2018 Programme

posted 30 Oct 2017, 05:52 by West Sussex Organists   [ updated 23 Apr 2018, 00:20 ]

Sat 27 January 2018
Organ Taster Day for Pianists 
using the Hunter organ at St Paul's Church, Chichester 

An opportunity to hear and play the King of instruments, and to find out how it works.
Bring a piano piece to play.
Free entry; refreshments will be provided; Under 18s must be accompanied. 

A bursary scheme for starter lessons to be launched from this event. Whilst there is no age restriction, applicants will need to be around Grade 5 standard on the piano, have access to a practice instrument in a local church, and to have the long term aim of playing the organ for services. 

Saturday 3 March 2018
IAO London Organ Day
Notre Dame de France, Leicester Square
More information about the IAO can be found on their website.

Tuesday 15th May 2018
Royal Albert Hall Grand Organ Celebration
For more details about this trip, please contact Malcolm Hawke.

Sunday 20th May 2018
St John the Baptist, Westbourne
Organ recital given by Kyoko Canaway, Organ Scholar of Chichester Cathedral

Saturday 2 June 2018
Organ Workshop for Children
Nick and Sarah Plumley will lead an organ workshop for children from their home at 47 Maltravers Street, Arundel, BN18 9BU. Topics covered will include the playing of the organ, the inside of the organ and how it works, the tuning of reeds on the organ, and the visual aspect of the organ.

Nick is a historian and artist and is the author of several books on organs. He is a retired teacher and has been fascinated by organs both in England and Europe since an early age. Sarah is a teacher of piano and organ and is organist and director of music at St. Nicholas' Church, Arundel. She started learning the organ herself at school at the age of 14 and has been playing the organ in churches ever since.

More details here.

Late July 2018
IAO Festival
The 2018 IAO Festival will be hosted in Peterborough by Stephen Grahl, IAO President and Director of Music of Peterborough Cathedral

For further details, see the IAO website.

Saturday 13 October 2018
West Sussex Organists' Association AGM at Arundel Cathedral
Light buffet on arrival; organ recital following meeting.
Suggested donation of £1 per glass of wine. 

2017 Programme

posted 18 Aug 2016, 14:24 by West Sussex Organists   [ updated 7 Sep 2017, 02:57 ]

Saturday 28 Jan 2017
Organ Discovery Day at St George's Chichester
10am–1pm. Free entry; refreshments provided.
An opportunity to hear and play the 'King of instruments', and find out how it works. Bring a piano piece to play, doodle with a few notes or just come and listen. Musicians and non musicians of all ages equally welcome. Under 18s must be accompanied please. 

Saturday 25 February 2017
Visit to hear and play the organ at St Mary's Church, Littlehampton
10.30am–12.30pm. Free entry; Minibus available at £10 per person depending on numbers.
Nick Plumley will introduce the 1795 Seede organ (restored by Walker). There will be a chance for members to play though no compulsion to do so.

If there is sufficient interest a guided tour of the harbour or a cinema/theatre trip might also be arranged. Please indicate interest when booking. There are pubs and supermarkets close by for those wishing to stay for lunch.

Saturday 13 May 2017
President's Lunch
12.30pm for 1pm in the Alexandra Room, Chichester Cathedral.
At 2pm there will be a short recital given by George Barrett, the Cathedral's Organ Scholar.
Price to be confirmed; in the region of £15 per person.

Saturday 14 October 2017
Annual General Meeting at St John the Baptist, Westbourne (nr. Emsworth)
Drinks (suggested donation of £1 per glass of wine) and light buffet followed by meeting and recital on Tickell organ given by Stewart Taylor.

WSOA Study tour of organs in North Holland, May 30th to June 3rd 2016

posted 13 Jun 2016, 11:26 by West Sussex Organists   [ updated 20 Jun 2016, 07:11 ]

A substantial proportion of organists in Germany, the Low Countries and Scandinavia are obliged under their church or city contracts to undertake further professional development each year. This might be lessons with specialist tutors in technique, repertoire or organ historiography. It might also include touring to see unfamiliar instruments to develop their sense of organ aesthetic.  Such diverse study is much valued.

Thus, it was good to participate in a WSOA short study tour of some of the organ jewels of North Holland, initially based on the provincial capital Groningen and ending at Zwolle.  Nicholas Plumley had prepared a fine monograph, with idiomatic illustrations to enrich the document, on the organs to be visited - covering their construction pedigree as well as highlighting where excess of modification in former times had, for the most part, been overcome by painstaking restoration work in the post-war years, notably by Ahrends and Flentrop.  The legacy of this work was a marvel to see and, above all, hear.

Every instrument we saw contained pipework from the 17th and 18th centuries and a number had good examples from the 15th and 16th centuries. This allowed appreciation of the match between repertoire, instrument and authoritative performance practice.  Listening to North German organ music before JSB on instruments built by Schnitger - surely the high priest of North German organ building - enriched by up-to-date performance practice was to offer perspectives on the music, its liturgical relevance and the sheer beauty of the coincidence of music, instrument and perfomer.

Members should read Nick Plumley's monograph to appreciate the scale and scope of the treasure-trove in North Holland! The WSOA web-site has a 20-minute audio improvisation in late Baroque style, by the accomplished and delightful Sietze de Vries, who gave much of his time and vast knowledge to our group, played upon the superb instrument in the Martinikerk in Groningen.

His brilliant improvisations on smaller organs in the Groningen area, including a 17-stop house organ, built in 2013, owned by Tim Knigge, added much to our appreciation of stop colours, articulation and the variety possible, even with limited resources.

Members of the group tried their hands and feet at each venue, coaxing effective sounds and musical performance even upon the briefest acquaintance with the instruments.

The Groningen cycle of visits was concluded with a magisterial concert of pre-JSB repertoire on the largely Schnitger organ in the small hamlet of Nordbroek. The perfect empathy between the three recitalists, the finely restored instrument and the carefully selected works by Bruhns, Weckman, Lübeck, Tunder, Sweelinck, Scheidt and Buxtehude  will live long in our memories.

The last day took the group South to the Michaelskerk in Zwolle with its vast four-manual instrument in excellent condition - albeit further work to build upon that undertaken by Flentrop is planned for its 300th anniversary in 2021. Organist Toon Hagen played three works by JSB and then the group took turns to explore the instrument's potential  in music from pre-JSB to contemporary Dutch composer Jan Mulder, illustrating the dazzling variety and opulence of sonorities to be heard in that exceptional acoustic.

The tour was arranged and led by our gallant Secretary Matthew Cooke and proceeded through its exciting timetable in an orderly fashion, allowing time for reflection upon the many wonders seen and heard.

If that is professional development for organists, let's have much more of it.

Gavin Barrett

Click on the links below for:

Sietze de Vries's improvisation at the Martinikerk, Groningen.

Matthew Cooke's recording of Bach's Piece d'Orgue on the organ of the Martinikerk, Groningen.

Nick Plumley's brochure for the trip, containing much interesting information about the organs.

2016 Programme

posted 9 Dec 2015, 02:56 by West Sussex Organists   [ updated 27 Jan 2016, 08:37 ]

Booking forms for all trips can be found in the January 2016 newsletter

Saturday 30 January 2016
Workshop for Reluctant Organists with Tim Ravalde
10.30am-12.30pm. Coffee from 10am
Free for members; suggested donation of £5 from non members.
Contact the Hon Secretary if you would like to participate
St George's Church, Whyke

Saturday 5 March 2016
IAO London Organ Day
Southwark Cathedral
See for booking

Tuesday 12 April 2016
Trip to Boscombe Methodist Church (2.30pm) and Christchurch Priory (5.30pm)
Minibus not provided, though we hope that lifts will be available. Members will need to bring or buy their own food for the day.

Tuesday 17 May 2016
President's Evening
6.30pm for 7pm
Includes a recital in the cathedral given by Laura Erel, Chichester Cathedral's Organ Scholar.
Buffet supper with cash bar
Chichester Cathedral and Cloisters Café
£15 pounds per person.

30 May to 3 June 2016
Trip to Groningen, Netherlands.
For more information, contact Matthew Cooke.

24-29 July 2016
IAO Congress and Music Festival in Bath
More details at or email Rob Miller on

Wednesday 31 August 2016
Trip to visit the new organ at Donnington
Meet at Donnington Church at 4pm.
Minibus transport may be provided. This will be confirmed shortly before the trip.

Tuesday 11 October 2016
Annual General Meeting
with organ recital and refreshments
6.30pm for 7pm
Goring United Reformed Church

2015 Programme

posted 28 Jan 2015, 06:55 by West Sussex Organists   [ updated 7 May 2016, 11:00 ]

  • Saturday 7th March - IAO 29th London Organ Day, Westminster Central Hall (Harrison organ). 9.30 am - 5pm. Bridge, Stanford, Parry and transcriptions. For tickets and more information, click here.
  • Saturday 21st March - Outreach Workshop for aspirant organists in Arundel, 10am - 1pm, led by Mark Wardell. Younger organists are specifically encouraged to come (older organists can also apply!).  Improvisation, accompanying and hymn playing etc. £20 pounds for participants, £5 for observers.
  • Tuesday 19th May - President’s Evening, Chichester Cathedral Cloisters, 6.30pm for 7pm. Gavin's Quiz, buffet and organ recital.
  • Saturday 30th May - All Saints Margaret Street visit, 11am, then Temple church visit (TBC), followed by Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral.
  • Monday 27th July - Sunday 1st August - IAO Annual Congress 2015 in Norwich. For further information click here.

  • Friday 28th August - Trip to Holy  Trinity Gosport with a chance to play the organ, followed by a recital at St Mary's Alverstoke given by Daniel Cook.

  • September - Trip to Farnborough Abbey and its Cavaillé-Coll organ. Date TBC.
  • Wednesday 14th October - AGM, refreshments and recital on Johannus digital organ, St Mary's Storrington. 6.30pm for 7pm.

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