September 2020 – Review

I must start by apologising for the delay in publication of the review. It’s exam week at school and things have been a little busy!

September is always a busy month in the organ world. Whilst things are far from normal for many, some things don’t change. September is the month many start their organ scholarship placements, be they at Cathedrals, Chapels, Colleges or Universities – The Organ Manual wishes you the very best of luck with these. Of course September is also a month where organ trials take place at various Universities and Colleges across the country – very many congratulations to all those who have been awarded a place for next year. The Organ Manual looks forward to following your journey and wishes you the best of luck. Best of luck too to those who continue to seek a suitable placement or are preparing for trials this time next year. Cathedrals are starting to advertise for organ scholars, so I’m sure we’ll hear about some more appointments soon.

Over the course of September courses started again with the RCO, this time focusing on the FRCO. One of those providing instruction is Anne Marsden Thomas, who incidentally also writes the blog post for October for The Organ Manual. In it she tells us about her new book, The New Oxford Organ Method written with Frederick Stocken. I have already purchased my copy and look forward to it being delivered soon. The RCO have also continued to release their A-Z videos as well as a series by Tom Bell on Messiaen, a must for all fans to watch!

The RCSM are also continuing with courses and Rosemary Field, Head of Organ Studies has too released a book The Complete Church Organist which again is very useful. Viscount Organs Wales have supported the RSCM by installing an organ for Rosemary Field to teach from whilst restrictions are in place. A bonus of this is, on the RSCM website there are a number of recordings of pieces in the book.

As schools have reopened a number of lessons have started again. Union Chapel provide free organ lessons for 4 students a year as part of their education program. Whilst students continued lessons via Zoom in lockdown, they are of course delighted to be back. YOST, a nationwide initiative continue to encourage young organists, PipeUp! in the Diocese of Salisbury and The Organists Training Program in the Diocese of Leeds are all busy teaching and recruiting young organists too. The Organ Manual would love to publicise other organisations providing lessons for young students, so please do let me know about them.

Inspiring organists and organ lovers of all ages and levels are of course recitals. It has been wonderful to see so many starting up again during September. A number of Cathedrals have been providing recitals live and/or online including Durham, Norwich, Portsmouth and St Chad’s Birmingham with @Thursdaylive. Whilst lock down has caused and created many issues, I am sure we can all agree, the music offering online, from courses to recitals has been fantastic and provided those unable to be there in person the opportunity to hear some fantastic and varied music.

Finally, a thank you to Viscount Organs Wales and the RCSM for their continued support.

Keep staying safe and well

Very best wishes


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