Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

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

Our next event ------- Choral Workshop.
Please note in your diary the next USOC event, and even better, ensure that you make a point of being present. Once again, we anticipate a superb occasion with the Choir as the subject matter. Our Member, Philip Stopford is the recently appointed Director of Music at Belfast Cathedral, St Anne's. Philip has agreed to conduct a workshop with two choirs at St Columba's Parish Church, Knock, Belfast on Saturday, 13th March at 3.00pm. The two choirs concerned are St Columba's PC, Knock (Gerald Hill) and Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church (Neale Agnew). The grapevine intimates that Philip Stopford may produce a new work for the Society on that occasion!!
Furthermore, Philip has invited those who are interested to take matters further, to Belfast Cathedral, on Wednesday, 17th March 2004 at 8.00pm as a 'follow up' to the workshop, when you will be able to see him in action with his own Choir; this will be confirmed on 13th March at St Columba's. This is clearly a very important event for any choir trainer and also choir members; you will be guaranteed an injection of fresh ideas, as well as a most enjoyable experience. So, again let us see a packed house on both occasions.

Colm Carey comes to town -
As noted in the last Bulletin, the recently appointed Belfast City Organist has his opening concert in the Ulster Hall on 12 March 2004 at 7.45pm with the Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Fergus Shiel. Prior to the concert, Dr Joe McKee will be in conversation with Colm Carey, at 7.00pm - this is free! Brochure is enclosed.

And another event ----Need a Tonic?
If you do, just pop down to Bangor Academy on Saturday 20th March 2004. There, SIMON GLEDHILL will lift your spirits as he weaves his magic at the console of the Tonic Theatre Organ. His programme of light music will include accompaniment of a silent movie, and it all begins at 8.00pm
As you will probably know, Simon is widely acknowledged to be one of the world's top performers in this field and has presented programmes in many countries around the globe. He also has several excellent CDs to his credit, some of which will be on sale at the concert. This is his fourth visit to play at Bangor. Perhaps you might also note that the school in which the Tonic Organ has been installed for the past 30 years is now due for demolition. Another venue is therefore being sought for the organ - the only one of its type now left in the Province. There will not be many more opportunities to hear the organ in its present location.
Tickets will be available at the concert at 7.00.
Approaching the school from Belfast, proceed along the Bangor Ring Road in the direction of Groomsport and at the first roundabout past the Bloomfield (Marks & Spencer) Shopping Centre, turn right on the road signposted to 'Carrowdore'. The school is on your right, just a short distance along this road. Do try to make it if you have not been to one of these concerts before - you will not regret it!

And after that ---------Pipes and Chips!
The USOC April event is on 24th April 2004 at 3.00 pm beginning at Donaghadee Parish Church, and thence to Greyabbey Presbyterian Church where William McDonald will play for us. This provides an opportunity to see and hear a brand new pipe organ of highest quality, and a computer organ, also of highest quality, in action, in interesting venues. Again, please do try to attend this interesting event.

Concerts in Christ Church---
Our member, William West, of whom we hear far too little, organises series of concerts in Christ Church, Londonderry. As many members will know, the entire Church has recently been extensively renovated. It is now an accoustical gem which has not only been ordered for worship, but also to facilitate significant attendances at recitals and concerts. William has been organising concerts featuring the 3 manual organ in concert with other instruments. The organ is a stunning instrument both aurally and visually, and a visit to the venue will be well repaid. The organ, which is largely new, by Wells Kennedy, is based on the old Willis; there is a really magnificent new case designed by Christopher Gordon Wells. It is one of these organs which now features an internal layout which is as visually pleasing as its external perspectives.

The following dates are noted:
1st April 2004 Anne Bergin (oboe), John Bergin (violin) with Adrian Anderson (organ)
6th May 2004 Joanna Higgins (soprano) & Derek Collins (organ)
3rd June 2004 Linda Rea Herland (violin) & William West (organ)
Do try one or more of these excellent concerts.

Woe is me --- An Elusive Honorary member!
In accepting the job of Secretary of a society such as ours, one's neck is constantly poised under the Guillotine!
This time I have to apologise most profusely to one and all (and not least the man himself) for omitting to include in the last Bulletin the name of IAN HUNTER in our list of Honorary Members. This was of course a monumental omission, as there are few who have done so much for this Society as Ian has done over decades. His was an unsung role in producing and distributing all the paper work -and in particular the News Sheets and Bulletins -- for USOC, quite apart from very regularly mounting interesting musical events for the Society and, of course, his great contribution to music in the Province.
Characteristically, it was not Ian himself who brought the omission to my attention; and this highlights the importance to us of vigilant members who can ensure we remain in touch and maintain accuracy.
My humble apologies to Ian and to all our members.

And other changes-
Perhaps members would be kind enough to note the following amendments on your membership lists:
Michael McCracken's email is now ...
Richard Walker has now moved to Co Down and his new address is: ..., Ardglass, Co Down, BT... Tel 028... email ...
Donald Hamilton is now organist and choirmaster at Belmont Presbyterian Church, Belfast
Alasdair MacLaughlin is now organist and choirmaster at St Ignatius PC, Carryduff, Belfast
We are delighted to welcome new member Peter Simpson of ..., Belfast BT... Tel no 028.... Peter is student member, and plays on a rota basis at Sydenham Methodist Church, Belfast

IAO Business
Members will know that USOC is affiliated to the Incorporated Association of Organists (IAO). This body covers local associations right across the UK, and publishes the ORGANISTS REVIEW quarterly. We pay an affiliation fee each year which in our case amounts to a figure of 2.72 per member. Some USOC members over the years have questioned why we belong to the IAO. It is important therefore that members do know why we continue to commit our Society to IAO.
There are many benefits to our membership. Some of these are to the individual. So, for example, the Organists Review is available to members of USOC at a discounted rate of 17 per annum (ie 4.25 per copy) as against 21 per annum (ie 5.25 per copy). This magazine is a most enjoyable and instructive read with something for every Church Musician within its covers, in full colour. For some odd reason a proportion of our members do not take this excellent magazine. If you haven't read it, you are missing a great deal. For any member, therefore, taking the Organists Review as a member of an affiliated society gains you 4 per annum. Other benefits accrue to the Society; one example may suffice to convince doubters. USOC events, by virtue of our affiliation, are covered for public liability insurance. Were we to have to provide this for ourselves the costs would be likely to be at least twice the total we pay to IAO. So, it really is a bargain for USOC to be affiliated.

Anyone wanting to know more should contact the Hon Secretary. You may wish to note that Alasdair MacLaughlin represents the Society on the Council of IAO.

Filthy Lucre -
Members frequently ask if the Society has recommended fee rates for Church Musicians. The answer to this is, we do not.
However, recently the Society has received a publication from a diocesan music organisation from another European jurisdiction whose recommendations make interesting reading:

Funerals  85 euros minimum with 40 cents per km travelling.
Weddings  125 euros minimum but should be higher where rehearsal is required, or music bought.
Band A    One service, no choir					2509 euros pa
Band B    One service, choir with Sunday rehearsal		3345 euros pa
Band C    One service, choir with weekday rehearsal		4183 euros pa
Band D    Two services, no choir				4183 euros pa
Band E    Two services, choir with Sunday rehearsal		5395 euros pa
Band F    Two services, choir with a weekly rehearsal		6525 euros pa

These are simply noted here without further comment. They do not in any way represent the views of USOC, its Committee, or its office bearers.

Vacant Console -
McQuiston Memorial Presbyterian Church, in East Belfast is now seeking an organist. There is a useful choir and a two manual organ. There are soon to be major renovations in the Church and this includes the provision of a 'new' organ. The person to contact for details is the Secretary, Mr J Chivers, tel no 02890 791246.

London Visit on May Day weekend ---
Arrangements are virtually complete for this major annual event - all credit to a very busy James Little for arranging everything so efficiently despite a huge workload in his day job. The venues are most exciting and very different, ranging from the Tower of London, to the Palace of Westminster, St Magnus the Martyr, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Croydon Parish Church, All Souls, Margaret Street - and that is not all. Any further information is available from the Secretary.

Serving our members ---
Members of the Society may like to note that the Bulletin is only as valuable as the information we receive. Some of this comes from our members and some from other sources. Please tell us if there are things you would like to see in the Bulletin. Please tell us if there is information you have that you would like to see published. If you are one of our 'overseas' members, do send us the odd communication and let us know what you are doing, and we can communicate your news to other members. If you have an event you want publicised to other members, do let us know. If you know of vacant consoles or music/instruments for sale, perhaps we will be able to help; we can report sales recently through the Society of an electrone and a harmonium, for example. These are all grist to the Bulletin's mill.

And while we are at it, if you know of someone who is not a member of the Society who jolly well ought to be, do let us know; if you cannot approach them directly, we will find someone else to do so. It would be great to increase further the membership of our Society.

Many thanks for your continuing support.

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