Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

U.S.O.C. Newsletter - March 2001

That's the title of a recently published volume by Revd David Montgomery in which he discusses in some depth the issues of "choosing and leading praise in today's church" (the book's sub-title). Mr Montgomery, a graduate in English and Music of Stirling University and in Theology of a Canadian College, is presently Associate Minister of Knock Presbyterian Church.

At 3 pm on Saturday 10th March he will share with us some of his ideas on this perennially pertinent topic in what promises to be a stimulating session. Time will be allowed for discussion and the meeting will be held in one of the halls of Malone Presbyterian Church which stands at the junction of Lisburn Road and Balmoral Avenue. There is ample car parking beside the Church.

At this year's AGM two new members of Committee were elected: Charles Harrison and Michael McCracken. We welcome both to the Committee of which the other eight re-elected members are: William Adair, Barbara Callender, Michael Callender, Christopher Gordon-Wells, Eileen Kerr, James Little, Joes McKee and Michael Tregenna.

Enclosed is a copy of the new USOC Information Leaflet into which will be inserted: (a) Application for Membership Form; (b) Application Form for Organists' Review; (c) USOC's current Year's Programme. If at all possible, please use the copy enclosed to invite, encourage, entice, seduce or otherwise persuade another organist to join us.

Ron Bayfield has sent me a list of 21 members whose Organists' Review subscriptions have not yet been paid for this year.

Since discretion and diplomacy are almost always preferable to valour, I shall not list names but if you are in doubt as to whether your 2001 subscription has been paid or not contact me and the truth will be revealed!

Members who met Philip Brereton on our visit to Yorkshire or on last year's trip to Berlin (when he was accompanied by his daughter Judith) will have been saddened to learn that he and his wife, Gwen, died within a few hours of one another in December. Both made a very valuable contribution to the Incorporated Association of Organists (to which USOC is affiliated) and in particular to the organisation of the Association's Annual Congress. Philip also prepared the Organists' Review mailing labels and this service will now be handled by Allegro Music in Birmingham. For the present, subscriptions should be forwarded to Ron Bayfield (25 Rowan Close, Portslade, BRIGHTON, BN41 2PT). For USOC members the annual subscription of 14.00 (5 less than the regular published price).

The first of this year's Spring into Summer Concerts (at Armagh's Anglican Cathedral on May 19th) will feature the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, and we should like to offer its members overnight accommodation on that date in the homes of USOC members. If you can help in this way please telephone James Little (9042 1332) as soon as possible.


April 6th-8th Pulling Out The Stops (Beginners aged 10-14)
July 15th-22nd International Summer School for Young Organists (aged 14-24) Expert tuition in all aspects of organ performance For information telephone 01532 272 026.

April 4th-6th Edinburgh Organ Academy Tuition for full-time students and amateur church organists For information telephone 01314 556 200.

July 11th-21st International Organ Competition and Festival Comprehensive festival programme For information telephone 01727 844 765.

At BITCHE (Moselle, France. Pronounce with care!)
August 7th-10th International Summer Organ Conservatoire Competition and tuition by distinguished organists For information telephone 0384 735 007.

Young members (defined in this context as "under 25") might like to note that financial assistance to attend courses such as those listed above is provided for suitable applicants by the Dunleath Organ Scholarship Trust. Application Forms from Dr Desmond Hunter, Department of Music, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, BT37 0QB. Closing date April 30th. Grants made to both participants and observers.

As new members we welcome:

Sylvia Gourley, BA, DipRSA, FCIPD ..............

Pat Maxwell, BA, PGCE ..............

Daphne Morrow now resides at ............ Please amend your Membership List.

Arrangements are now well in hand and we now have 42 applicants. If you are one of them please note that the balance (135.00 for those sharing a room; 170.00 for those who have ordered single rooms) is due NOT LATER THAN MARCH 31st. Between March 23rd and April 8th your Honorary Secretary expects to be in Mexico so please forward your cheque to the Honorary Treasurer (address below).

Enclosed are details of a new Wells-Kennedy organ on which the opening recital will be given by Peter Sweeney at 8 pm on Friday March 30th. Those of you who heard Mr Sweeney's splendid recital in Enniskillen last year will wish to make a note of this. The organ replaces one destroyed by fire and is the largest new mechanical action instrument built in the province for some time.

Despite the vigilance of the Bambrick-Hunter Printing Corporation three small errors sneaked into the last mailing, so please note:

1 The October Meeting will be held on Saturday 20th (not 19th);
2 Transport to Troon (and on to Edinburgh) on May 5th will be provided by the Seacat Service and not by P&O Ferries;
3 My Report on last year's USOC activities should be headed 'Honorary Secretary's Report for the Year 2000' (not 2001). You probably guessed!

Although Gransha High School has recently been renamed Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College (!) it still houses the only theatre organ in playable condition in the province. At its three-manual console on Saturday 17th March will be SIMON GLEDHILL, regarded by many knowledgeable aficionados as the finest practitioner of the art of theatre organ performance in the UK. As such he has given concerts all over the world - in Australia, USA, Germany and the Netherlands - and this should be an event worth travelling to Bangor to attend. The programme starts at 8 pm and will include one of Harold Lloyd's inimitable comedies 'Never Weaken'' with organ accompaniment. To reserve a ticket phone the school (sorry, the Academy) at 9145 3838.

I look forward to meeting you on March 10th.

Yours sincerely

Honorary Secretary

Dear Mum,
When our leader is crotchety
His voice starts to quaver,
So look out sopranos,
It's the altos he favours;
And as for the tenors,
They might as well hum
While the basses hold fast
To their bare minim, mum.

Sammy Breve
(alias David Barron)


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