Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

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

We hope that our members are enjoying the Summer and that they will have refreshing holidays as appropriate to their individual needs. USOC has an exciting Winter Programme for you and we hope that you will ALL feel inspired to come and enjoy those events. Please mark them in your diaries to ensure you will be there! All will be most welcome, so do come and bring your friends too!

Our NEXT event is a recital in St Patrick’s Cathedral (CoI) in Armagh on Saturday 18th September 2004. Beginning at 3.00pm, this will also be supported by the Friends of Armagh Cathedral. Our member, and the Master of Music at the Cathedral Theodore Saunders will present a programme of music with emphasis on the composer HEALEY WILLAN. He was an English organist/composer who ended his life in Canada.

Following this event in October at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, we have our annual Members’ Recital. The President has invited a very talented group of soloists to perform for us. We also anticipate some choral items as well from the Choir of Hillsborough Parish Church under the direction of our member Philip Elliott. More details in our September Bulletin, but do get it in your diary! The date is 9th October 2004 and the time will be 3.00pm, but again, we will, of course, confirm this in our next Bulletin.

Then, on 27th November 2004, we have the Belfast Community Organ Day. This is primarily sponsored by Belfast City Council. City Organist, Colm Carey, and Pat Falls at the Ulster Hall, have taken on this venture, which USOC started some years ago. During the day there will be Open Consoles around the City (organised by USOC), with a celebrity Recital in the evening! A little bird suggests that there may be a really famous recitalist coming! An important day for organists, and you can expect a visitation from the IAO during the programme too. Once again, please try to support these events – all welcome!

While on the subject of what’s on, may be you would like to note that Richard Hills – now organ scholar at Westminster Abbey - will be performing, wearing his other very talented hat, on the Bangor Academy Compton Theatre organ on 30th October 2004 at 8.00pm. This is likely to be one of the last occasions on which this organ – the only theatre organ now operating in NI – can be heard before it has to relocate. Do try and come – Richard is a fabulous player and these programmes are great fun!

Christ Church, Derry – some wonderful recitals still to go to! 2nd September – Recorders with member Mike Doherty playing the organ, 7th October, Music Students with Ian Mills, Organ, 4th November Chamber Musicians with Stewart Smith, Organ, and 2nd December, Darren Hargan, Organ. Great opportunities to hear excellent music and, of course the spectacular organ, rebuilt enhanced and enlarged recently by Wells Kennedy. The beautiful case is another designed by Christopher Gordon Wells MBE.

Congratulations to our member Claire Cousens who has attained her ARCO. No mean feat, we wish Claire all that is good. Claire is organ scholar at Magdelene College, Cambridge.
We note that our member Ian Keatley, Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral is to give a major recital in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral in the Autumn; congratulations to Ian.
In the most recent Organists Review, a CD of the music of our member Christopher Boodle is reviewed. Christopher has written some very approachable and catchy music for the organ which members may care to investigate. Why not try his Little Organ Book. Contact Christopher if you want details.

And another Vacant Console -- Regent Street Methodist Church is seeking an organist. There is a 2m Conacher with a new extended detached console. The Choir is four part, enthusiastic and dependable. Details from Mr Derek Cunningham, 1 Beechfield Avenue, Bangor, Co Down. Tel 028 9145 4710. He will be delighted to hear from you!


Our members will be aware that this is a very special year in the history of the Cathedral. Accordingly, there are a series of events in celebration of the Centenary. Amongst these is a special service to which organists and other Church musicians are being invited. This takes place at 3.30 pm on 19th September 2004, when the special speaker will be The Very Rev Dr William Morton, Dean of Derry. This will be followed by The Great Choir Service on 21st November 2004. Contact the Dean at the Cathedral for further details. In September 2004 and at Easter 2005, Songs of Praise will come from the Cathedral. The Cathedral wants to form a ‘Core Choir’. If you are interested in part singing for these occasions, contact the Cathedral office by phone or by email at admin@belfast cathedral.org

Members may care to note that Priory Records have recently issued a CD from Belfast Cathedral. This features the Choir of the Cathedral singing music for Advent and Christmas. It is called MYSTERIUM, and the programme is conducted by Philip Stopford with Ian Barber accompanying on the organ.

List of Members – 2004.

Enclosed with this Bulletin is your copy of the List of Members, which has just been prepared. We have done our best to expunge all errors, but Murphy’s Law may be at work; so we apologise in advance for the possibility of errors. We hope that it won’t be in your details, but if that turns out to be the case, please let the Hon Secretary know as soon as possible, so that corrections can be published in the next Bulletin. Very many thanks.

The Charles Wood Summer School 2004 - Armagh.

We want to draw your attention to the Armagh Summer School. This is taking place from 22nd to 29th August 2004. You should already have received copies of the programme. But if you haven’t telephone Armagh 028 3752 9632 for more information or email a.mcclintock@armagh.gov.uk
The Summer School Director this year is David Hill, newly appointed to St John’s College, Cambridge, and he will be assisted by our member Nigel McClintock of Croydon Parish Church.
Do try to attend as many of the events as you can – it is a marvellous programme that has been planned. USOC, as has become customary, is a co-sponsor of the Summer School.

Leslie McCarrison Memorial

Thanks to the generosity of the Society and its members, we have been able to send off £300 for the use of the Ulster Orchestra, in memory of our late Honorary Life Member Leslie McCarrison who died recently. This is a fitting tribute to Leslie who did so much to help and assist Church Musicians, quite apart from his service to the community as RATHCOL.

Finally --- if anyone has not yet paid their sub to the Society for this year, please do so as soon as you possibly can. It is increasingly difficult for our kind of enterprise to keep going if the money does not come in when it should.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Return to Archive Page Return to Home Page