Southwark and South London Society of Organists Newsletter March1st, 2023

From the Chair of the Society, John Webber:

Recent Events

February 6th. saw the “NOOM Zoom”, i.e. a presentation by the authors and a discussion on the New Oxford Organ Method. This was a joint event with the Bromley and Croydon Association and it was well received; the book is proving a popular tutor. Our thanks for their time to Anne Marsden Thomas and Frederick Stocken.

On February 18th. we had our annual composite recital at Penge Congregational Church. This event reflects our happy association with our Honorary member Marilyn Nicholson, now retired to Scotland. Marilyn hosted this for many years and gave us all her time and energy to encourage the many players who showed an interest in taking part. This time we can thank our Committee member Alan Langridge, who is local to the Church and doing much good there to involve local musicians. Here’s the link to the website page, where you can see a full c.v. and notes on the pieces played by each organist, and here again is the photo of the players. We are sorry that Michael Cooke couldn’t be included, but he lives in deepest Kent and had to get home. Apologies too to Andrew Chadney, who was unable to take part once that we had altered the timing because of the service at Croydon Minster in memory of RSCM legend Martin How.

Forthcoming Events

our AGM will be next Monday, March 6th. at St. George’s Church, High Street, BR3 1AX, near Beckenham Junction Station. We now have three people prepared to stand for the Committee and one member happy to take on the role of chairing us. You are welcome to offer further names, which would mean an election. Norman Harper, Charlie Warren and I are stepping down. Especial thanks to Norman for his wisdom and his attention to detail in what we do and to Charlie for his many hours in preparing for two years of Awards for the Education Scheme, which has seen many young people benefit from tuition. Andrew Chadney, as Secretary, has sent out the papers to you all; if you have not received them, let him or me know at once.

Saturday, March 11th. – IAO’S London Organ Day at Chelsea Old Church: tickets can be bought in advance or on the door – details here.

Friday to Tuesday, March 24th. to 28th. – eight of us will be going on a trip to the Netherlands, organised by member Pieter Shaw, who lives there, but has spent many years in South London. I’m sure that you will hear about this afterwards.

Saturday, April 1st. – 2.30p.m. workshop at Christ‘s Chapel, 14 Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD with Marilyn Harper on the subject of “memory” in organ playing. More on this soon.

Saturday, May 13th. – local man and SSLSO member Michael Cooke has organised a day at the seaside (Whitstable): 11.00a.m. All Saints, 12 noon lunch at “The Monument” pub (opposite), 2.00p.m. St. Peter’s, 3.30p.m. St. Alphege’s. Bring your music!

Saturday, May 20th. – 2.30p.m. harpsichord recital by Gilbert Rowland, a top expert in his field. This will be at St. Augustine’s Church, Honor Oak, up the hill from Honor Oak Park Station. Local buses: 122, 171, 172, P4, P12.

Saturday, June 17th. – not strictly an SSLSO event, but with our link with its Congregational Church, Alan Langridge and I thought that you might care to offer a piece (or more) for the Penge Festival, which includes a recital on the lovely three-manual organ there at 2.30p.m. Please contact Alan is you would like to take part.

Sunday, August 6th. – to help you to keep the Feast of the Transfiguration, we’ve organised another Summer Social in the Crypt of St. Giles’s Church, Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8RB. This will be at what seems to be our set time for most events, 2.30p.m.

Saturday, September 23rd. – a visit at 11.00aa.m. to All Saints, Oakleigh / Totteridge / North Whetstone and, after lunch, at 2.30p.m. to St. Andrew’s, Southgate. This will be held jointly with the Enfield and District group. I have to fix a date to walk around the area with Terence Atkins (of said group) to plan the meeting soon.

Saturday, October 14th. – 6.30 for 7.00p.m. Annual Dinner; venue to be fixed; guest speaker: Ven. Jonathan Sedgwick, Archdeacon of Southwark.

Other Matters

Website – please do look regularly at; our webmaster updates it frequently and there is much to see.

Survey and Directory: in that connection, the website is where you can complete the forms about our survey and directory. We have had a good response, but you can still complete the information requested by looking at the site. Please act quickly, though, as we want to send out the information to members in a week or so, i.e. mid-March.

IAO’s Magazine: Alan Langridge draws our attention to two items in the latest Organists’ Review (March 2023) that I’m sure SSLSO members will be interested to read:

  1. On p.32, Harry Bramma’s personal recollection of the organs of T C Lewis.
  2. On p.66, Norman Harper’s recent CD “Church Bells Beyond The Stars” gets top billing, a glowing review and recommendation.

Radio 3: While I am typing this, Byrd’s “Ave verum corpus” has just begun to be broadcast….. Anyway, I really wanted you to know that Radio 3 is broadcasting Compline on Mondays in Lent from 9.30 to 10.00p.m. This week’s was from St. Stephen Walbrook and next week will be from the Chapter House at York Minster.

Bye for Now!

Well, that’s that. My thanks to the Officers and other Committee members of our Society over the last three years. It has been good to include representatives of five other local organists’ societies in all our newsletters. I have enjoyed enormously the privilege of chairing SSLSO, but the time is right to hand over the baton, as the Society must grow and develop under someone else’s leadership. You will be kept informed of all that goes on and is planned, but in what format and from whom I cannot say. The future looks very positive and there are many excellent people about, whether organists or not, to guide us all.

With all good wishes,