October 2020 Review

Another month has flown past, ending of course with Halloween and the only organ music many of my friends have heard and therefore know the organ for! Thankfully we know different and for me, whilst it has been half term I have been busy finalising my GCSE recording choices and thinking long and hard about my composition piece too.

During the break I have also been planning for the next few months of guest blog writers. As you know, I am always thrilled when someone asks if they can write a piece, but I am equally as thrilled when I write asking someone if they’d be willing to help and they say yes! I am delighted to say James Parsons, Rosemary Field and Sir Andrew Parmley will all be writing a feature as well as Kenneth Spencer and Gary Cook . The October piece by Anne Marsden Thomas about her new book was really well received. I know the November article by Ann Elise Smoot about the importance and value of attending courses will be equally as popular.

Recitals seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment but it is joyous to still be able to hear them on live stream or You Tube. Sadly, after the announcement last night, much of the music we hear will be through such outlets from Thursday. Nonetheless this allows us all to benefit from a wide diversity of music and players we may not otherwise be able to enjoy. Of course The Organist Encores have had such offerings along with interesting interviews for some time – in fact the episode last week was 381 and suitably topical to tune into! And of course Scott Brothers Duo continue to entertain us with recitals from more magnificent venues. I also recently learned you can purchase scores from their site.

I was interested to read Richard Moore has been working with the trustees of Arabesque Trust making plans for 2021. It is a new organisation to me and I will of course add a link to the website. They work to support blind and visually impaired musicians especially in keyboard instruments and learning. I look forward to finding out more about them in due course.

It is delightful to see new organs being installed. York Minster saw the return of their organ earlier this month. On a slightly smaller scale, @RHTPrimary had an installation just last week ready for students to start learning, supported by the RCO and Viscount Organs. A scheme similar to the Salisbury Diocese ‘Pipe Up’ has now been set up in the Diocese of Exeter as well with PipeUp Devon. Having started my organ learning with such a scheme and set up The Organ Manual having looked into support for young organists, I am delighted to see such initiatives growing. The Young Organists Training Scheme in Hereford was also celebrated this month with presentation assessment certificates handed out at Evensong with some spectacular music to accompany the awards. It is also good to see YOST have appointed Carl Jackson, DoM at Hampton Court to the board of trustees. As if all that wasn’t enough, the School Organists Association, founded just before lockdown now has a website and Twitter providing all sorts of information. The organisation is set up to support organists and organ teachers in schools in the UK. In due course The Organ Manual will publish a blog from them so we can learn more about their work.

Finally, I would like to thank my sponsors, Viscount Organs Wales and the RSCM. I realise these are difficult times for all businesses and organisations and this makes their support even more valuable.

So, it’s back to school for me and the busy lead up to Christmas.

Stay safe, best wishes

Anna x

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