Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

U.S.O.C. Newsletter - October 2003

Upcoming events in November
Our next USOC event promises to be most interesting, particularly to those who relish a sense of history. Billy Adair, who apart from his distinguished history as a parish organist, is a long time member of the Society in which he has held many positions, will be recounting his Reflections. Those who have met him, but may not know him well, will find it difficult to comprehend that he is an 'Octogenarian' (he most certainly doesn't look it). Billy will be in conversation with the President in an evening meeting entitled 'Reflections of an Octogenarian Organist', on November 15th, 2003. The venue will be Queen's Parade Methodist Church in Bangor and kick-off will be at 7.30pm. A light supper will be available after the conversation, so we need to know numbers attending. Please be so kind as to return the enclosed form, duly completed, if you would like supper. Do come along for a warm social evening with plenty of chat and conviviality - and bring your friends.
All will be most welcome.
Also in November, on Thursday 4th, to be precise at 7.45 in the Ulster Hall, David Goode will be performing, in a Recital as part of the Belfast Festival. We in the Society were privileged to hear David play at the University Church in Cambridge when we were in that City for one of our organ trips in May , some years ago. At that time David was organ scholar at King's College, which tells you how 'good' he was then! He has now gone on to be an International Recitalist of note. David will play a number of classics with the centrepiece being the Liszt 'Ad nos,' and as well, his own arrangement of Concert Fantasy by George Gershwin.

And an October date
On Saturday evening, 18th October 2003 in St Thomas's PC on the Lisburn Road, Belfast, the Grosvenor Chorale celebrate their Birthday. Come along at 7.30pm, to listen to lovely sacred music exquisitely sung by this Choir originally set up by Ronnie Lee. Edward Craig directs the famous choir and the soloist is Daryl Simpson, tenor, from Glasgow. The organ is played by Stephen Hamill. The entrance fee is 7 (4 concession) and is payable at the door; with proceeds to charity.

Advanced Notice of the USOC Annual General Meeting in January 2004
It is sobering to think that we have now entered the final quarter of 2003! This means, amongst many other things, that the USOC agm beckons, along with the New Year. Few people seem to like agms, but in our case the business is usually brief and straight forward. The real value for most people is the social side of the Meeting; in addition, we usually have a sale of music and tapes, which is an opportunity to pick up a gem, perhaps, that you have long been seeking.
So why not plan to come, particularly if you have not attended a USOC agm on a previous occasion. It will be in Holywood, Co Down on Saturday 11th January 2004 at 3.00pm. More details in December Bulletin.

Miniature Masterpieces
We have been contacted by Mr Nicholas Wilton, who has been writing sacred music since 1990. His music is inspired by the Catholic masters of the 16th Century. His compositions are mainly for unaccompanied combinations of SATB, and are intended to be well within the capacity of 'normally competent parish choirs'. There is also a CD published. If you want to find out more, contact Mr Wilton at email nicholaswilton@catholicmusic.co.uk, or at 85 Moffat Road, Thornton Heath. Surrey CR7 8PY.

Not Just Tulips---
Quite apart from the tulips, Amsterdam is a wonderful City with an ambiance entirely its own, and a rich diversity of attractions. Many years ago, the Society made a very successful visit and plans are now being considered for a return visit next Spring. Those participating would depart on Friday 30th April and return on Tuesday 4th May 2004. Flight times and other arrangements have yet to be finalised.
As usual, we would plan to visit Churches and other venues in and around the City. However, before we embark on further detail, we need a firm commitment from 25 members, that they intend to visit Amsterdam next year. You are therefore asked to complete the attached form and return it as soon as possible, and anyway by, 15th November 2003, together with your deposit of 100. Of course this would be returned to you in the event that there is insufficient support for the trip, which is not what we anticipate will happen!
The estimated total cost per person including the return flights, four nights B&B [3*], and transport in and around Amsterdam is 350 on a room sharing basis. A limited number of single rooms may be available at a supplement of 28 per night. Flights may be arranged for anyone wishing to stay on in Holland.
If you would like to participate in this exciting adventure, please complete the enclosed form and follow the instructions it contains. With very many thanks.

News from the Royal Berkshire Hospital
We always like to hear what our members are doing so that we can keep up to date. Recently, our member Andrew Doggart has taken up a job at the Royal Berkshire Hospital; his most recent local incumbency was as Organist of Lisburn Cathedral (another member, Edward Craig has now taken up this position).
Andrew writes: ' The Royal Berkshire was built in 1832, primarily to cope with the injuries sustained by those who were building the Great Western Railway. Around 1860, a charming little chapel was added complete with wood panelling, stained glass and - of course -- an organ! The history of this organ is uncertain, but today, the instrument is a HNB 2mn and pedal board, which is kept in good nick for occasional services throughout the year. The instrument has a very nice tone and is sympathetic to play.'
Andrew seems to have taken up duties and has been booked for a number of Services. He also tells us that the organ is just three minutes from his office, so no excuses not to practice!!
The specification of the organ is:

Great	Open D       	8ft	Swell	Spitz Flute	8ft	Pedal	Bourdon	16ft
	Stopped D	8ft		Salcional(sic)	8ft		Gedackt	8ft
	Principal	4ft		Goyshorn(sic)	4ft
	Chimney Fl	4ft    		Nazard		2.2/3ft		Sw to Pd
					1/15th		2ft		Gt to Pd
					Octave 	4ft			Sw to Gt
Reads as if it sounds to be a bright 'little button'! Andrew's new address is in another section of this Bulletin.

Open Console
A Church in the Belfast area is offering open console to organists who would like access to a fine and substantial instrument on which to practice. The organ is described as in excellent condition, is a three manual instrument in a warm and sympathetic acoustic. There may be scope for the opportunity to accompany Services from time to time, if this is part of your development plan. Conditions attaching are minimal and relate mainly to finding practice times which do not clash with the activities in the Church. This is an opportunity for anyone who wishes to become familiar with playing a three manual organ, or who, for whatever reason, has no current access to a satisfactory instrument. The opportunity is also open to organ teachers who may, on a regular or occasional basis, wish to teach on such an instrument. If this interests you, please apply by sealed letter in the first instance, setting out your wishes, and marking the envelope 'open console'; then send it to the Hon Secretary of USOC (address above), who will ensure delivery to the Church concerned.

Members' Recital
All those who were unable to make it to the members recital in Down Cathedral on Saturday 4th October 20003 missed a real treat. We heard a wonderful variety of organ music from our three recitalists, Philip Stopford, Theo Saunders and Donald Davison - all members of the Society. There was something for everyone, with music from 16th 17th 18th 19th and 20th Centuries! Of particular rarity was the offering by Donald Davison of the Intermezzo from his Organ Symphony Op 5, by Augustin Barie (with an acute accent on the 'e', but I haven't learned how to do that on the computer yet!!). This was a very charming piece with most unusual harmonies - but probably difficult. Dr Davison tells us that he had never heard of Barie until attending recently the St Albans Festival when this piece was played. Quite by coincidence, he was in Scotland a short time later, went into a music shop, and asked if they had any organ music. They said they didn't except for ' this one piece of music' - yes, you've guessed, it was the Intermezzo.
For lovers of choral music, the most exciting element was, perhaps, the singing of the Down & Connor Boys Choir under the direction of James Moyna and Assistant Director Helen Frame. This Choir is based at St Peter's Cathedral, and was formed in 2001 under the patronage of Bishop Patrick Walsh. In the short time since its institution, Mr Moyna has achieved a distinctive sound - unforced sweet singing, always in tune. The members of the choir are well-disciplined and beautifully turned out in magnificent blue robes. It is great tribute to James and Helen, to the boys and to their parents that so much has been created and achieved in a very short time. I suspect that we shall be hearing much more about the Choir which has already performed at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, at Castleward and on BBC. They are shortly to venture forth to Ballina Cathedral, Co Mayo.

Alas and alack, woe is me, and oops!
As I reported in the last Bulletin, a number of errors have arisen in our recently published members list. Some of these are as a result of production errors, but most arise because our members are always moving onward and upwards. So to ensure your copy is as up to date as possible, would you be kind enough to extract your list NOW and add in the following changes. For convenience, I am repeating the details contained in the September Bulletin:

Rev Nial Bayly has moved to ..........
Michael Carcharie Campbell is a recent member and has moved to ...........
Brian Clements lives at ..........; he assists at St Columba's PC Knock
Edward Craig is now Director of Music at Lisburn Cathedral
John Crothers lives at .......... Paris, France
Andrew Doggart now lives at .........., Reading, .......... (see item above)
Jim Drennan has qualifications Cert.Ed, LTCL, ALCM
Dr John Drennan BMus(Hons) is a most welcome new member who lives at ..........
David Drinkell lives at .......... St John's Newfoundland, A1C4C2, Canada. He is Organist and Choir Director at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist and the Queen's College. Tel No ..........
Philip Elliott's email address is ..........
Edwin Gray's tel no is ..........
Rev Canon Kenny is available to substitute -- WDS
Rev Allan Matchett is now living at .........., Foxrock, Dublin 18
Mrs S McCadden is the organist at Holywood First NS Presb Church
Roy McKay has qualifications BA, DipMus(OU), LTCL, CertEd(mus)
Andrew Orr now lives at .........., Blackburn ..........
Susan Somerville is now Mrs McCracken and lives with her husband Michael in Kilmore see list
Andrew Skelly lives at ..........
Richard Walker is another most welcome new member who lives at .........., and he's organist in St Mary's PC Collingbourne Kingston
Mrs Wiley's post code is ..........
Tim Wilson lives at ..........
Renewed apologies are offered where mistakes have arisen.

Professor Desmond Hunter at Clonard Monastery
If you were unable to be present at this Recital on 13th September 2003, you might wish to have a few details about the programme. Flor Peeters was born in a Belgian village in 1903, 100 hundred years ago. He studied at the Lemmens Institute and also in Paris where he was much influenced by Tournemire and by Dupre (once again, please imagine the acute accent!!). At the age of 22 he became organist of Mechelen Cathedral, and served in this position for the rest of his life - he died in 1986. Later he was Professor of Organ at Ghent Conservatoire, and subsequently became director and head of organ music in Antwerp Conservatoire. He was made a Baron in recognition of his eminence and influence.
More mature members of the Society may remember his visits (occasional alas) to the Province. He played in the now closed Donegall Square Methodist Church and in the Ulster Hall.
Flor Peeters taught Desmond Hunter when Desmond attended the Royal Flemish Conservatoire in Antwerp. His teacher recognised a 'good thing' when he saw and heard Desmond Hunter. In fact earlier this year, Desmond was chosen to give the Herdenkingsconcert Flor Peeters in Antwerp Cathedral, on 4th July 2003. This was in celebration of the centenary of the composer's birth. This is a wonderful honour for Desmond, and reminds us just how fortunate we are to have retained in the Province this talented international recitalist and teacher. In recognition of his distinction, Desmond Hunter was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2000. The measure of this is that there were only 20 fellowships awarded and Desmond's was the only one in Music within the UK.
The Recitalists Programme contained a balance of Flor Peeters' music, including his Concert Piece Op 52a, Vlaamse Rhapsodie Op 37 and Elegie Op 38. The finale was the Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur Ave Maris Stella, Op 28. This was supplemented by music of his contemporaries, Jongen and Tournemire.
Those who were present were fulsome in their praise not just of wonderful playing, but of the excellent quality of the organ and of the apt programme of music played. As our members will know, the instrument in Clonard has been restored, rebuilt and augmented in recent months by Kenneth Jones of Bray.

Once again USOC has presented an event of the highest standard, and we thank the Recitalist and the Authorities of the Clonard Monastery, and, of course the Members of the Society who attended.

The Treasurer reports
--that a list of too many members have still not paid their 2003 subscriptions; many perhaps don't realise that they have not done so. If you believe you may still have to pay, please forward your subscription right away to the Treasurer. This is not a good position for our Society to be in and we want quickly to be able to get our finances in order so that we will be able to retain current subscription levels at 20 full member, 12 student member and 7 overseas member. Please help if you can, and thank you.

And finally, Committee Members are asked to note that the next Committee meeting is scheduled to take place on Saturday 22nd November 2003 at 3.00 pm in St George's PC High Street, Belfast.

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