – Organ: 1150am (about an hour)

Details to follow.

* 19th June: Tom Law (tenor): 1150am (about an hour)

This recital was postponed from January.   More details to follow.

St Peter’s Church, Leigham Court Road, Streatham SW16 2SD

With very best regards,

David Chapman.”


YouTube event tomorrow: This may be of interest to SSLSO members and those who attend concerts at Upper Norwood:

This Saturday 9th April 2022 7PM (UK Time) we are very excited to bring you an online organ concert performed by Jonathan at Amsterdam’s ORGELPARK in the Netherlands. 

This former Church, which overlooks the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, is home to an amazing collection of pipe organs, all housed in the same room! 

Jonathan performs a programme to introduce and demonstrate just a few of these amazing instruments.  You can watch here. If you miss it ‘live’, you will be able to watch it afterwards on our YouTube channel at the same link. 


  • Louis Vierne – Carillon de Longpont (24 pièces en style libre Op. 31) 
    (Verschueren Organ (2009) in the style of Cavaillé-Coll) 
  • William Byrd – Pavan & Galliard “The Earl of Salisbury” 
    (Van Straten Organ (2012) A copy of the 1479 Peter Gerritsz Organ, originally housed in the Nicolaï Church, Utrecht, moved to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam in 1880) 
  • Johann Sebastian Bach – Prelude in C Major BWV 547 
    (Utopa Baroque Organ (2018) Based on Zacharias Hildebrandt 1746) 
  • Johann Sebastian Bach arr. Scott – Andante (Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor BWV 1003) 
    (Sauer Organ (1922) 
  • Clément Loret – Les Cloches du Soir 
    (Mustel Orgue-Célesta (1913) 
  • Modest Mussorgsky arr. Scott – The Great Gate of Kiev (Pictures at an Exhibition) 
    (Hyper Organ (2018) Utopa Baroque Organ & Sauer Organ Combined) 

Harpsichord at Ripley (near Bromley North)

The fourth attachment is about a recital by Gilbert Rowland, who lives in our patch and is renowned for his harpsichord playing.  The link for this came from Reg Boulton of the Bexley Assocation.

Choral concert (also tomorrow)

Do see the fifth attachment about an interesting programme in the Lewisham / Blackheath area.

Finally, the “holy” bit:

It has been announced this morning from Downing Street that HM The Queen has approved the nomination of the Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs as the next Bishop of Rochester.

Bishop Jonathan is currently the Bishop of Huddersfield in the Diocese of Leeds. He also holds the national portfolio of Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, a role he will bring with him into his post as Bishop of Rochester.

Responding to his appointment Bishop Jonathan says:

“I am delighted to have been announced as the new Bishop of Rochester. My wife Toni and I are so excited about the prospect of moving to this wonderful Diocese.

“For us, Rochester will be a new place to explore and we’re so looking forward to getting to know the people of our churches and our communities, and to working together with you to encourage God’s kingdom to grow in this wonderfully varied and rich place.

“We’re very conscious of the diversity of the communities that we serve, from urban and suburban to profoundly rural, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to explore all these different places with you and to share with you in the journey of growing God’s Church, of serving the communities, and of proclaiming the good news of Christ to the people whom we seek to love and to serve in Jesus’ name.”

The next newsletter will be sent on May 7th.  Comments are welcome and do send anything which you’d like me to include.