Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter May 7th, 2022

From the Chair of the Society, John Webber:

Welcome to the monthly newsletter!

Today at 3.00p.m. we have a select few members at St. John’s Church, East Dulwich Road, SE22 9AT for Richard Pilliner’s repertoire session. Members will be preparing a piece in readiness for advice from Richard. At this late stage, we can still admit observers – just turn up. Our friends in the Bromley and Croydon Association are visiting Tonbridge School later today, including some of our own folk who belong to both groups.


We welcome Ross Johnston to our number. Ross says that he “moved to UK during lockdown, previously Director of Music Pitt St Uniting Church Sydney and various other churches across Sydney/ Brisbane on a locum basis”. He lives in SE1.

Forthcoming events

The Committee met last Sunday and we have progressed in our plans for the year’s meetings.

  1. Saturday, June 11th. from 11.00a.m. – Peter Smith has set up this meeting and he says: “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 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.
  1. Summer Social – Martin Callingham is the person to contact if you would like to attend. The Social will be in the Crypt of St. Giles’ Church, Camberwell, 81 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8RB on Sunday, August 7th. from 2.30p.m. and there will be a staffed bar and an area set aside for SSLSO. Sounds idyllic…..almost rural!
  2. 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). Peter studied with Flor Peeters at one stage. The workshop will be held at St. John’s Church, Upper Norwood. Peter would love to have a good number of members offering a piece, so if you would like to play, please let me know in good time.
  3. Saturday, October 15th. – annual dinner at The Prince Regent, Herne Hill (as in 2020). Our speaker will be Revd Canon Dr Gordon Giles, Canon Residentiary of Rochester.
  4. Saturday, November 19th. – 2.30p.m. Christ Church, Streatham (the Italianate building on the South Circular Road) and 4.00/4.30p.m. St. Peter’s, Leigham Court Road.
  5. 2023 – plans are well under way for next year, including the deferred visit to the Netherlands – please note March 24th. to 28th. and there will be more on this and other plans another time.

Please remember to contact us for events 1,2,and 3 above, where you are asked to say that you intend to come.

Other news

Elmers End Free Church / URC – this is a small and welcoming Church tucked away in Goddard Road, Elmers End, a mile from Beckenham High Street. Church member Sylvia Godsmark says: “The Church organ is a one manual pipe organ with 10 stops. It has a small (non-standard) pedal board, which is not often used, it is mainly used as a manual only instrument. Services are from 11am to 12am, usually 4 to 5 hymns, Communion service once a month and payment is between £15 to £20 per sessions. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.”

The Organ Recital Event Guide – you’ll know by now that “” has ceased operating. Marilyn has heard about this new website, which is well worth the look and seems to be as supportive of our work as the previous one:

Penge Festival – this will include organ recitals at the Congregational Church on Tuesday, June 14th. at 7p.m. and Saturday, June 25th. at 4.00p.m. Some of our members will be contributing to these two composite recitals. More players will be welcome, but I’d like to hear from you as soon as possible if you are interested, preferably this week.

Recitals (to which members and their friends are welcome)

From Marilyn and Norman Harper:

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

In addition, Marilyn and Norman also played in early April in The Netherlands, in Bellingwolde. You can see their concert here (it lasts approx 90 minutes, including a long interval; this link will expire on April 3 2023).

As part of the Dulwich Festival:

Christ’s Chapel Dulwich – Sunday 15 May 2022 7.45pm – Organ Recital by Ben Bloor
Programme to include music by J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, Scheidemann and Mendelssohn
Tickets £7, concessions £4 ( plus Eventbrite booking fee). At the door, there can only be payment by card.

Recital and orchestral concert at St. John’s, East Dulwich:

Peter Smith plays next Saturday, May 14th. at 11.00a.m. Poster and programme attached. Peter is a fine player and composer and I recommend this, if you are free to come.

I am playing a Handel Organ Concerto on Sunday, May 22nd. at 7.00p.m. in a programme with the Southwark Sinfonietta. Again, poster attached.

Richard Pilliner will send out a Recital Roundup” in a week or two. Please send him your news of forthcoming events as soon as you can.

The next letter will go out on a Bank Holiday: Thursday, June 2nd. Do get in touch if you want anything mentioned or have any comments.

All good wishes,