Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

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

New Members! – It’s always a joy to welcome new members. This month we have been joined by Stephen Timpany. Stephen lives at_________, Donaghadee, Co Down, BT________. Also, we add Liam Crangle of ____________, Armagh, BT__________. We are delighted that you have joined USOC, and hope that you will gain much interest and stimulus from your involvement.

Annual USOC Members’ Recital - please note in your diary our next USOC event which takes place in Belfast Cathedral – St Anne’s – on Saturday 9th October 2004 at 3.00pm. On this occasion, we will hear a real feast of music from organists Mark McGrath, Alfred Casement and Stephen Hamill, and from Hillsborough Parish Church Choir under the direction of Philip Elliott. The big Harrison organ will be ‘on parade’. It is always a joy to listen to the instrument, while the difficult acoustic will be tackled, no doubt superbly, by the Choir. Not only will it be an exciting occasion for its intrinsic worth, but also, don’t forget that these are our members performing for us; they deserve our enthusiastic support. Each will have invested heavily in talent to give us pleasure. So please come along in droves and bring your friends with you. You will find enclosed a flyer for this event; please display it prominently or give it to someone who might help swell the numbers.

Belfast Community Organ Day – follows on Saturday 26th November 2004. This provides an opportunity for our members to help promote ‘our instrument.’ Please bring this to the attention of anyone you feel may be interested and plan to attend yourself. There will be Workshops in the morning and ‘Open Consoles’ in the afternoon, organised by USOC -- some really interesting places to visit, see, hear and play the instruments. All have interesting organs. Later, in the evening, there will a celebrity recital in the Ulster Hall with Nicholas Kynaston. Do put this in your diary. The entire Event is under the auspices of the City Organist, Colm Carey and the Belfast City Council. More details in the next Bulletin in October.

Other events to note – on Monday 11th October 2004, in St Phillip & St James, Holywood PC at 8.00pm is a Schubert and Handel at Harvestide concert under the direction of USOC member Edwin Gray. Please see the enclosed flyer for details; this is a major event, so do get along and support the initiative! Members will also know that there is an array of events currently running at the Belfast Cathedral to celebrate the centenary – you will have received publicity in plenty separately.
Then on 30th October 2004, the Ulster College of Music is holding ‘Musical Extravaganza’ at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast at 7.00pm. This will be given by the College Tutors whom we all know have enormous performing talents as well as their teaching gifts. A great night is in prospect.
Next year, there is a planned ‘Come and Sing’ Event at Clandeboye, 30th March to 1st April 2005. Led by Andrew Padmore (a former organist at Belfast Cathedral), and supported by Gareth Green, Organist of Sheffield University. The climax will be a ‘come and sing’ performance in Bangor Abbey of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’.

Society for Promoting New Music(spnm) – is currently promoting music for the organ. On 1st December 2004, David Goode will perform in London 10 new pieces by new composers for the organ. Five composers will then go forward to be commissioned to write a completely new piece for the organ of St Botolph-without Aldgate Church in the City of London which is being restored and rebuilt during 2005. The Renatus Harris instrument was installed in the Church in 1676. I know at least one of our composing members wants to know more. If you do too, then let the Secretary know as soon as you can!

Wanted to purchase – our member Edwin Gray is anxious to lay his hands on copies of the old Irish Church Psalter. They should be the pointed version for choirs, and he needs fifty copies or thereabouts. If you can help Edwin, please contact him direct at tel No : 028 9754 2425.

Vacant Console – another vacant console has been notified to us. This time it is Scarva Street Presbyterian Church, Banbridge who require an Organist/ Choir Leader. This Church describes itself as a progressive, evangelical congregation. They seek someone who loves Christ and music, and is happy to work with a blend of traditional/contemporary material. The main duties are described as playing the organ (‘British’ pipe organ(sic) made by Charles Smethurst) or piano at both morning and evening services each Sunday and choir practice for 9 months of the year. There is also talk of involvement in midweek music groups. Salary is negotiable. Applications to/Information from Rev Andrew Watson, The Manse, Scarva Street, Banbridge, Co Down BT32 3AD. Tel no. 028 4062 2265.

CDs from Armagh – This month we are featuring two CD sets by Cathedral Organists of the Ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland.
The first is ‘George Minne plays St Patricks Cathedral Organ’. Our member Baron George Minne recorded this production a year or two ago on the restored and enlarged Telford/Irish Organ Co instrument in the RC Cathedral. This is a 74 stop four manual organ which includes a Trompette Real. George Minne’s programme contains music from 1550 to the twentieth century. He has gone to enormous trouble to find a programme containing music by composers of whom most of us will know little, such as Clausman, Post, Mailly, Julien, Froberger and Raison; but there is also music from Bach, Walcha, Guillment, Widor and Peeters. The organ in the majestic Cathedral sounds very grand in many of the tracks. This is a great bargain. There are 140 minutes of play, two CD discs, 20 composers and 21 tracks – in the package, so, excellent value at £10.00. Please let the Secretary know if you want a set.
The second is ‘Originals and Arrangements’ with Theo Saunders on the Walker/Wells Kennedy instrument in the CoI St Patrick’s Cathedral. This recently restored and enlarged instrument of 60 stops, has many beautiful colours and sounds. Our member, Theo Saunders, has only recently completed the recording, and he has gathered together music presented in 16 tracks by a range of composers including Willan, Langlais, Vierne, Russell, Yon, and of course Bach. The programme shows off the instrument well, and is a bargain at £10. Those who missed Theo’s recent recital of Healey Willan’s music for USOC on 18th September will be able to hear two of the pieces he played on that occasion. Contact Theo Saunders direct at 028 3752 8077, or if you prefer, let the Secretary know your requirements.

Please do support these two local productions; the organists themselves have put personal resources into them and deserve our support in retrieving their costs, and at the same time as giving us pleasure in wonderful music!

Organists’ Review We want to put in a plug for Organists’ Review (OR). This magazine is now regarded by many as the premier publication for organists, although there are of course others of merit too. The OR is a quarterly publication and is published in February, May, August, and November each year. It has several major articles, very good CD and tape Reviews, Music Reviews, and an educational section. There are articles on interesting organs, church,and other, musicians, technical guides for players, choral advice, and historical items. There is something for every Church Musician, and this particular reviewer keeps every copy he has ever bought and refers to them regularly. Each issue has around 100 pages.
The OR is very modestly priced for USOC members. As we are affiliated to the Incorporated Association of Organists, we are entitled to a concessionary rate of £17.00 (ie £4.25 per issue) inclusive of postage per annum for the four issues – surely a very good bargain as the full price is £4.95 per issue.
If you wish to take this publication, please let the Secretary know -- and if you are a canny type, and want to inspect a copy before you buy, also let the Secretary know. If you simply want to go ahead, simply send a cheque for £17.00 to ALLEGRO MUSIC, 82 Suffolk Street, Queensway, BIRMINGHAM, B1 1TA., or you can subscribe via their website: www.allegro.co.uk -- simply let them know you are a USOC member.

USOC Membership list August 2004 – as expected (but not hoped for!), there have been a number of errors and inaccuracies in the USOC Member list which went out with the August Bulletin. Some of these have arisen because members do not keep the Society informed of changes in their details, but some are the fault of the Secretary. If this has happened to your entry, the Secretary apologises unreservedly, and he asks for your forgiveness. Any further changes needed should be notified to the Secretary so that these may be published. You are now asked to record the changes that have emerged since the Membership List 2004 was published. If you do this now, it could save you inconvenience at a later date. Very many thanks. Rachel Adams: Tel No: should be 028 ________
Alfred Casement: Please correct his first name!
Claire Cousens: Should be BA(Cantab) and not BMus
Wallace Gillespie: Tel No: should be 028 _________
Jonathan Hardy: Should BA(Oxon) and not BMus
Ian Keatley: Add in that he is Director of the Southwark Cathedral Merbecke Choir
Emails are: ____________ _________________
Eileen Kerr: Is Deputy at Seapatrick PC, Banbridge.
J McDowell: Is no longer organist of Lambeg Parish Church.
Mark McGrath: Address is now; _____________, Belfast, BT_________ (no ‘phone).
Joe McKee: Email should be: ____________
Adrian McLaughlin: Address is now: ______________, Ballyclare, Co Antrim BT_________ Organist of Randalstown PC
Philip Stopford: Add Tel No: 028 ____________ email should be: _____________
Robert Woods: email is: ______________ Robert is off to Keele Univ. soon, so will have a new address. Good Luck, Robert!

Once again, our apologies where there are mistakes – and if you see any more, please let the Secretary know. The Secretary wishes to thank a small number of the Committee of USOC who burned the midnight oil to find other errors and omissions from which you have been saved by their efforts! They know who they are!

Please help improve our Society!

With this Bulletin you will find a pro - forma. The purpose of this is to improve our Society. You will also find a stamped addressed envelope addressed to the Secretary. This is to encourage EVERY member to respond. Please, will you do us a big favour, take a few moments and complete the questions as fully as you can. Please be blunt and frank in your answers. We need to know what you want from USOC, and we need to know your criticisms. Where can we improve,? What can we do differently? -- are just two questions we want to see answered.
Please don’t feel constrained by the questions we have asked – if you feel there are questions which we have not asked and should have, please give us your answers to those questions. WE DO NOT WANT THIS TO BE ONE OF THOSE COMMERCIAL STUNTS WHERE COMPANIES MANIPULATE THE FINDINGS FOR MORE PROFIT.
So please will you help, thereby enabling the Committee to develop our Society in the interests of all our MEMBERS. Thank you very much.

And finally, thanks to all our members who support our activities. We still appreciate the support and loyalty of all members, whether you are able to attend all, some or none of our events.


September 2004

Dear Member

As you know, the Society has an ambitious programme of events throughout the year, and normally meets once a month. The proposed events are brought to the Annual General Meeting each year by the outgoing Committee for endorsement or amendment by our Members.

Your Committee has been concerned for some time now that only a small proportion of our members attend our events on a regular basis. The total numbers attending can sometimes be as low as 30 and the average attendance over the year is not a great deal more.

I am also sure that you can appreciate the disappointment that those who give up their time to lead our events must feel when only a small number out of the total of nearly 200 actually turn up! It is fully recognised that members lead busy lives and perhaps Saturday afternoon – our traditional time for events – is not the best time to meet. The content of events may not be of sufficient interest to prompt members to set aside the time to attend. The venues may be inconvenient and there will be other factors. The Committee would therefore like to have your views, so that we can have the necessary information in hand to prepare the way forward.

Over the years, USOC has presented a wide range of first class events for members, and naturally we want to ensure that future programmes continue to be relevant, timely and worthy of your support.

I would therefore, be most grateful if you will help us – take a few minutes to complete the attached pro-forma which seeks your views. I can assure you that each response will be considered most carefully as we decide our programme of events for 2005/2006 and beyond. The responses are anonymous so please be very open and frank with us – tell what you REALLY think! If you want to make yourself known so that we can get back with any issues you might wish to discuss, then please feel free to include your name and address or telephone number.

I am sure that you will wish to help us. Accordingly may I, in anticipation of receiving your early response, thank you for taking the trouble to respond.

With very good wishes

Yours sincerely

Michael Tregenna

USOC President

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