Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

U.S.O.C. Newsletter - November 1997


Our final meeting for 1997 will be held at Saint Martin's Church, Ballymacarrett, on Saturday 15th November at 3 pm when the anthems submitted for last year's competition will be sung by a choir directed by John Crothers. Also in the programme will be organ interludes played by four of our young student members. Perhaps it is some measure of the competition's success that two of the anthems you will hear are now published by Kevin Mayhew


A recent enquiry from an organist in England about our 1995 Down Cathedral Concert ('A Musical Celebration of Celtic Mysticism') has reminded me that we still have the digital recording on cassette available, and also on cassette the recording made at Cooke Centenary Church in 1993 of music by USOC members. I shall bring some of both recordings to our November meeting. If you would like to have either (or both) sent to you the charge is 5.00 each plus 50p for mailing. Cheques payable to USOC please.


1997 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint Martin and on Tuesday 11th November at 7 30 pm at the Ballymacarrett Church bearing his name a Festival Evensong will be sung. Included will be music by Bairstow, Harwood and Wesley, and a new hymn written for the occasion by Michael Forster to a tune by John Crothers. USOC members welcome.


Plans are now under way for next year's weekend air tour in May of which details are enclosed. Because this is a busy holiday period reservations (for 35) for flights and accommodation have already been made but cannot be held indefinitely so replies need to be with me by 30th November. I can, of course, apply for additional flight tickets and hotel rooms but cannot be certain that either will be obtainable.

Over the past few years these May weekend trips have been highly successful and they provide a wonderful opportunity to visit places to which access for the individual traveller could be difficult. If you wish to join the party next May please act promptly!


In terms of gender USOC has always been distinctly unbalanced so we are particularly delighted to welcome as new members three ladies, all practising church organists:

Mrs S N Lynas ... (St John's Church, Whitehouse);

Mrs M Williamson ... (St Patrick's Church, Whitehead);

Miss Daphne Ingram ... (Mall Presbyterian Church, Armagh).


In June this year USOC entered cyberspace for the first time. A WEB SITE for the Society now contains general information about the society, membership details and newsletters. In the UK USOC is the fourth organists' association to go "on line" and we are grateful to member Alistair McCartney for designing our web site; he also maintains 'The Northern Ireland Pipe Organ Web Site' providing data on organs, organ recitals and situations vacant.

Members who have access to the Internet may like to know that the society's designation therein is: http:/www.d-n-a.net/users/dnetzMNU/usoc/ (Recipe for insomniacs : memorise this!)


At Shore Street Presbyterian Church, Donaghadee, they possess an Allen organ and small fourpart choir but require "a committed Christian' to manage both. (Apologies to our Mormon, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu members and to "uncommitted Christians" : I didn't construct the specification.) If you want to know more contact Ivan Massey. Tel: 01247 882395.

I hope to meet you at Saint Martin's, 15th November.

Yours sincerely

Honorary Secretary



Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are less well-known to visitors than some parts of England, the scenery being gentle rather than impressive, but immortalised in music by Vaughan Williams (Norfolk Rhapsody) and Britten (Sea Interludes). The villages and small towns are characterised by timber-framed houses and wonderful medieval flint churches, the finest in the country. If you watched Lovejoy you will have an idea of what is in store for USOC members next May. We travel to Stansted and stay for two nights in Bury St. Edmunds - one of England's nicest country towns boasting not only two four manual organs within earshot of each other but the smallest pub in the world. We shall visit Norwich - "The Fair City" - with its wonderful Norman Cathedral, a parish church for each Sunday of the year and a pub for every day (so it is said), Harwich - a great naval port at one time, redolent of Pepys (who was its MP) and full of Dickensian streets and houses, and Colchester - the oldest town in England, from whence came Olde King Cole, Humpty Dumpty and your President...

There are organs to suit all tastes, including Chelmsford Cathedral (where Vice President Tim Allen was once Assistant Organist) with its brand new pair of Mander organs. Here are some from which we hope to make our selection:-

Historic: Framlingham (outstanding Thamar case and old pipes in fine restoration by Bishops'), Thaxted (two organs, one unaltered 1821 3m Lincoln, the other with a G.P England case), Little Bardfield (Renatus Harris case, organ by Gray, 1820, in archaic style), Wymondham Abbey (two late 18th century organs by Davies of London), Harwich (2m Flight, recently restored).

Victorian: Great Bardfield and Radwinter (important Tractarian cases with organs to match), South Pickenham (stunning Puginesque case, organ a copy of medieval instrument at Kiedrich in the Tyrol), Haverhill Old Independent (superb 3m Binns), St. Peter, Sudbury (ditto 3m Lewis & Co.)

Romantic: Holbrook School (4m Hill, Norman & Beard of 1933, probably their finest work in the style, in superb acoustics), St. Mary's, Bury St. Edmunds (4m HN&B), Colchester Moot Hall (3m Norman & Beard 1904 in the grand style - as is the building), and St. Leonard-at-the-Hythe (2m Walker 1908).

Modern: St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich (3m Peter Collins), Walsingham Parish Church & St. Botolph, Colchester (2m & 3m Arnold, Williamson & Hyatt respectively - pioneer modern tracker instruments by a local firm), Walsingham RC Shrine (2m Schumacher), Saffron Walden (3m HN&B, now being "done up" by David Wells).

Cathedral: Bury St. Edmunds (4m Nicholson), Norwich (enormous 4m HN&B), Chelmsford (two new organs, one 4m, one 3m, by Mander in the style of Hill), Brentwood RC (3m Percy Daniel rebuild of an old Hunter in a magnificent new cathedral by Quinlan Terry).

Wurlitzer!: Thursford and Cotton.

The award-winning Thursford Museum in addition to its 3/21 Wurlitzer possesses what is probably the largest collection of mechanical organs in the UK.



At the modern, well-appointed Butterfly Hotel, Bury Saint Edmunds; all rooms en suite.


Jersey European Flight to Stansted, departing Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove) at 0700 on Saturday 2nd May, returning to N Ireland at about 2100 the following Monday (4th May). For members wishing to extend their stay it will probably be possible to obtain return flight tickets for a later date.


240.00 per person including:
Two nights dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation at the Butterfly Hotel; lunches en route; Return flight tickets and private coach transport throughout the weekend.

Single rooms available at a supplementary charge of 26.00 per person.


Complete the reply-slip below and return it to the Honorary Secretary by 30th November with deposit.of 40.00 per person. Balance due by 31st March 1998.


Please reserve ______ place/s for me and for ____________________________________________

As a deposit a cheque (payable to USOC) for _______ is enclosed. (40.00 per person)

*I shall be willing to share a twin-bedded room with _______________________________________

*I shall require a single room.

*Delete as appropriate.

I should like to return from Stansted on _________________________________________________

Member's Name: _______________________________ Tel No: ___________________________

Return not later than 30th November to the Honorary Secretary:
R S Bambrick, 1B Beverley Hills, Bangor, BT20 4NA.

Archive Page Home Page