Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters

U.S.O.C. Newsletter - October 1998


Probably! For our October meeting, on Saturday 17th, visits have been arranged to three interesting organs all within a few minutes walk of QUB and none, I believe, previously visited by the society.

At 3 pm we begin at All Souls Church, Elmwood Avenue, which houses a seven-rank Compton installed 1927. Then down University Road to the little Moravian Church whose organ is possibly the oldest in the city - originally built by Lincoln in 1802 and most recently restored by Philip Prosser. Finally a few steps up the road to the Methodist Church whose substantial three-manual Evans and Barr was rebuilt by Davies in 1958 when the inaugural recital was given by William Lloyd Webber.

At each venue a short demo-recital will be followed by an opportunity for members to play - briefly!

On a Saturday afternoon it may be possible to park in Elmwood Avenue (or nearby) and parking space should also be available at that time in the grounds of Methodist College.


Enclosed is a copy of our updated membership list. Your Honorary Secretary makes no claim to clairvoyance so details therein are accurate only in so far as members' replies have allowed. If you do spot any errors or omissions please let me know as soon as possible. Our thanks to Ian Hunter for typing the new list.


To date about 700.00 has been received and the committee wishes to thank all those who have contributed - particularly James Little the first of whose Spring into Summer concerts raised 476.00 for the fund, and Joan Mills who organised a golf outing which added a further 165.00. However, to establish a fund from which only the interest will be used to assist student members, a much larger capital sum will need to be accumulated, probably not less than 5000.00. If you have not yet made a contribution and wish to do so please forward your cheque to the Honorary Treasurer (details below).


Last month's circular mentioned three Ulster choirs which had sung this summer at various venues on the mainland; to that number should be added the choir of Wallace High School, Lisburn, which sang a week's services at Truro Cathedral, directed by Robert Thompson. Sorry, Mr Crothers, for the omission but I have made clear above my position on secretarial clairvoyance: to be recorded, information needs first to be received.


Thank you if your questionnaire is among the twenty so far returned to me. Useful conclusions can be drawn only if a substantial number of replies is received, so whatever your views please let me have them soon.


On Thursday 29th October Nigel Ogden (presenter of the BBC's 'Organist Entertains') returns to the console of the Tonic Theatre organ at Gransha High School in Bangor. With him will be the 'Swing Gals', a vocal quintet who describe their music as "a blend of blues, jazz and easy listening". The concert begins at 8 pm and tickets will be available at the door or can be reserved by phoning the school (01247 463838).


Despite the fact that a colourful advertisement for one of their organs appears in a recent issue of 'Organists Review', I regret to report that the long established firm of Hill, Norman and Beard closed down in June this year. A few years ago a similar fate befell the huge American firm of Moller, by far the largest organ builders in the world who during the 1920s were producing one organ per day and who by 1987 had installed over 11,600! There is writing on the wall here but I am not quite sure what it is saying.


The next Ulster Hall organ recital at 7 45 pm on Tuesday 13th October will be given by Emanuele Cardi from Italy whom you may perhaps have heard recently at St Brigid's Church, Malone.

The first half of his programme will be music by J S Bach, the second music inspired by that composer including Mendelssohn's First Organ Sonata, Dupre's Prelude & Fugue in G minor and Durufle's Prelude & Fugue on the name Alain.

That's all for now - I hope to see you on 17th October.

Yours sincerely


Honorary Secretary

PS From one of the questionnaires returned I was flattered to discover that one member regards "Rodney's humorous accounts" as a major advantage of membership! Thank you. And, since there's not much to laugh about in what's written above, here (from 'The Book of Musical Anecdotes') are a couple of quotes to make you smile:

1 After a performance of 'Manon', during which the tenor had sung flat all evening, Massenet, going behind the scene, was met by this singer who came forward to receive congratulations ...... "I hope you were pleased, cher Maitre?" enquired the tenor. "Delighted, delighted", replied the composer, "but how could you sing with that dreadful orchestra - they accompanied you half a tone sharp all evening?"
2 After receiving a particularly vicious revue in a Munich newspaper, Max Reger replied to the critic: "I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be BEHIND me."


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