I am struggling to believe another month has passed, much of it in lockdown. There is of course still much uncertainty about when church services will return to what most of recognise as normal. However, some have benefited from access to the organ, with the latest statement reading, ‘Organs can be played for faith practices, as well as general maintenance, but should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use’. A full copy of the guidance can be found from Covid-19 Statement. Stories are already being shared by those who have accessed the organ and played for the first time in months and I am sure there will be many more in the coming weeks.
Writing for the Church Of England Newspaper at the end of June, I had the opportunity to reflect upon how organists may be used in church services going forward.Organ Mass has been suggested by many. I wonder if their may be more pieces for reflection played throughout the service. Only time will tell of course – I’d be delighted to know your thoughts on this.
Lockdown has been hard, but it has also offered many opportunities. RCO have run courses online of a Tuesday evening about the ARCO qualifications and these continue. They are also releasing a series of videos A-Z of the Organ via Youtube as well as tutorial material. The RSCM have run another fantastic Big Music Sunday service online and many courses for all manner of church musicians. In addition June saw the fourth Bach-a-thon organised by Anna Lapwood of Pembroke College, Cambridge. If you missed it, you can catch up on the Facebook page, just make sure you have a spare 24 hours to hear all 60 splendid players who took part!
Meanwhile, at York Minster, work has progressed with the installation of the organ following its refurbishment. Whilst following this work, I came across the The Upright Gilders Facebook page and have loved learning more about what they do and how they do it. This has been added to The Organ Manual website, do take a look!
Perhaps a glimmer of hope, Organ Scholarships for next year are starting to be advertised. Do take a look at The Organ Manual Twitter feed where any I come across are shared. Also, for those interested in organ scholarships, whilst the RCO TOSE course can’t happen in Cambridge, it has moved online and would be well worth joining.
I am sure you enjoyed the post about the Ally Pally Organ by Hugh Macpherson and Kathleen’s piece on Lessons online. In July, Romain Bornes writes about his ARCO experience, giving those of us yet to take the exams a useful insight and there will be a piece about the Bach-a-thon. As always, if there is something you would like to share with readers, please do drop me a line – I would be delighted to publish it on the blog.
Do stay safe and well.
Very best wishes
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