Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

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


Ireland's ecclesiastic capital will be the venue for the Society's next meeting on Saturday 22nd March. It will begin at 2 30 pm with a visit to St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral to see and hear the Cathedral's CARILLON, the only one of its kind in the province. In fact, on the island there is only one other - at Cobh Cathedral, County Cork.
From the Roman Cathedral we shall proceed to the Anglican on Vicars Hill where the resident organist, Martin White, will play the organ recently restored and enlarged by Wells-Kennedy. Among its eleven additional ranks are a new 32' Double Trombone and a detached Tuba in the South Transept, (should this read "semi-detached"?).
Perhaps I should warn less agile or vertiginous members that to reach the carillon a steep, narrow flight of 105 steps has to be ascended and (unless one decides to take up permanent residence in the bell tower) descended. However, since the carillon chamber can accommodate only a dozen occupants at a time George Minne has kindly agreed that those awaiting their turn to ascend will be permitted to play the four-manual organ (Telford/Irish Organ) in the West Gallery, so even for those with doubts about their climbing capacity this will be an interesting visit. At the Anglican Cathedral Martin White's recital will begin at 3 30 pm.


Members will also be welcome at the Opening Recital on the rebuilt Anglican Cathedral organ to be given by Gerard Gillen at 3 30 pm the previous Saturday - 15th March.


Last month's circular commended to you the IAO Congress to be held this summer in Haarlem, July 28th to August 2nd. For organ aficionados an alternative (or for the insatiable an additional) venue could be St Albans whose International Organ Festival takes place l0th-19th July. In addition to its prestigious organ competition the festival includes an attractive programme of concerts, lectures and visits. Brochure obtainable from International Organ Festival Society, PO Box 80, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL3 4HR.


Young members (and in this context that means aged 13 to 22) will probably have heard already about the International Summer School for Young Organists which will be held this year from 13th to 20th July and offers a variety of organ tuition courses. Programme available from Oundle International Festival, The Old Crown, Glapthorn, OUNDLE, PE8 5BJ. (Sounds as if their headquarters are in a pub but don't let that put you off). Financial assistance for attendance at courses such as those at Oundle is available to students from the Dunleath Organ Scholarship Trust. For application form and other details contact Dr Desmond Hunter, Department of Music, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Newtownabbey, BT37 OQB.


Enclosed you should find a copy of my Report on the Society's affairs in 1996 as delivered at this year's AGM. I hope that you will find it an interesting and reasonably accurate survey of what the Society achieved last year.


Subscribers to Organists Review may have read in the current issue Paul Hale's euphoric description of the Free Trade Hall Wurlitzer in Manchester - soon to be removed. Ireland's one and only Wurlitzer once installed in the Classic (later Gaumont) Cinema in Belfast disappeared many years ago and the only comparable organ still left is the Tonic Compton at Gransha Boys' High School in Bangor. I mention because on Thursday 3rd April it will be featured in a concert with Stanley Wyllie at the console and the vocal ensemble Five-in-a-Bar directed by Paul Lyttle. You would be welcome.


1 Carryduff Parish Church which has a keen, four-part choir and Allen organ; details from Revd R Fox, tel: 01232 812342;

2 Ballywalter Parish church which has a choir and two-manual pipe organ; details from Revd J Bowley, tel: 0124 7758416;

3 Cavehill Methodist Church, Belfast, which has an interesting and unusual Pels organ and just one Sunday (morning) service; details from T Lavery, tel: 01232 716285;

4 First Presbyterian Church, Newtownards, which has an excellent three-manual Conacher organ recently rebuilt; details from Mr R Davidson, tel: 01247 813578;

5 The Moravian Church, Gracehill (near Ballymena) which has a pipe organ and a choir reported to sing "on special occasions"; details from Revd Victor Launder, tel: 01266 653141.

How's that for choice! I look forward to meeting you - with or without crampons - in Armagh on March 22nd.

'Bye for now


Honorary Secretary


The balance of your payment is due March 31st : 215.00 for double/twin rooms, 230 for singles. Please forward your cheque (payable to USOC) to the Honorary Treasurer. If any special arrangements have been made for you I shall contact you regarding your balance. Details about departure in next circular.


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