Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

U.S.O.C. Newsletter - February 2004

First Things First !
A very Happy New Year to all our Readers; thank you for your continuing support and your interest in the Society. It is very difficult to believe that this is being prepared as the first month of 2004 is in the past! The Annual General Meeting of the Society took place on the second Saturday in January. There was a good turnout, and we were given splendid facilities by our members Jean and Stewart McCadden, and the Minister and authorities at Holywood First Presbyterian (non-subscribing) Church - many thanks to them, and in particular for the wonderful tea that they provided.
The new Committee and Office Bearers selected at the AGM are as follows:

* PRESIDENT		Michael Tregenna

* VICE PRESIDENTS	Rodney Bambrick
			James Little

* Honorary Secretary	Alasdair MacLaughlin
			16 Malone Hill Park, Belfast BT9 6RD
			Tel 02890 669273  email; amaclaughlin@uk2.net

* Honorary Treasurer	Philip Walden
			20 Hazeldene Avenue, Bangor, BT20 4RA
			Tel 02890 91473643 email; Philip.Walden@btinternet.com

* Committee - 2004	William Adair	Barbara Callender  Michael Callender
			Eileen Kerr	David McElderry	   Ivan Millen
			David Rutherford   plus the above listed Office Bearers.

* Honorary Auditor	John Wright

* Webmaster		Alistair McCartney

Members will be pleased to note that subscriptions will be retained at 20 per ordinary member, at 12 per student member, and at 7 per member living outside Northern Ireland; these are payable at 31st January in the year to which membership relates.
Please don't hesitate to contact any member of this team if you need anything that the Society can provide.

A Note from the Hon Treasurer
The Hon Treasurer has asked that all members are reminded that subscriptions become due at 31st January in the year to which they relate. To assist everyone there is a facility for establishing a Standing Order which will remove the challenge of remembering year by year when to pay. Last year too many members for the comfort of the Society neglected to pay their subscriptions at all - this puts a severe strain on the finances of the Society. Please help the Hon Treasurer keep us solvent.
In this connection, a number of very generous members have, when they paid their subscriptions, added an extra 2 to help swell the Arthur Beggs Travel Fund - or have made other generous gifts - to enrich the experience of young organists in our Province. We still target to achieve a capital sum of 10,000.
Today, we have just over 8000. It is by generous donations, often very modest that we have come as far as we have, so far; please consider helping future generations of young organists by adding in that extra 2 when you pay your subscription - if every member did so we would not be long in reaching our target! Very many thanks.

Dunleath Organ Scholarship Trust
This Trust was established in memory of our late Member, Henry, the Lord Dunleath, who did so much for organists around his native Province. The purpose of the Trust is to assist young organists who wish to enhance their interest in the organ as a player, as someone focussing on organ design/ construction, or in some other capacity worthy of support. Applications are now invited from suitably qualified candidates. The closing date will be 30th April 2004 and this year the value of the Award will be around 750. If you wish to explore this further (applicants must normally be under the age of 25), contact the following for further information and application forms:
Professor Desmond Hunter, Dept of Music, University of Ulster at Magee, Northland Road, Londonderry, BT48 7JL. Email: d.hunter1@ulst.ac.uk

New Belfast City Organist
Many of our readers will know that Belfast has had a new City Organist since October 2003. Fewer, however, will have come across him. However, this is all to change, as Colm Carey has been very busy ensuring that he has made contact with the many key people within the musical structure of Northern Ireland, and has been able to float out many of his very exciting ideas, particularly in relation to musical education. Colm is very anxious to bring the organ into the mainstream of musical activity and to remove it from the ghetto of intense specialisation in which the instrument has so often been consigned. In this way its appeal can be widened, when people realise that the organ is not simply confined to churches and to music of specialised and solo interest.
In case we have given the wrong impression, it is important to note that Colm is also a working church organist as well as being an international recitalist! He is the organist of St Peter's ad Vincula in the Tower of London, and he is a dedicated teacher of young organists; this led him to the founding the London Organ Summer Course in 2001 with colleague Ann Elise Smoot.
We are therefore indeed fortunate to have Colm Carey - and he's Irish into the bargain. He is a member of the Society and we will be supporting him whenever we can. We will be hearing much more of him on a progressive basis as he rolls out his work programme and as his profile becomes established more fully.
In the meantime, readers will wish to note Colm Carey's Inaugural Concert as Belfast City Organist. There's a leaflet enclosed with this Bulletin which advertises the event on 12th March 2004 with the Ulster Orchestra; the concert is, of course in the Ulster Hall., and is conducted by Fergus Shiel. Do try to support Colm in this his first major concert in his new post.

New Honorary Life Member
Earlier mention of the name of Professor Desmond Hunter highlights the fact that we now have a new HONORARY LIFE MEMBER. To organists, Professor Hunter needs no introduction. He is a local recitalist and academic authority with an International Reputation, and as such, the Committee felt that it was appropriate to honour him in recognition of his work which so enhances the musical reputation of Northern Ireland.
Professor Hunter joins a very select band of eminent persons, who are also Honorary Life members of the Society, namely: Christopher Gordon Wells MBE, Rodney Bambrick, and Silke Reimann.

Vacant Console
Please note that Regent Street Methodist Church, Newtownards is seeking an organist. There is apparently a Choir Leader in place, and the organist will work with the Leader in accompanying traditional and contemporary music. The organ is a two manual Conacher, and there is also a piano. Two services each Sunday is the norm and Choir practice is midweek.
Interested? Contact Mr Derek Cunningham, 1 Beechfield Avenue, Conlig, Bangor, BT19 7ZY Tel: 0281 9145 4710.

Contacts from 'Overseas members'
It is always lovely to hear from our 'Overseas' members. Silke Reimann hopes to join the London trip in May - Silke, it is always great to see you. Jill Greer has written to us from Chadlington near Oxford. She plays the organ on a subbing basis around the area. Sadly, she says that some have gone electronic, but thankfully there are still some fine organs around the area, and of course in Oxford itself. Jill, thank you for your continuing interest in the Society. John Crothers writes from Paris where he hopes soon to be accompanying the English Cathedral Singers at the Madeleine (John's new address is 15 rue Maurice Hartmann, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, FRANCE). Finally, David Drinkell - and Elspeth who has now joined him, have settled well in St John's, Newfoundland. David is giving a recital each week in the Cathedral and these are well attended. He also reports that the congregation there, quite often joined by the Dean, wait in their pews to listen to his recessional Voluntary! David, it is great to hear that you and Elspeth are happy in your new posting.

Some Changes
Please note in your membership lists:
John Crother's; new address above. Tel (0033) ... email: ... Mobile Tel (0033) ...
Michael McCracken and Susan McCracken (formerly Somerville) ... Downpatrick, ... Tel/Fax ...

In Conclusion
Please, make it your business this year to support the Members' Programme for 2004. Please note the following in your diaries: 13th & 17th March 2004 - A Choirmaster in Action, with Philip Stopford at St Columba's PC, Knock, Belfast and Belfast Cathedral.
24th April 2004 - Pipes & Chips with Wm McDonald at Donaghadee PC and Geyabbey Pres Church. Other details and future dates for June, Sept, and Oct dates to be advised later. Normally events on a Saturday commence at 3.00pm. In November, on 24th, there will be the Belfast Community Organ Day.

A President's Valediction
At the AGM, a very significant change took place in the active governance of our Society when the personage of Rodney Bambrick handed over the reins of Presidential Office to Michael Tregenna. Rodney wrote a statement which he has asked to be sent to all our Members - this is the next item in this Bulletin. Suffice to say at this stage that Rodney - one of the small and illustrious band of Honorary Life Members of our Society - believes that he has now effectively retired from active service. Well, we have news for him; he's a Vice President still and also a member of the Committee and his unique skills and insights, we hope, will be available to the Society for many years

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