Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

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

The next USOC Event will be on Saturday 10th September at 3.00pm in the Church of the Good Shepherd. This beautiful Church is at Rosetta in Belfast, and may be found at the roundabout at the top of the Ravenhill and Ormeau Roads. In the opinion of the writer it is one of the most beautiful churches in Northern Ireland. There is a fine new Wells Kennedy organ in a West Gallery and a superb acoustic. The event will focus on Voice Lines and in particular the male alto part. Two distinguished USOC members will lead the event, Alistair Little, a Choral Scholar and David Martin, a Lay Clerk.

USOC Visit to Paris in 2006 will take place from Friday 28th April to Monday 1st May. This event is being very energetically arranged by USOC Paris member John Crothers. Fifty persons have registered an interest in this visit. Things have a habit of moving on fast, and now is the time to confirm your registered interest. Will, therefore, all those who wish to confirm their intention to go please return the enclosed form with a cheque for £100, made out to USOC, to the Secretary by 5th July 2005. We must do this now if we are to retain the hotel booking and maintain the cost of the visit at the low price originally mentioned. The Secretary will assume that you do not wish to confirm your booking if he does not receive payment on time. Thank you for your co-operation.

USOC Member List. Members receive each Summer, an up-dated member list with details of contact, availability to deputise and other information. You should receive your new list for 2005 in August. However, the quality of this list can only be as good as the information you provide. If therefore your details have changed in the past year or so, or if your details were incorrect last time around please return the enclosed form asap and in any case before 20th July 2005 to the Secretary. If you are content that your details are correct already, the information on the 2004 list will simply be duplicated in the new list, and you do not need to return the form. Many thanks for your help.

The Charles Wood Summer School. For the past number of years, USOC has been a sponsor of the Charles Wood Summer School in Armagh; this year is no exception. You should already have received a brochure. The Summer School begins on 22nd August 2005 with a concert by Carlo Curley and the Charles Wood Singers under the direction of David Hill at 8.00 pm in the CoI Cathedral. The final event is on Sunday 28th August when there will be a Choral Evensong in the CoI Cathedral with the Charles Wood Boys Choir, directed by USOC member Nigel McClintock. In between there are all sorts of vocal and organistic offerings – all very refreshing for a week in late August. Details from The Council Offices, The Palace Demesne, ARMAGH, BT60 4EL. Tel: 028 3752 9632.

The last USOC event at the beginning of June was a great success, being the Annual Members’ Concert Those attending – and there were 90 present - were treated to organ pieces (by Bach and Franck) by Ian Mills, the recently appointed Master of the Choristers at St Columba’s Cathedral, Derry. Also playing the organ (again Franck) was Stephen Timpany, who has recently qualified DipRCO. For the choral sections, there was great singing by the Boys Choir of Glastry School on the Ards Peninsula. This Choir is conducted by Stephen Timpany. They performed a number of items that a good Church Choir could manage easily; but, they performed the pieces sensitively and every word was audible. Apparently this Choir was formed for a particular event, and afterwards, the boys asked for the Choir to continue in existence. There were 18 in the Choir, and they sang with evident enjoyment and gusto; what a tribute to its Director. The organ in the Church is a large three manual Hunter, giving the appearance of being beautifully constructed. The French style came through very well as did the Bach registrations.

A Vacancy - Makin Organs have contacted the Society. They are looking for an energetic representative in Northern Ireland and also for the Republic. The ideal candidate is said to be ‘an organist with an outgoing personality’. If you are this person and fill the bill, contact Dr Keith A Harrington, Managing Director, Makin Organs, Tel: 01706 888 100. email: keith@makinorgans.co.uk, or www.makinorgans .co.uk

And another – The Harlandic Male Voice Choir – is seeking a DIRECTOR of MUSIC. This well beloved Choir is now in its 61st year. There is a membership of 36 and they meet weekly during September to May in St George’s Parish Church Hall, Belfast. They sing up to 16 engagements each season including Church services and concerts. If you are interested in this position, please contact Mr John K Clark, 2 Rosevale, Antrim, BT41 1HA enclosing a CV. Your application should arrive by 30th July 2005.

And a coincidence – in the same set of messages as that from the Harlandic Choir vacancy, there was an e-message from USOC member David Drinkell from St John’s, Newfoundland where he is the Cathedral Organist - David was for years the accompanist for the Harlandic Male Voice Choir.

‘We are continuing to love it here. Great place, lovely people, wonderful cathedral, excellent organ, Book of Common Prayer at all main services! The music is going really well and we're now singing quite a respectable repertoire (current list attached). I have my 100th weekly lunch-time concert last Wednesday and I'm recording a monthly recital for a local radio station. Last Saturday we staged a Come and Sing Messiah, directed by Giles Bryant from Toronto. Apart from the cathedral, I'm looking after music in the local theological school (Queen's College) at Memorial University. We've had a few little jaunts, including one down to the Burin Peninsula last Fall. I gave a recital on a little Bevington organ in the local United Church and some of the choir came with me to sing some motets. It was a very pleasant week-end, sleeping in log cabins - great craic! A few weeks ago the choir went 'Round the Bay' (north of St. John's - south is 'Down the Shore') to sing Evensong at Carbonear. A little Casson Positive organ, but they also have an old barrel organ in a gallery. In November, we had a concert at a neighbouring church to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Casavant, the organ builders. A number of local organists played and I was asked to give the Newfoundland premiere of a big new work by Dan Locklair which Casavants had commissioned. There were premieres in other provinces on the same day, but ours was the first because of our time zone.
I'm repeating last year's 'Last Night of the Proms' concert in a few weeks' time. Pomp & Circumstance No.1, Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Rule Britannia, Jerusalem, &c. Last year everyone brought flags and teddy bears and sang their hearts out. Then the following week i'm giving a recital at the RC Basilica just up the road. It will be the first organ recital they've had there for a number of years. The organ is a divided one with four manuals at the west end and two at the east. The main organ is not in very good shape but Casavants have been to do some work so I hope it will behave itself.
The winter wasn't so bad this year - we had three or four heavy snow falls and the green outside our house was piled up twenty feet high from the ploughs until Easter. Just now it's wet and foggy but we expect a good summer.

I hope all is going well. Give my regards to all the members.
Best wishes,
David Drinkell, Organist & Choir Director, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, St. John's, Newfoundland

Please note that Brian Carson’s next recital at St Jude’s PC on Ormeau Road Belfast is on 22nd July 2005 at 1.00pm to 1.30pm.
All welcome to attend.

Pedal Piano available – a rare object indeed! Many members will know that the School of Music at the University of Ulster, which is under the direction of USOC Honorary Member Professor Desmond Hunter FRCO, relocated to the Magee Campus in Derry. The premises at Jordanstown, Dalriada House, which has to be vacated on 31st August 2005, contains a pedal piano which will have to go to a good home. Originally fitted by William McDonald, USOC member, the attachment will be of excellent quality. Please contact Professor Hunter at Tel: 028 7157 5137, or email: d.hunter@ulster.ac.uk

New Members are always welcome, and we have had a very healthy influx this year. We are joined this month by Richard Crowe, _____________ Knock, Belfast BT_____. Richard is a well known musician in the Studio Symphony Orchestra where he plays the bassoon. He is married to an oboeist, has a bassoonist son, a French horn playing son and a further son who is a musical technologist. Richard was brought up in Yorkshire on a heavy diet of York Minster and Francis Jackson, so he knows a thing or two. Also joining up is Mr Ian Harvey, _____________ Liverpool, L_____; Ian is an organ builder who is associated with the Wells Kennedy Partnership. Finally, we have also been joined by student member Dr Edwin Aiken, _____________ Annalong, Newry, Co Down, BT______. Richard, Ian and Edwin, you are all most welcome to the Society! May your respective associations be long and fruitful.

Some member details have been changed:
John Murphy’s address is _____________, Bangor, BT_______ Tel: 028 _____________
Christine Bradley has moved to: _____________, Portadown, BT_______ Tel: 079_____________
Stewart McClenaghan has moved to: _____________, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, BT______ Tel: 028 _____________
Philip Kennedy’s new email address is: _____________

Subscriptions for 2005 – we are nearly at mid-summer, and a few subscriptions are still owing to the Society. If yours is one of these, please let the Treasurer have your dues as soon as possible. Please help to keep your Society afloat! Many thanks for your help.

Thank you very much for your interest and support.

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