Kent County Organists’ Association

February 2010 Journal

 

The articles on this page are in the order published in the paper edition of the Journal

To go to a specific article click on the alphabetical list of contents below

 

Contents

 

Canterbury Recital

Comment
Front Cover

Home practice organ

Hothfield & Pluckley
Keith Rishworth

New Members

Notes from the Netherlands
Obituaries & News

Charles Skingle
Peggy Partis

Vicky Shepherd

Platt, St. Mary's

President's Dinner
Sesquialtera
The I.A.O. Congress 2009

The I.A.O. Organ Congress 2010

The KCOA website

The ON Organ Fund

Thoughts from The President
 

 

Comment

Father Henry Willis, in his later years, refused to add a name plate to his finished organs declaring that anyone playing one would know instantly that it was a ‘Willis’. Nevertheless, most of the organs we visit do have their builder’s name; but should these organ builders return, how many would recognise their instruments, which have endured one modernising rebuild after another as fashions changed. The 1960s was perhaps the most active remodelling period when Continental open tip voicing came into vogue. Clarity was de rigueur: Choir organs became Positive organs, Great organs were divested of their warm diapasons and Swell organs would lose their diapasons altogether. There are now very few instruments that remain as they were built, their conceived design and tonal entity sacrificed to prevailing fashion.

Although we should all confess to some degree of guilt — in thought if not in deed — we were able to enjoy the new and ‘unsullied’ 2008 Robin Jennings organ at Pluckley last October, an instrument conceived and designed by Kenneth Tickell, with its fourteen stops and mechanical action. The organ is housed in an aesthetically pleasing yet functional case, providing an attractive tonal palette with its unforced diapasons, colourful flutes and crisp bright reeds. Tonally, it is a modern organ, but with echoes of early English voices, each stop blending and contributing to the full ensemble. Prior to our visit to Pluckley we visited Hothfield and heard an 1876 Holdich instrument, which had been enlarged and rebuilt in 1886 introducing a tonal boldness, which the original Holdich would not perhaps have had.

In November our complete afternoon meeting was held at St Mary’s Church, Platt. Here the organ is one of very mixed pedigree, its earliest pipes dating from the 1820s. It had been rebuilt and moved several times before the most recent rebuild of 1983 by Hill Norman & Beard. Here there was no original concept to retain and, with Paul Hale as the consultant, a new design was drawn up using the ranks available and adding additional flutes, mutations, mixtures and reeds to produce an instrument that is now a finely balanced whole. Perhaps the only indulgence is the West End 8ft and 4ft horizontal Trompette en chamade added in 2001. This organ is shown to good effect on a recent recording by Julian Collings with Rebecca Hewes, Cello (Regent REG CD337).

Regrettably, we have to report the death of three members: Peter Cameron from Whitstable, organist of St Bartholomew’s Church, Herne Bay; Peggy Partis from Faversham, although not an organist she took a great interest in our excursions; and Charles Skingle, who had given much to our Association as both Treasurer and President. Also, owing to ill health, Vicky Shepherd has been obliged to stand down as organist of Ospringe Parish Church after thirty-two years service.

However, on a brighter note, when was the last time we had a President whose music arrangements have been published by Novello? See ‘Thoughts from the President’.

President’s Dinner

It is surely right, that with the election of Kevin Grafton as our new President, he should receive our members’ full esteem and approbation at the traditional President’s Dinner. However, having assumed his duties in July 2009 at our AGM, and with all arrangements in place for 26th September at The Chaucer Hotel, Canterbury, Kevin’s wife, Sylvia, fell gravely ill with a serious heart attack on the very eve of the Dinner and understandably Kevin was at her hospital bedside. Thankfully, Sylvia underwent a successful operation and is now on the road to recovery.

Nevertheless, quite unaware, thirty-six members and guests had assembled at The Chaucer Hotel, together with our after dinner speaker, Scott Farrell and fiancée Bella, to enjoy a pleasant evening. It was with great presence of mind that Past President, Roger Gentry, stepped in at very short notice to conduct the evening for us, ensuring the Dinner could continue, albeit under a veil of concern.

Kevin had thoughtfully arranged an appropriate seating plan, adding to the felicity and appreciation of our meal of: Mixed garlic mushrooms on granary toast; followed by, Darn of Scottish salmon or Roast pork served with apple wedges, with Fettuccine pasta with mozzarella cheese as a vegetarian alternative. To finish, there was a choice of Strawberry shortcake or cheese and biscuits, then coffee and mints.

Good food, and a glass or two of wine, had warmed us to the evening and we were ready to enjoy our speaker, Scott Farrell. Scott is Director of Music at Rochester Cathedral and has early Kentish connections, being brought up in Dover where he attended Dover Grammar School for Boys. Having started piano lessons at the age of six, he gave his first public organ recital at the age of fourteen on the organ of Dover Town Hall. His career has taken him from St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge to Bury St Edmunds and Ely Cathedral as Assistant Organist; then Organist and Director of Music of Newcastle Cathedral, before returning south to Rochester. Scott’s unscripted address was a fascinating cascade of humour and information as one amusing anecdote followed another; even his propensity for a good curry was revealed in this cavalcade of experience and musical enjoyment.

Scott Farrell with fiancée Bella  Photo C. Jilks

We must thank Scott, and his charming fiancée Bella, for their time giving us a glimpse of the appealing world of the Cathedral Organist.

No such gathering would be complete without a raffle and Richard Knight had very kindly arranged not only the sale of tickets, but also the fun of the draw. Notwithstanding our initial concerns for Sylvia and Kevin, we enjoyed a very pleasant evening and we must thank Kevin who had taken so much trouble prior to the day arranging the evening for us.

Hothfield & Pluckley

Our visit to Pluckley, near Ashford, last October was particularly special as we were to view and hear a completely new organ installed at the Parish Church of St Nicholas. Built by Robin Jennings of Dorset, this 14-stop mechanical action organ was constructed to an original design by Kenneth Tickell, and was completed in February 2008.

Nevertheless, with our stalwart British reserve, we were to contain our anticipation and excitement for a while as we first visited St Margaret’s Church at Hothfield, a village just a few miles east of Pluckley. During the 1800s Hothfield Place estate enjoyed a time of affluence and its manor house of 1780 was greatly extended. Abundance was such that in 1876 Lady Tufton’s father presented her with a fine 2-manual and pedal Holdich organ, which was installed at the house. This was subsequently enlarged in 1886 and its present specification is: Swell Organ, 8 8 8 8 4 2 8; Great Organ, 8 8 8 4 4 3(22/3) 2; Pedal Organ, 16 with mechanical manual actions and pneumatic pedals. It is interestingly recorded that, as a guest of Lord and Lady Hothfield, Sir Arthur Sullivan gave the very first public performance of his The Lost Chord on this organ in 1877.

Moved to the church during the late 1890s, the organ sounds clear and unforced, if perhaps a little brighter than other Holdich organs of the period. It is possible some changes have been made during the intervening years indicated by the Swell drawstops having block lettering while the Great has script lettering; nevertheless, as demonstrated by Michael Cooke, the organ sounds well balanced in the church.

St Margaret’s is a delightfully unspoilt 13th century Church, regardless of the ubiquitous, if discreet, Victorian tiles and wall painting in the Chancel; the fine ornate 16th century tomb of Sir John Tufton, who entertained Queen Elizabeth I, is a particularly interesting feature. St Margaret’s organist, Malcolm Wood, made us most welcome giving us an insight into the history of the church and the Hothfield estate. He also modestly revealed that he is a craftsman wood turner having restored the wooden reredos of Christ Church Spitalfields, London.

The parish of Pluckley nestles on the edge of the North Downs, overlooking lush Kentish countryside and, together with nearby Bethersden, is where the Darling Buds of May was filmed. The Parish Church of St Nicholas dates from the 13th century and stands at the heart of the village. The new Robin Jennings organ, with its splendid oak case and shining tin front pipes, is free standing in the chancel, although the pedal section is built behind a decorative oak screen in a wall alcove behind the organ.

We were welcomed by Phillip Bell, who is Diocesan Surveyor and Director of Property Services to the Diocese of Canterbury. Phillip is also a member of the Dering Organ Committee, which was responsible for bringing the concept of a modern mechanical action organ to Pluckley, providing a much needed teaching instrument as well as a reliable instrument for service accompaniment. Unveiling some of the background to the history of the organ’s installation he revealed that Kenneth Tickell was to have built the organ, but owing to a full order book and the prospect of promised grants being withdrawn, it was eventually built by Robin Jennings of Dorset to Kenneth Tickell’s design. Phillip’s son, Tom Bell, who is currently Director of Music to the Parish of Esher, Surrey and was a prize-winning student of Kevin Bowyer, then gave us a lively demonstration recital with: Fantasia in C minor BWV 562 by Bach, then Dryburgh Abbey and Melrose Abbey from 3 Border Studies by Bussey.

St Nicholas Pluckley, Robin Jennings organ 2008
Photo C. Jilks

The organ’s specification is a little unusual in that it has a Great Organ and a Choir Organ, both un-enclosed on a double soundboard built to conserve space within the organ’s case. Great Organ, 8 8 4 2 mix 11-111; Choir Organ, 8 8 8 4 2 11 8; Pedal Organ 16 16, with three couplers. The organ’s Trumpet 8ft stop has been controversially placed on the Choir organ, but with the advantage of being available to use as a solo stop accompanied by the Great chorus, and can also be independently coupled to the pedals. The tonal design works well and even includes a gently beating Vox Angelica. The organ’s voicing is very much what we have come to expect from a Kenneth Tickell design: unforced diapasons, flutes full of character and reeds crisp and bright. Opinion was divided on the organ’s continental pedalboard, with a majority seeming to favour a standard radiating concave board. Furthermore, a tonal aspect, that even Tom Bell’s fine playing could not disguise, was an undesirable coarseness in the voicing of the treble octaves of the Great fifteenth and mixture, which was particularly evident in the Bach Fantasia. Why these pipes had been left unfinished, and not fully blending with the rest of the organ — which is an undoubted delight — appears unknown, but we trust this voicing problem will, in the fullness of time, be resolved as it is a blemish that tarnishes a very fine instrument.

Regardless of pedalboards or minor tonal imperfections, a wholesome tea awaited us at the back of the church, with much comment on the delicious cakes, especially the sticky ginger cake with ginger fudge icing. Finally, suitably refreshed, we settled down to a talk by Parish Clerk, Jackie Grebby, who is an expert on the mists and mysteries of Pluckley, reputedly the most haunted village in England. There were stories of the old village butcher and the local mill, which burnt down during a thunderstorm in 1939. Unexplained apparitions and a highwayman from centuries past, whose horse’s hooves can still, even now, be heard clipping the village cobbles on quiet still nights. With a dark overcast sky and dusk quickly approaching, it was with a hint of apprehension that we ventured home from Pluckley after an undoubtedly full, informative and exciting afternoon.

Platt, St Mary’s

Although Platt has become gradually conjoined with Borough Green it still retains its identity, its narrow lanes leading down to the heart of the village with the Blue Anchor public house and St Mary’s Church. The church, standing majestically overlooking the village, is built in Kentish rag stone and dates from 1843 with its distinctive early pointed style constructed on a cruciform ground plan designed by architects Whichcord & Walker of Maidstone, who were to later built Maidstone prison.

Julian Collings
Photo C. Jilks

The true pedigree of the organ at St Mary’s remains shrouded in mystery, but is nonetheless a very fine instrument, which speaks well in the responsive acoustic. Its front case and some of its pipework date from the 1820s when it was first installed at Holy Trinity Church Maidstone. It was subsequently moved to the King Street Undenominational Church in 1867 where it stood for nearly sixty years before finally being installed at Platt in 1926. The organ gave good service for a further fifty-seven years before it was completely rebuilt in 1983 by Hill Norman & Beard with several tonal additions, new soundboards and electric action. In 2001, an 8ft and 4ft horizontal Trompette en chamade was also added on the west tower balustrade by Colin K Jilks & Associates, playable from a new third Solo manual at the console. These additions have completed what is undoubtedly a versatile and arresting instrument, tonally ranging from the delicate speech of the 1820 Great 8ft flute through to the now rich full organ ensemble. Its present specification is: Great Organ, 16 8 8 4 4 22/3 2 13/5 111/1v 8; Swell Organ, 8 8 8 8 4 2 111/1v 8 8; Solo Organ, 8 8 4; Pedal organ, 16 16 102/3 8 4 16 with usual couplers.

Our afternoon on 7th November began with a demonstration recital by Julian Collings, who was a choirboy at St Mary’s before his organ scholarship at Tonbridge School and then Christ’s College, Cambridge. Julian is currently Organist of St Augustine’s Church, South Kensington and follows a busy freelance career as an organist, conductor and teacher.

He started with William Walton’s Spitfire Prelude; its opening fanfare played with stunning effect on the west end Trompette en chamade. Then Nun bitten wir den heiligen geist by Buxtehude, demonstrating the Great flutes and mutations, finishing with Pax vobiscum by Karg Elert, with shimmering strings rising through rich crescendos to full organ.

Before evensong there was time for members to try the organ for themselves sampling its many delights from the delicately chiffy flutes to the thunderous full length 16ft Pedal Trombone. The organ picture shows our President, Kevin Grafton, at the console with Alistair Curtis patiently waiting his turn.

President Kevin Grafton with Alistair Curtis at the Platt Organ
Photo C. Jilks

The west end Trompette en chamade, Platt
Photo C. Jilks

Evensong was sung by the choir of St Mary’s, which consisted of nine Ladies, seven Gentlemen and one small boy, conducted by Choirmaster, Gary Tollerfield, with the organ played by Julian Collings; the service was led by Lay Reader, Dominic de Mattos, who also sang with the choir. The service began with The Train by Barry Ferguson, then responses by Aylward. Psalm 145 was sung to a chant by Crotch before the Canticles by Herbert Brewer in D. The anthem was The Wilderness by S S Wesley, a demanding piece well sung, if perhaps a little hesitant on some top notes. The final hymn was O Praise ye the Lord with the last verse accompaniment rousingly exploited by Julian Collings at the organ. The voluntary was Fantasia in G BWV 572 by Bach, Julian’s performance keeping members riveted to their seats.

As we have come to expect, but hopefully not take for granted, there was a fine tea prepared for us, organised by Janet Tollerfield in the adjoining church room.

To complete an absorbing and enjoyable afternoon Gary Tollerfield then presented us with a slide show of organ cases. This was a quite extraordinary exhibition as the colour slides, all taken by Gary on his large format Hasselblad camera, were of stunning quality. We were shown some 160 slides revealing the evolving design of organ cases starting with a case of 1550 at Old Radnor; regrettably the Puritans destroyed as many organs as they could, leaving only four or five examples prior to 1640. Gary’s dazzling show illustrated the original functional design and pipe scales that laid the foundation of organ cases, which evolved and changed in ways many of us had not perhaps fully appreciated, leading to the Victorian ‘pipe rack’ and organs with no cases at all. The Victorians did produce some beautifully painted cases and pipes, as the slides showed, but also the gradual return in recent years to the functional beauty of true scale speaking length pipes, together with woodwork of the highest quality.

We must thank Gary Tollerfield for a full and fascinating afternoon, which appealed at both the educational as well as the aesthetic level. As the last meeting of 2009 it could not have been more complete.

Thoughts from The President

by Kevin Grafton

I believe the Chinese have a curse: ‘may you live in interesting times’. This past year has certainly been interesting. Many of you will know that, a few days before the end of an otherwise pleasant holiday in our Austrian ‘second home’ of Söll, our car was written off by a careless Austrian, and my wife suddenly experienced intense pain from what we now know to be sciatica, which probably led to her heart attack a week after our return home. These events caused our absence from the President’s Dinner in September, an occasion which I am pleased to hear was much enjoyed by those who did attend. In the midst of the holiday turmoil I gave my fifth recital in Söll, in what now seems a bit of a blur.

But things move on and life continues: Sylvia has recovered well from the heart attack and is gradually beating the sciatica, and we have a new car.

There is usually a brighter side to life. In the KCOA, we have had a number of successful and interesting meetings, and an Organ Festival with a decent number of entrants and a high standard of performance.

Two events in 2009 have given me personally cause for pride (leaving aside family matters with which a President should not bore the members!). The first was taking up the Presidency of the KCOA in July, succeeding many illustrious predecessors. What do I have to bring to this office, and what can I do to advance the cause of organists in Kent? A daunting prospect, given the legacy of some past Presidents. My answer is not yet fully formulated, though I have some ideas. These may include:

¶ Taking the Association a little further afield a little more often, e.g. having an outing to a destination outside Kent and another one to nearby Europe within the same year.

¶ Trying as far as possible to include some event of interest to non-organists in our monthly meetings. We are an Organists’ Association, but this should not preclude trying to interest the wives/husbands etc. in coming along.

¶ Laying a little more emphasis on inclusion of a choir element in our activities. My own background is very much that of singing, and wherever good work does continue in the field of church choral music, we should like to hear it.

My second cause for an absurd amount of pride (far more than any achievement in my professional life!) has been the publication of a carol arrangement in Novello’s most recent carol book (Noël 2, since you ask). It is for me a recognition that other people, besides my captive choir and ditto audience, actually enjoy my music.

So life plods on; yet even in the midst of recession and general gloom, there may be some brighter sparks to cheer us onwards. Gerard Manley Hopkins knew this:

.…. Sheer plod makes plough down sillion

Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,

Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

(The Windhover)

Sesquialtera

by Colin Jilks

As Dr Johnson’s Prince Rasselas of Abyssinia was to discover, living in a perfect world, only to know the soft vicissitudes of pleasure and repose, can begin to pall. Nevertheless, in our music domain, perfection has been invariably pursued, especially in the tuning of organ scale temperaments, in an endeavour to square the Pythagorean circle. The tuning of keyboard instruments has always been a problem if all keys are to remain useable, with perfect thirds, as well as good fourths and fifths the coveted ideal. ‘Equal Temperament’, which has become the modern tuning standard, may not have perfect thirds, but does have near perfect fourths and fifths and had even started to be used in North Germany in 1690, where it must have been known to J S Bach who consequently composed for every key.

However, it was about 1850 before Equal Temperament became the settled and accepted tuning method in England which, with its minor imperfections, has undoubtedly fulfilled its purpose. Nonetheless, in the quest for authentic tuning tonality, especially with historic instruments, Equal Temperament has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, to the point of derision in some camps.

The differences and details of tuning methods was brought home to me recently when I was asked to tune the choir section of the organ at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, to a ‘Quarter Comma Mean Tone’ tuning, to provide a continuo organ for an early music recording. One of the advantages of Equal Temperament is that all fourth and fifth intervals are almost perfect, the scale discrepancies being absorbed by the thirds which are all tuned sharp. The ‘Mean Tone’ approach keeps the intervals in the more common keys quite pure, especially the thirds, which are perfect in a goodly number of keys, although the fourths and fifths are perhaps a little further astray than Equal Temperament.

The first question to ask before embarking on an unconventional tuning is: what keys are going to be used? The Mean Tone tuning method confines the player to the more common keys of C D F G and B flat; A flat, E flat, or D flat, sound abominable and are unusable. Most early English organ music is confined to the common keys and composers of the time were obviously well aware of the tuning methods used.

Nevertheless, the sound of an organ played in these early temperaments is quite different from modern tuning, the pure thirds sounding strangely flat, overlaying the music with a veil of melancholy, even in major keys. The modern ear has perhaps become conditioned to the sharp thirds of Equal Temperament and an arpeggio or chord played with perfect thirds does sound initially strange.

There have been many tuning temperaments devised, which include ‘Fifth Comma Mean Tone’, ‘Sixth Comma Mean Tone’, ‘Werckmeister 111’, and many more. Perhaps the most recent tuning method to be devised is ‘Royal Temperament’, invented by John Norman for the 1790 Samuel Green organ, which he renovated and installed in the Queen’s Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace in 1961. This instrument is now in the Chapel of Kensington Palace following the restoration of the Chapel in 2002. The fourths and fifths of this Temperament are certainly less pure than Equal Temperament, with some beat rates almost twice the speed, but the thirds are less sharp in the common keys. But complete purity of thirds has not been sought, allowing all keys to be used, although with B flat and D flat sounding just a little astray. Certainly this organ, being used for services with music covering a wide period, has attracted attention for its sweetness of tone, possibly partly coloured by its tuning. However, when tuning this organ I do find some of the intervals a little uncomfortable, no doubt due to my twentieth-century-conditioned-ear.

Tuning Procedure Quarter Comma Mean Time

Tuning Procedure Equal Temperament

The two diagrams, reproduced from a book by Charles A. Padgham, show Equal Temperament tuning with its quite slowly beating fourths and fifths, and Quarter Comma Mean Tone where the fourths and fifths beat twice as fast, but with a number of perfect thirds.

Another Chapel Royal request initially caused concern, as on this occasion an early music recording with James Bowman required a continuo organ tuned to Baroque Pitch. Pitch must not be confused with Temperament, although, similarly, it has changed just as much over time. Baroque Pitch is usually taken to mean A 415; modern orchestral pitch is A 440. Thankfully, A 415 is almost a complete semitone lower than A 440 so a movable keyboard is often used to select and transpose to the required pitch. The Chapel Royal organ has no such facility and the thought of trying to move every pipe up one hole on the Choir soundboard seemed hard going. But having an Electro-pneumatic action it was relatively easy to change the wiring on the feed from the console to the Choir soundboard, with the visiting organist warned not to use the manual couplers.

Pitch does sometimes cause problems if used with other instruments as so many of our organs were built during the late 19th century when a number of different pitches were in use, varying by as much as a quarter of a semitone. People are often surprised to learn that today’s standard orchestral pitch of A 440 was only finally adopted in Britain in 1939, although it had been the accepted standard in America since the 1920s.

Perfection, whether in Temperament or Pitch, is illusory; what may seem to be the definitive tuning method can soon reveal its limitations. As Dr Johnson’s Rasselas discovered on his philosophical travels, what may initially seem perfection can rapidly lose its appeal.

Notes from The Netherlands

by Nigel C.B. Durrant

At about the time I was attempting to purge my previous article for our Journal of its most glaring solecisms, subscribers to the Organists’ Review could be reading a highly revered Dutch organist’s contention that the organ ‘at least in The Netherlands’ is commonly associated with poor playing in church services or with funerals. Now one of the many things for which I am grateful is that the local optician, unlike the dentist, has never earned one cent from my decaying body so my – in the main positive – observations of ‘organic’ Dutch culture are never distorted by spectacle-lenses, whether frosted or rose-coloured. Whilst I do not find it difficult accurately to portray the Dutch organ world on the whole favourably, I cannot — and would not want to! — deny the accuracy of Ben van Oosten’s observation. (What particularly strikes me is that this distinguished champion’s work is rooted in Protestant traditions where, generally speaking, organ-playing is taken much more seriously than in the Catholic culture prevalent in the south of the country, where I live.) Of course, ‘poor playing’ does not categorise the instruments and my Notes are by choice essentially concerned with organs rather than church organists — or, perhaps; rather than the occupants of ecclesiastical organ-benches, most of whom are not ‘proper’ organists.

The association with funerals is occasioned by the – not specifically Dutch! – reality that most people here nowadays only attend church after a recent case of hatch, match or despatch in their family. Baptisms are generally private affairs to be done with as quietly as possible, so no music: and suffice it to say that I have myself not had to play a single wedding for fifteen months. But funerals do still attract reasonably large congregations, be they on a weekday or a Saturday though there is seldom a competent choir available unless the family is prepared to pay quite a large sum. Even then the choir will seldom be familiar with liturgical practice and is unlikely to have its own organist. With little time to cater for individual wishes before the funeral service, competent organists simply cannot be found in time. Sad, but true. The organ enthusiast will but rarely be satisfied with what is on offer in most churches when the church is being used for the purpose for which it was built. Fortunately the disproportionately large (compared with many other countries) number of intelligently organised and in most cases superbly played recitals and a well thought-out (if not always financially viable) approach to the restoration of deserving instruments means that the enthusiast can, however, still enthuse enthusiastically.

Non-enthusiasts sometimes catch a glimpse into the organ world because of situations that have nothing to do with organ-music. A story that has smouldered in the public’s fancy concerns the oldest organ in The Netherlands, built in 1479 by one Peter Gerritsz for the Nicolaïkerk in Utrecht. This instrument is of course no longer in its original condition – it was considerably enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries – but, amazingly, virtually all the original material is still in existence. This organ remained in use in the Nicolaïkerk for more than 400 years until it was rehoused in Amsterdam, where the complete (though unplayable) instrument was put on display in time for the Rijksmuseum’s opening in 1886, and there it remained until it was dismantled in 1940 against the eventuality of war-damage. This monumental organ belongs to the Dutch State and a little more than 50 years ago its Gothic casework was loaned to a church in Middelburg while the rest of the instrument was put into storage. When plans to reunite the case with the rest of the organ in the church for which it was built were announced, the Middelburg town council refused to issue a licence for the casework to be removed and 17 legal objections were lodged to prevent the work being undertaken. However, a well-supported ministerial decision overthrew these objections and the instrument is indeed expected to be returned to Utrecht.

Peter Gerritsz Organ Case 1479
Photo RCE

Peter Gerritsz 1479 full case
Photo RCE

The oldest building phase of the organ is to be logically reconstructed and a copy for study purposes is already being built by Orgelmakerij Reil of Heerde. As there are no comparable examples of an organ of this vintage anywhere else, the reconstruction will have a patently first-rate musicological value. But equally, the experience gained will lead to improved insights into how to copy historical components and, by extension, how future restorers can best handle the original artefacts. The project cannot but lead to increased knowledge about the construction and layout of our organs in the late 15th century and to an increasingly authentic approach to the interpretation of the music of the period, including the place and nature of improvisation in contemporary compositions.

The Peter Gerritsz organ was replaced in the Nicolaïkerk in 1888 by an organ that in turn was replaced in 1956 by an instrument by Marcussen. A second Marcussen organ was placed in the church, on loan from a broadcasting authority, organs that initially introduced the Orgelbewegung into The Netherlands. Quoting Albert Schweitzer, this movement advocated the collective experience of generations above theories drawn from physics that negated the achievements of earlier master builders. Schweitzer uncompromisingly preached a return to the slider chest as the mechanical basis for genuinely musical voicing and for a well-integrated ensemble. A return to tracker action and the lower wind pressures of the old masters were essential and the organ should stand high and free in the church, so allowing the sound to travel unhindered in every direction. The return of Peter Gerritsz’ work high and free in the historic Nicolaïkerk should therefore offer the optimum opportunity for verifying the ideals of this Organ Reform Movement!

Peter Gerritsz 1479 Case detail
Photo RCE

 

Charles Skingle

16th May 1923 — 15th October 2009
by Nicholas King

Members of the Association were saddened to hear of the passing of Charles Skingle, past President and Treasurer, on 15th October 2009.

Charles cut his musical teeth as a chorister at Holy Trinity Church, Sidcup, where he also took piano lessons from the organist. After leaving school in 1938, he joined the London Knitwear Company at Thornton Heath as an office junior, and spent his evenings studying shorthand, typing, book keeping and mathematics, as well as involving himself in physical training and gymnastics. The outbreak of war saw him initially joining the local Defence Volunteers before enlisting with the Royal West Kent Regiment on his eighteenth birthday. Here he passed the advanced P.T. instructors’ course and was posted to the P.T. staff of the battalion. It was not long before he trained as a dispatch rider in the Royal Corps of Signals and found himself attached to Supreme Headquarters (SHAEF), taking part at Omaha Beach in the D-Day invasion and in the advance through Europe. One of his prized possessions was a commendation signed by General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of SHAEF.

In 1945 Charles married Vera Bright, by whom he had two children, Gillian and Peter. Upon demobilization in 1946 he returned to the London Knitwear Company, moving to Folkestone when they set up a new factory there in 1949, and becoming its general manager in 1951 with oversight of 140 employees.

The loss of Vera in 1969 was a heavy blow to Charles. The friendship which he had developed with our late President, Reginald Adams, was of particular comfort to him at this difficult time. Reg had moved to Folkestone Parish Church in 1950, and the two had become close colleagues. In turn, Charles was able to support Reg during his difficult personal situation of the early 1970s and his move to Dover in 1972. His children having grown to adulthood, Charles moved to Whitfield in 1975, taking a "cosy flat" where he was able to resume his interest in music more directly. He purchased a fine Wurlitzer electronic organ and started to take on pupils, several of whom achieved high levels of success in examinations.

Although not formally trained in composition, it was at about this time that Charles turned his hand to writing for the organ. The author remembers performing an early military march at Dover Town Hall during the late 1970s; Charles was characteristically polite about the fact that it required a certain amount of adaptation for successful performance.

Amongst his organ pupils was to be Joy, whose initial lessons in 1978 soon generated a fuller harmony. They were married in 1982, with Reg Adams acting as best man, and shared more than 27 years of happiness at Whitfield, blessed by the arrival of their son Paul.

Joining the KCOA, Charles rapidly became an enthusiastic and widely-loved member, attending meetings on a regular basis. In 1989 he found himself invited to become Treasurer, a post which he held for twelve years. The appraisal of his career which appeared in the Journal in 1998 was perhaps not so wide of the mark when a typographical error described him as "our treasure". From 1997 he also served a period of office as President, becoming only the second member to hold two executive posts simultaneously.

Charles’s interest and skill as a composer blossomed considerably. As well as several shorter pieces, he composed "Eyes Front" in honour of the eleven Royal Marines bandsmen killed in a bomb attack at Deal in 1989, a piece which was subsequently broadcast on Radio Kent and recorded by the Peninsular Band of the Royal Green Jackets. He was however perhaps proudest of "Signal Salute", composed to mark the 75th anniversary of the Royal Signals Association and recorded at Holy Trinity, Broadstairs by Reg Adams. These two pieces particularly reflect the links which he had maintained with his wartime service colleagues, including his involvement with the Normandy Veterans’ Association; amongst his other leisure pursuits was maintaining a powerful Kawasaki motor-cycle, which reminded him of his time as a dispatch rider.

In latter years Charles had been especially supportive of Reg Adams during his declining health. Reg’s passing last February affected Charles extremely deeply, and perhaps compounded his own developing illness. Charles’s funeral at Dover Parish Church on 2nd November, appropriately enough All Souls’ Day, saw a packed church of colleagues and friends, many of whom gathered afterwards at The Ark Christian Centre in Tower Hamlets to share their memories.

Charles was a man of many talents and gifts. Perhaps those which remain most vividly in the memory are his characteristic self-effacement, his ready sense of wit and humour, his generosity of spirit; above all, his qualities as a gentleman, in the proper sense of that word. We are all the richer for having known him, and the poorer for his passing. To Joy and Paul especially we extend our sympathy in their loss, coupled with our gratitude and admiration for all that Charles meant to us.

Obituaries & News

Peter Cameron BA FRCO LRAM ARCM
24.09.1943 — 26.11.2009

Peter Cameron’s death last November was a deep loss to his innumerable friends and students. Peter showed an early musical ability and was quickly pressed into playing at church as his father was a clergyman. On leaving school he attended The Royal College of Music (a fellow student of our member Michael Cooke). From the RCM he obtained an organ scholarship to Keble College Oxford. As a teacher he taught for a while at Harrow School before becoming Director of Music at St Edmunds School, Canterbury.

On retirement from school, he took private piano pupils and also directed a small group of singers and instrumentalists, who gave recitals in the Herne Bay and Whitstable area. Peter continued as a freelance organist playing at many local churches, although his enjoyment of music in latter years was marred by tinnitus; nevertheless, he was still teaching until shortly before his death from cancer last November, aged sixty-six.

Peter was a batchelor with a wide circle of friends who always enjoyed his wit and willingness to make music with them. At his thanksgiving service on 12th December, at St Bartholomew’s Church, Herne Bay, where he was organist, the service was played by D’Arcy Trinkwon, who was a pupil of Peter’s at St Edmunds School, with a number of his other past pupils also at the service. The final voluntary was Toccata in F by Bach, played in Peter’s honour. Peter very much supported our Association, although with Saturday teaching found it difficult to attend meetings.

Peggy Partis

We sadly report the death, at the age of 84, of our member, Mrs Peggy Partis, who died last December. She was a long-standing friend of Vicky Shepherd and, although not an organist herself, particularly enjoyed our meetings. She was a pragmatic character, stalwartly attending our meeting at Pluckley last October even though her cancer was advanced. She was widowed in her fifties but continued with her teaching career, being a specialist maths teacher at St Mary of Charity School, Faversham. Her funeral was held on Monday 21st December at St Mary of Charity Church, where she had worshipped for over twenty years.

Vicky Shepherd

We must report that Vicky Shepherd has spent some time in the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, over Christmas and into January with several health problems. She is, however, making good progress, although it has not been possible for her to continue as organist at Ospringe Parish Church, and has retired from her post there after thirty-two years service. She felt that with this recent bout of illness, it was time to hand over gracefully, but we know she will be greatly missed by the church and her friends. We trust she will soon be returned to rude health and that we will see her again at our meetings.

(Regrettably, Vicky died soon after this report was published in February)

The ON Organ Fund

The ‘On Organ Fund’ is a charity, which helps to provide assistance to British churches for work associated with pipe organs. Most grants are in the range of up to £1,000, though larger grants are sometimes made. Alan Thurlow is the Chairman of the Trustees. For more information regarding applications for grants, or donations to the Fund, please see their website www.onorganfund.org.uk, or contact Kevin Grafton.

Home practice organ

Philips 2-manual & pedal electronic organ (2x49 note manuals with 25 note pedalboard) complete with bench is available to anyone who would find it useful. Its speakers are integral and it is in good working order; it would be a very useful practice organ. Our member Desmond Harvey would be quite happy to give it to anybody willing to collect it. Those interested should telephone Desmond on 01843 869744

The KCOA website

by Lionel Marchant

Members may have noticed the new address for the KCOA website on page one of the Journal. The website now has much more ‘room’ than the old one and as a consequence it is my intention to add ‘back numbers’ of the Journal for the interest of Members. This idea came to me following the August 2009 edition where reference was made to articles in past Journals. If those archive Journals had been on the website I could have provided a link so that readers could go to the original story. In addition I wanted to underline that anyone wishing to advertise concerts in which they may be involved — organ or choral — can have the information added to the site by e-mailing me. The only current example of what I have in mind are the Knockholt recitals where you will see that not only are the recitalists shown but also a description of the organ. I have also shown recitals at St. Peter’s, Limpsfield which included photographs (colour of course!). This is not showing on the site at the moment because the recital series has been completed. However you can see this demonstrated by clicking on http://www.kcoa.co.uk/stpeterslimpsfield.htm

Receiving information by e-mail (marchant@maidstoneallsaints.freeserve.co.uk) is the easiest and quickest way of providing this service because it means that I do not have to do any typing — it is just a question of ‘copy and paste’ straight from the e-mail message to my server programme. For those who do not have an e-mail facility (and I am told that there are still some!) sending information by post to my home address would be acceptable if it were a poster advertising an event with minimal text: 7 The Platt, Sutton Valence, Maidstone, Kent. ME17 3BQ.

New Members

Kit Madden - Chipstead
Nancy Wolfe - Sevenoaks

The I.A.O. Congress 2009

by Nigel C.B. Durrant

THIS TIME it was my tuning-fork that held me up at Amsterdam but once I’d convinced Security that trusty old A=415 was not sharp and neither explosive nor biologically active, I was allowed to board my flight to John Lennon airport the last Thursday in July for my first-ever visit to Liverpool. Mildly flummoxed by the new language, I adroitly made my way to an hotel at Daresbury where several old friends were already gathered. The 2009 I.A.O. congress was about to begin.

After an early dinner we were taken to Liverpool Anglican cathedral for the Brereton recital. For years, an organist saying ‘Liverpool Cathedral’ said ‘Harry Goss-Custard’ and he, the previous-organist-but-one, was brought to life throughout the recital both by virtue of his arrangements and in the stories told by his indirect successor. Ian Tracey, when still a boy, once entered the cathedral and was surprised to hear an orchestra playing. The orchestra turned out to be Yehudi Menuhin’s violin, the music Bach’s d-minor solo Chaconne. "I want to play that," he thought. And so he did, for us, in an arrangement by ‘Gossie’. Presenting a well-chosen programme, Professor Tracey unfolded the history of ‘Big Bertha’ and the vision of Henry Willis III at the time of her inception. Franck’s Fantasy in A here was as French as the Eiffel Tower – perhaps predictably as Willis had literally copied pipework by Cavaillé-Coll. The building caressed the softest sounds and when Respighi’s impression of the Via Appia (from The Pines of Rome) ended the recital the full organ, briefly topped by the Corona reeds, was not overpowering.

So the teasing question of transcription was not by-passed on this first evening. The next day took us to St. George’s Hall, where arrangements were almost the staple diet of organists when ‘Father’ Willis built the doyen of Anglophone municipal secular organs here in 1855. Most of Ian Tracey’s recital offered ‘straight’ organ compositions (O.K.; W.T. Best, Caleb Jarvis and Lemmens’ Storm), with a foray into tutu-land featuring Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Crowned Neptune, primly sporting leaf-green Victorian bathing-knickers atop this organ, has long gazed down quixotically, pondering the vagaries of public taste while being privy to the modifications in the instrument itself. (Internally, we were told, it is ‘a potted history of organ-building’, from tracker to electric. The pedal is electric on one side, electro-pneumatic on the other – and the EP works better.) The organ’s music is what the hall was built for and, sitting at the back, I heard every sound, played or spoken. Later in the day, in Southport, bubbly Cathy Lamb treated us to a potted history of organ music on a little-known gem, Harrison & Harrison’s 1914 111-33 organ in Emmanuel church. While there might currently be some nascent entente approving the acceptability of transcriptions of orchestral music at a time when there were few orchestras, the case for transcriptions of piano music is surely somewhat nebulous. Yet Best’s transcription made real organ music of Fauré’s Funeral March of a Marionette. (Yes, piano music, published in 1872. Fauré orchestrated it years later.) Between these two recitals we were to have heard a talk by David Wells about Liverpudlian organs and related matters. In the event the programme changed slightly as local music critic Joe Riley was coaxed out of retirement to lead a guilelessly gossipy causerie covering a broader canvas.

‘Father’ Willis was also the original builder of the organ in Mossley Hill church, the venue for David Dunnett’s inventive recital. The climax was indisputably Widor’s sixth symphony, supported by intelligently chosen English and German music and a French rarity: Gaston Litaize’s Prélude et Danse Fuguée (it struck me that Fugue Dansante might be more accurate). Here too Cavaillé-Coll’s influence was evident in Willis’ tonal palette. The second full day was rounded off by our first visit to the Metropolitan cathedral where the French connection flaunted an alluring English accent. Organ scholar (and real ale-lover) Sam Austin immediately displayed the J.W. Walker chamade reeds in a short fanfare by Dukas – the first chord practically ejected us from our seats. The building’s tent-like construction is probably responsible for a noticeable lack of definition in the lower tones but the player’s exemplary articulation in music by Jehan Alain and Marcel Dupré guaranteed perfect clarity. Thence to the R.C.O. lecture, A Year at York Minster. Robert Sharpe entertainingly illustrated the flow of the musical life in that venerable institution – a tradition replete with vestry brawls and, even quite recently, appointees using different doors to avoid having to interact even when playing during the same service. Organists sometimes seem almost human.

Liverpool Cathedral, Willis

On Sunday we went to church. Our coaches arrived in Chester in time to allow us a brief look around the city centre before we attended choral matins in the cathedral. Three hymns reminded us organists how unkind it is to take a congregation up to top E. The R.S.C.M. Millennium Youth choir, directed by David Ogden and accompanied by Daniel Moult, sang. We heard John Rutter’s Winchester canticles and the choir’s basses somewhat counterbalanced the hymnary altitude by grovelling around under the clef in James MacMillan’s Tremunt videntes angeli. Then came a racy sermon on chapter five of the Song of Songs, which had been read with full understanding. After the service Philip Rushworth gave an eloquent account of Percy Whitlock’s c-minor sonata, preceded by the names of those I.A.O. members deceased during the previous 12 months. Then back to ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ for a virtuoso recital by Timothy Noon including an approachable novelty for many of us: Rubrics by Dan Locklair. The recital ended with a largely octopod Liszt BACH with the mutations only pervading the mock-fugal high jinks near the end. At which point the Met’s brash reeds reminded us that they were still there, of course.

Traditionally the last day of the Congress provides Something A Bit Different. In 2009 we were taken to W.H. Lever’s Port Sunlight which we had the opportunity to explore after a riveting recital in the United Reformed church, given by Philip Scriven: Elgar and Liszt next to balletic animal impressions courtesy of Debussy and Stravinsky. Finally, to an historic site for Scripture-spouting Welsh-speakers. Yng Nghadeirlan Llanelwy – in St. Asaph’s cathedral – we took our places beneath (Kentish) artist Michele Moxon’s gruesome Naked Christ. Our retiring President, David Hill, largely disregarding the printed programme, presented a diverting hour accompanying Crispian Steele-Perkins playing trumpets ancient and modern, a cornet, a posthorn and a length of garden hose (definitely not voiced by any Willis). David also demonstrated the organ in a stylish Howells-inspired improvisation. Fittingly (as the composer is buried in the churchyard here) both musicians collaborated in the last music of the 2009 congress: William Mathias’ popular Processional.

A sincere word of gratitude is due to Jeanne Cawley who for so many years has worked out – and kept us to – our timetables and solved delegates’ difficulties in her role of Congress Administrator. She has now ‘retired’ and it is difficult to envisage future Congresses without her watchful eyes always just round the corner.

Front Cover

by Gary Tollerfield

St Nicholas, Pluckley

Those members who visited St Mary’s, Platt, for the November meeting will have seen from my slide presentation that the earliest known organ case surviving in Great Britain is to be found at Old Radnor, just over the Welsh border. The date of the case has been debated since the mid 19th century, but that case is now considered to date from about 1550.

I mention this, because the new Pluckley organ case built in 2008 and featured on the front cover of this Journal has its roots about one hundred years earlier in the fifteenth century. It has many Gothic features including crenelations and finials at cornice level and a hint of Perpendicular architecture in the pipe shades.

Pluckley organ
Photo Gary Tollerfield

Perhaps the most prominent design feature that gives it its Gothic feel is the cantilevered overhang at impost level. This overhang is necessary to accommodate the action for larger pipes via roller boards, and is beautifully handled here with a curving soffit. However, the level impost with parallel pipe mouths in two "flats" interrupted by the centre tower with its "V" pattern pipe mouths working in contra motion to the pipe shades, again reinforces the Gothic feel. Looking at the display pipework, I am sure that all the pipes are speaking, and this always gives a feeling of integrity to any organ case design.

In my slide presentation I ended by saying that nowadays, a new organ would rarely be installed without a properly designed case. Certainly here at Pluckley, this lovely case, without ostentation, is a joy to behold.

Keith Rishworth

A short profile

The Beveridge Report of 1942 put forward the radical proposal of a free National Health Service for all. Following detailed negotiations, planning and much controversy, Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan, finally introduced the new service on 5 July 1948, with the proud expectation that it would become the envy of the world.

Opportunely born on 3 August 1948, Keith Rishworth was just one of the many patients to benefit from the new NHS service, as he required an eye operation at the age of two. Thankfully, Keith went on to lead a healthy and happy childhood, brought up, together with his younger sister, on the family farm in Northamptonshire, near Market Harborough.

Music was not a priority on the farm, his parents having little musical interest and certainly not thinking of music lessons: feeding a hungry nation at a time of national food rationing was the priority. Nevertheless, Keith did enjoy singing at school, with hymns at assembly, folk songs and Christmas carol services. He was once a soloist, but remembers a rather tremulous Royal David’s City as he confesses to being a nervous performer. At school there were a number of fellow pupils who were learning the piano and his parents finally agreed to lessons when he was about ten years old, but on the condition that he practised out of earshot in a farm outhouse.

In 1960, at the age of twelve, Keith was sent away to boarding school, an institution he describes as "militaristic and utterly ghastly", still living in a bygone age. It was an Anglican foundation in the Midlands, one he declines to name for fear of litigation. Nevertheless, its saving grace was that, as a church foundation, it had a large chapel and a recently rebuilt organ that immediately caught Keith’s attention.

After a further year on the piano he was allowed to transfer to the organ and his organ tutor, the school’s deputy organist, Peter Walder, was a man of encouraging kindness and modesty. Keith also enjoyed taking part in the Anglican services, particularly full Sung Eucharist which he had not previously encountered

In music exams, Keith’s nerves were so bad that he struggled to get much beyond the third bar of the first exam piece and, as a consequence, never tried again. He did sit and pass the early theory exams and later found a book by Laura Campbell, "Sketching at the Keyboard" most useful, teaching him to listen for the underlying structure, the rhythm and the sequence of principal chords of the key.

Following A-levels Keith left school to follow a career in farming, much to the dismay of the headmaster who preferred pupils to go into the Forces, or failing that, the Church. But before university Keith had a year on the family farm, happy to be among real people doing real work in a natural environment. He often played the harmonium for services in the village church, which was good experience in the Psalms and enjoying the now much-lamented Prayer Book morning and evening services.

Keith studied Agricultural Management and Economics at Reading University, which, as an off-shoot of Oxford, had the benefit of the Oxford FRCO organ tutor John Webster, who used to motor down from Oxford in his little MGB. He gave Keith a solid grounding in the Orgelbuchlein, which he has found useful ever since, demonstrating that a little Bach is never out of place.

After graduating, Keith worked as an agricultural product manager for Shell International in London, promising some first class career prospects, right next door to the Royal Festival Hall with its weekly organ recitals. He continued playing the organ and practised occasionally in the chapel of the Brompton Hospital, where the organ unfortunately suffered from the ferocious hospital heating; it had its own roll of sticking plaster ready to re-connect the trackers every time they fell apart. Keith also played for a service there, but was told that his "country hymn speeds" were rather slow for London; he now plays introductions at a good pace slowing down later if necessary.

After two years he tired of London’s bustle and, relinquishing possibly his best ever job prospects, set off to work as a farm boy in Upper Bavaria, which was within sight of the Alps. It certainly improved his German and also allowed him to experience some of the delightful central European organs, based on very few 8ft stops, but with plenty of upperwork, colour and character. Keith spent many winter evenings walking through snowy woods in near pitch darkness to the next village, where he was kindly allowed to practise, although he was perhaps viewed with suspicion by the local people, thinking him a foreigner and "not quite catholic". However, he was invited to accompany the service on one occasion, but declined, as he was concerned he wouldn’t be able to follow it well enough, as it was conducted at great speed without any announcements.

After less than a year working as a farm boy Keith heard that his father was in declining health at home, so returned to England to help run the family farm. After a difficult time in the 1960s, farming prospered in the 1970s buoyed by support from the European farming subsidies. During these successful farming years, Keith met Anthea and they married in 1976. Anthea, despite being a city girl, quickly settled to country life, creating a charming and comfortable home, surrounded by fields and cattle; she certainly hadn’t anticipated having to retrieve stampeding cows when they broke out in the middle of the night.

Working hard to create a home and garden, as well as run the farm, meant practising the organ only occasionally in a nearby village on a typical Victorian organ with sprung trigger swell pedal. But as an alternative, Keith also practised on a clavichord, one built from a Michael Thomas kit, which now sadly languishes in his attic.

During the 1980s farming started to decline and with the unexpected death of his mother the rather traumatic, but necessary, decision was taken to sell the farm, allowing Keith to consider a new career. It also allowed his father to enjoy retirement without the worry and stress of farming. This rather enforced career change was thankfully simplified, as there were no children to consider and Anthea was still following her own career.

Keith Rishworth
Photo C. Jilks

Keith considered the philosophy that the public may not have wanted to pay a fair price for food, but they did care about holidays. Consequently, Keith and Anthea moved to the south of England in 1985, to the Kent and Sussex border area of Rye looking for a suitable small holiday business. Anthea very sensibly continued working in a government office and was able to transfer to the new locations when they moved. They continued to live in the Rye and Hastings area for several years looking closely at seven or eight business possibilities, before finally deciding they were probably too unprofitable. However, Keith did acquire further business experience working as a bookkeeper and school bursar. He was also able to practise the organ regularly and played for services monthly at St Matthew’s Church, St Leonards-on-Sea, which has an original 3-manual and pedal Father Willis organ. Keith also had further organ lessons from Richard Eldridge, the school organ tutor who taught him to concentrate on phrasing and the line, rather than focussing too much on individual notes.

In the fullness of time and after several visits to Canterbury, which seemed a more bustling and busier place, Keith and Anthea moved from Sussex in 1992 and have been very fortunate to establish themselves in this historic, lively and sociable city. They converted a good-sized house for B&B, and later for self-catering apartments. In the B&B days Keith had little time for playing, but on his weekly day off was grateful to be able to practise at St Peter’s Church, Canterbury, on its Browne & Sons organ with its responsive pneumatic action.

Since semi-retirement, Keith has started deputising for services at St Peter’s and, with the support of Philip Cheetham, also plays occasionally for services at St Mildred’s, Canterbury, enjoying its more comprehensive and modernised Browne & Sons instrument, with its very comfortable keyboard and pedal action. This was also about the time that Philip introduced Keith to our Kent County Organists’ Association.

Over the years Keith has derived great pleasure from playing different organs, appreciating the skills and investment that has gone into them; for Keith, the important thing is tonal quality and expressiveness, rather than massive volumes of sound. Enjoying playing when required for services, Keith is concerned how much longer there will be a demand for the ‘traditional’ church service and organist. Nevertheless, while there is, he is glad to be of service, hopefully returning some the happiness and pleasure the organ has given him.

Keith is a modest man, imbued with a rustic contemplative air, who takes time and trouble in whatever he does. We are most grateful for his expertise and the amiable enthusiasm he brings to our Association. He has just completed three generous years on our committee and continues to be a regular friendly face at our monthly meetings.

Canterbury Recital

Jonathan Hope, our 2009 Organ Festival finalist, will be giving his winning recital at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday 19th February at 6.15 p.m. following Evensong at 5.15 p.m.

Also, Jonathan is giving a recital at St Stephen’s Church Walbrook, London, on Friday 19th March at 12.30 p.m.

The IAO Congress 2010

The IAO Congress this year is at Brighton and the South East 25-30 July. Details from Helen Devereux Murray Tel : 07709 430 042

Photographs

Front cover Gary Tollerfield
Others: Colin Jilks, RCE
Sub Editors: Brian Moore & David Brock


"THE KENT COUNTY ORGANISTS' ASSOCIATION welcomes new members with an
interest in the organ and its music. Also those who enjoy visiting churches
with an appreciation of architecture and heritage. Membership of the Association
is not based on the ability to play; we welcome equally those who enjoy
listening, as well as those who enjoy playing".