Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

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

Last Event was one of our best attended occasions in recent years with over 100 present. It was characterised by simply wonderful playing by Donald Davison on the new organ in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosetta, Belfast, and by stunning singing of quite ravishing beauty. Of particular note was the premier of a work commissioned by Wells Kennedy Partnership for the occasion. This music was for solo counter tenors, sung by David Martin (a lay clerk of Westminster Abbey) and by Timothy Little (a choral scholar of Jesus College, Cambridge), the Belfast Cathedral Youth Choir (formed in 2004), and two organs played by Richard Campbell and Ian Barber. The work, The Creation, was magical and the spine tingle factor was palpable. This work was by Philip Stopford and he directed the first performance.

NB NB NB Our next USOC Event was to have been an organ crawl to Dublin. We are very sorry that for logistical reasons involving the various venues, this has had to be postponed until March 2006. Accordingly, the visit to Dublin will not now take place in October 2005.

Instead there will be a session in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Malone Road, Belfast on the accompaniment of new hymns, worship songs and other music. This will be at 3.00pm, on Saturday 22nd October 2005 and all USOC members and their friends are invited to attend. USOC member Neale Agnew, Director of Music at the Church, will be leading this event. This Church houses a splendid Walker organ rebuilt and enlarged by Philip Prosser.

In November 2005, on Saturday 5th, there will be another Belfast Community Organ Day. This is now funded by Belfast City Council and is under the direction of the Belfast City Organist USOC Member Colm Carey. There will be USOC supported events during the day, and there will be a trumpet and organ concert in the evening with the Ulster Hall’s Mulholland Grand Organ. In the morning there will be a workshop/master class with six USOC members participating. In the afternoon, there will be a workshop aimed at young organists. Details are in the enclosed flyer, and letter from the President. Please read these carefully. Please help to achieve full support by attending yourself and bringing along your friends. You can also help by publicising and promoting BCOD wherever you can

On Saturday 8th January 2006, the AGM of the Society will be taking place at 3.00pm. The venue will be notified in a later Bulletin. This is the most important day of the year for the Society. Please make point of attending; it’s when you can influence the affairs of the Society for the coming year.

Christmas is coming! And on Saturday 15th October 2005, in St Molua’s PC, Stormont the latest CD by the Priory Singers will be launched. The time is 10.30 and the CD will be on sale at £10. This is an exciting new venture recording composers who were born in Northern Ireland, or are/were at some time based in the Province. ‘Let Christians All With Joyful Mirth’ which, as we have come to expect of The Priory Singers, is of the highest quality, has 26 tracks and several USOC members are represented as composers. The recording was made in St Anne’s Cathedral, and the accompaniment was by Philip Stopford. It is thought that only one of the items has been recorded before. At the launch, Paul Clark from UTV will be present,. The whole venture is under the direction of Harry Grindle. You are warmly invited to attend.

Note from the USOC Hon Treasurer. ‘Some members will have found a note included with the August Bulletin reminding them of outstanding subscriptions for this year (2005), and in a few cases for last year (2004) as well. Thank you to the seven members who responded promptly; otherwise, please check the papers you received with the August mailing and if you find a SUBSCRIPTION REMINDER slip, please take the action indicated thereon. Thank you -- Philip Walden.’ Please note that the Society is only as good as the sum of its parts; we do need members to keep up to date with subscriptions so that we remain solvent and so continue to offer members high quality service. Thank you for your continuing support and loyalty.

New Members. It is always a delight and pleasure when new members join the Society. Efforts have been made to recruit more new members recently, and it is encouraging that these efforts have been successful. This month we report that we have a further three new members who are most welcome. We welcome Leo Tomita ARCO, Raymond Lennon BEd(Mus) DASE, and Carolyn Hinds BA.
LeoTomita is Organ Scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and his contact details are ____________, Newtownabbey, BT_______ Tel ________ email: ______________
Raymond Lennon is Music Advisor for the RC Down & Connor Diocese, and Director of Music at Clonard Monastery and Drumbo Church. Contact him at ___________, Belfast, BT______, tel: 028 __________, email: ________________
Carolyn Hinds is Junior Choirmistress at St Peter’s PC, Antrim Road, Belfast. Her contact details are: _______________, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, BT______. Tel: 028 _________. email: ___________________
We wish these new members long and fruitful associations with USOC.

Changes of Member Details Last month the new member list for 2005 was published. As always, changes have arisen either because of mistakes or changes that have not been notified. The following are noted. If you wish to be up to date, please record these changes on your list. Any other changes please to be notified to the Secretary.
David Martin is now contactable at: The Song School, Westminster Abbey, ___________, LONDON, ___________: Tel: _____________ email: _______________
Claire Cousens is now FRCO. Having been Organ Scholar at Truro Cathedral, Claire is now on the music staff and Organist at Bradfield College near Reading.
David Drinkell’s email is now: ______________
Edwin Gray is now Organist at St Polycarps PC, Belfast, and Geoffrey McConnell is Organist at St Martin’s PC, in East Belfast.

Play the Organ at Banbridge On Saturday 9th October 2005, there will be a Play the Organ Day at Holy Trinity Parish Church, Banbridge, beginning at 2.00pm. This is aimed at teenagers and young people who may wish to try the organ. All are welcome, so presumably birth certificates are not required!

Vacant Consoles. There are apparently increasing numbers of these around the Province, and some, I am told, find they are vacant for quite the wrong reasons – although hopefully none of those listed below. Some church representatives have told me that they do not even bother any more to even advertise, as they believe that they will have no success in finding anyone – what a very sad commentary on the state of ordinary church music these days.
St Molua’s Church, Parish of Stormont: Sadly, because of ill health, this musically prestigious Church is advertising for a new Organist and Choirmaster. There is an excellent four part robed choir capable of full choral services and recitals, an excellent acoustic, and a fine Smethurst 2m organ. Closing date for applications is 16th October 2005. Details from The Rector, Rev W David Humphries, 3 Rosepark, Belfast, BT5 7RG Tel: 028 9048 2292. You can hear the Choir perform on www.stormont.down.anglican.org This Church has a mainly traditional liturgy with much scope for music.
The Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, Clonard has a vacancy for the Post of Organist and Choir Director. This position requires advanced organ skills and experience of choral work. Unfortunately the vacancy was notified too late to meet the closing date of 30th September 2005. However, if you want to find out more contact the Music Advisor at Clonard Monastery, Clonard Gardens, Belfast BT13 2RL; or you could email: ray.lennon@clonard.com
St Colman’s PC, Dunmurry has a vacancy for an Organist and Choirmaster from September 2005. Details may be obtained from Lynn Williams at Tel: 028 9260 2733.
Moira Methodist Church requires an organist to help out as the Organist is ill and will be out for some time. There is a recently purchased Wyvern Sonata IV in the Church, and Sunday morning services need cover. If you would like to help out, contact Elisabeth Smart on 07821 693080, or by email hidesmart-organist@yahoo.co.uk

Model Z Steinway Upright Piano available for sale. This is in immaculate condition having been maintained by USOC member William McDonald. It is a fine and valuable instrument, and details are available from USOC Hon Member Ian Hunter email: iafh@hotmail.com

Hills in Bangor On Saturday 12th November 2005, there will be a concert of light music given by Richard Hills on the Compton in Bangor Academy. Don’t miss it! Richard Hills is as much at home on the theatre organ as he is in the cathedral, having recently completed a year at Westminster Abbey as Organ Scholar. His theatre organ exploits, which have earned him a world wide reputation, have taken Richard to USA, Australia and to Germany as well as throughout the UK. He is a great entertainer. The Compton will have to be dismantled next year 2006 at some point, as the Academy is to be demolished; so if you want to hear the instrument in its current location, do go to Bangor on this occasion. The Concert begins at 8.00pm, with tickets available at the door for £8.00. To find the school, follow the Bangor Ring Road in the direction of Groomsport, and turn right at the roundabout just past the Bloomfield Shopping Centre. The school is situated a short distance from the roundabout which is signposted Carrowdore.

Brian Carson advises that his next recital at St Jude’s PC, on Belfast’s Ormeau Road will take place on Friday 4th November 2005, followed by a further recital on 2nd December 2005. The series will recommence in March 2006. They are timed to take place at 1.00pm

Stopford’s new Work We are privileged that Philip, a very fine composer and musician is a member and Committee member of USOC. His latest is a Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis commissioned from the composer by former members of the Belfast Cathedral Evening Choir. The work can be heard at Choral Evensong in St Anne’s on Sunday 9th October 2005, at 3.30pm.

Noel Mander OBE Members may wish to note that Noel Mander MBE, died recently aged 93 years.


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