Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

U.S.O.C. Newsletter - May 2005

The Bulletin has come in for a flurry of critiscism recently. Information has come from a number of quarters in our membership that some members can no longer read the print; it may interest members to know that the print size used has not in fact been changed during the service of the current and the previous Secretary. There has also been comment that there is too much detail, and that the publication is too wordy.
In any event, this month, the print will be full size and on one A4 sheet of paper. Less detail is therefore being provided. Members, of course, can judge for themselves; so do let us know what you think about this and the comparison with previous format. Thank you.

USOC June Event is the Annual Members’ Recital. This year we are at St Comgall’s PC, Bangor, Co Down, where there is a fine three manual Hunter organ. The event is at 3.00pm on Saturday 4th June 2005. Performing on the organ will be Ian Mills, ARCO, Master of the Choristers at St Columba’s Cathedral, Derry. There will be a Choral element from the Boys’ Choir of Glastry College, under their conductor Stephen Timpany.

USOC September Event is another Choral occasion. It will be held in the Church of the Good Shepherd at Rosetta, on the Ormeau Road, Belfast, on 10th September. There is a fine new two manual organ there, it has a beautiful acoustic and is a glorious Church. The focus will be on the male alto choral line. Two distinguished USOC members will be leading the occasion. They are David Martin, a Lay Clerk in Westminster Abbey, and Alastair Little, a Choral Scholar.

Other Events relevant to our Members are listed:

20th May 2005. Music in May at Hillsborough PC, Co Down. At 7.45pm, and featuring the Choir of the Parish Church, directed by Philip Elliott, and with vocal solos from Trevor Martin, tenor.
21st May 2005. Colm Carey is providing a major event at Clonard Monastry where there is a fine three manual organ. Between 1.00pm and 4.00pm, Colm Carey is conducting a workshop as a sequel to that he gave at the Belfast Community Organ Day last November. Observers are most welcome free of charge. Then at 8.00pm, Colm Carey gives a major recital of music by Wesley, Pachelbel, Bach, Rawsthorne, Leighton, Yon, Jongen and Vierne.
22nd May 2005. Choral Evensong in Belfast Cathedral, when a newly commissioned anthem in memory of the late John Frost OBE, by Philip Stopford, will be sung. The Service is at 3.30pm. The background to this anthem is that John Frost was collaborating on a project to have a new work commissioned for performance in May 2005, when Methodism commemorates the conversion experiences of John Wesley. When John Frost OBE died earlier this year, a group of his friends carried forward this project in his memory; he was, of course a former President of USOC.
21st – 25th May 2005. The Cork 2005 International Pipe Organ Festival. Information from www.irishpipeorgans.com, or telephone 0353 21 490 3079.
24th June 2005. Brian Carson is giving monthly recitals at St Jude’s PC, Ormeau Road Belfast. Next scheduled is 24th June 2005, and monthly thereafter, on the final Friday.
22nd – 28th August 2005. The Charles Wood Summer School in Armagh. Further details will be sent to you later; meantime you may wish to note that it is planned that the opening concert will be given by Carlo Curley in the St Patrick’s COI Cathedral. David Hill will once again be in charge of the Summer School with Nigel McClintock.
12th November 2005. Richard Hills in concert at the Tonic Cinema Theatre Organ by Compton, in the Bangor Academy at 8.00pm.
16th – 26th November 2005 is the Holywood Music Festival. There is a group of three organ classes in the Festival – ORGAN up to Grade Five, ORGAN Grade Six to Grade Eight, and ORGAN – Open. These will be held in the Parish Church of St Philip and St James, and rehearsal can be arranged through the Organist and Director of Music, Edwin Gray, tel 028 9754 2425. Closing date for entries is 1 October 2005, but organists wishing to take part will wish to begin to prepare now. Entry forms and Syllabus available now from Matchetts Music, Belfast Music Supplies or from Sharon Yarr (Secretary) Tel 028 90 590995.

Congratulations to distinguished USOC member Dr Harry Grindle on the award of an Honorary Doctorate from the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is a rare distinction indeed, and Dr Grindle becomes the only recipient in Ireland, in recent times. Wessex trip participants might like to note that Alan Thurlow, who so generously received the USOC party at Chichester, is also to receive an Honorary Doctorate at the same ceremony in June 2005.

New Members continue to enrol, and we welcome most warmly the following:
Robert T Ferris OBE, BBS, FCIM, LTCL, _________, Islandmagee, Co Antrim, BT_______. Tel 028 ________ Whitehead Methodist Church Organist
John S Mercer BA, LGSM, LTCL, ___________, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, BT_______. Tel 028 ________. Retd. Belmont Presbyterian Church
Christopher F MacLaughlin, ___________, Saintfield, Co Down, BT________.
Geoff Higgins, ____________, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, BT_________, Tel: 028 __________, Organist Sinclair Seamen’s Presbyterian Church
Dr Iris K Millar, BSc PhD LTCL, __________, Ballymena, Co Antrim, BT________, Tel: 028 _________. Organist, St Colmanell’s, Ahoghill.
We hope you will all have a long and fruitful association with the Society.

Members’ Details - the following have changed their addresses recently. Please alter your member list:
Stewart McClenaghan now lives at: __________, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, BT_______. Tel. 028 __________.
Brian Steadman now lives at: ___________, Dundonald, BT________

USOC ‘Overseas Visit’ - every May Day Weekend, USOC arranges a trip to other places over three days. This gives members the opportunity to visit wonderful churches, hear fabulous music and to play several wonderful instruments. A party of forty have recently arrived back from Wessex – visiting Portsmouth, Salisbury, Winchester and Chichester Cathedrals, as well as several other major venues. Everyone is most grateful to James Little who organised the visit, and to Stephen Hamill who prepared a marvellous guide booklet and played at several locations for us.
Next year, USOC member John Crothers, now resident in Paris, is organising a visit to the French Capital. He has organised access to organ lofts, including the opportunity to play famous instruments located there. Visits are likely to several Cathedrals, including Notre Dame and the American Cathedral, as well as to places like St Ettienne du Mont and St Sulpice. It is intended, to depart on the Friday (and not as is usual on Saturday) and return on Monday evening. The cost of this visit is likely to be around £275 per person sharing a room, with an £80 supplement for those requiring a single room. It would be most helpful if all those who believe they will go on this trip will let us know before the 15th June 2005. Please, therefore, return the enclosed form if you believe you wish to go on this trip.



FRIDAY 28th April – MONDAY 1st May 2006

I wish to put my name on the list of those who believe at this time that they wish to participate in this visit.

I understand that the cost is likely to be £275 per person sharing a hotel room, with a supplement of £80 for those wishing to have a single room.

I note that this visit is one night longer than the usual three days away, and would necessitate being off work on Friday 28th April 2006.

Name _____________________________________________________


Tel. Number ___________________________________________

Please return this form to the Secretary, Alasdair MacLaughlin, 16 Malone Hill Park, BELFAST, BT9 6RD.
Please return the form by 10th June 2005, if possible.


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