Before I write my usual review, I would like to start by welcoming the many new blog followers who have joined ‘The Organ Manual’ over the last month. With the support of Viscount Organs Wales I have been able to promote the site more than usual and this has led to a phenomenal increase in visits to the site and clicks to countless suppliers of organ products from music to repairs and everything in between.
It has been wonderful to see (and hear) organists back in churches and cathedrals across the UK. I know however, many are not back yet and hope that changes will allow you to return to the organ bench soon. Excitingly, work has continued on the organ at York Minster. Meanwhile, Chichester Cathedral organ has been receiving work too and as has St Mary’s Church, Pulborough. You might wonder why I single out St Mary’s. The reason is, the small organ world was perhaps highlighted when staff from Mander Organs and Harrison & Harrison ran into each other at the same hotel whilst working in the area! This of course has been followed by the sad news that Mander Organs are to close their doors.
The RCO have continued to run courses online of a Tuesday evening about the ARCO qualifications. I have certainly found them very interesting and helpful. If you have missed them, recordings are available online. They have also continued to release a series of videos A-Z of the Organ via Youtube as well as tutorial material. Whilst the summer courses can’t happen in their usual venues, they are running online. No travelling, just a computer and wifi! More information is available from the courses page of the RCO site.
Meanwhile the RSCM have been posting hymns each day online. In addition they have developed their online resources and have held a number of courses for all level and genres of church musicians. It is well worth exploring their site for support. Rosemary Field has held a number of sessions for organists and much is available, through links if not directly, from her RSCM Facebook page.
The Organ Club have also created a series of videos. The club has decided to produce a series of organ demonstrations of UK and international cathedral organs from world-renowned organists. They appear on the link above and also on their YouTube page.
In July, Romain Bornes wrote about his ARCO experience, giving those of us yet to take the exams a useful insight, whilst Luke Cherry wrote about Returning to the Organ Bench. In August I am delighted to be publishing two guest blog posts, with something for everyone! The first is by Andy Quin, telling us about the world of silent movies. The second is by Matthew Salisbury, giving those of us interested in an organ scholarship invaluable information on the process, requirements etc. The following month Daniel Moult is writing a piece about applying to Conservatoires. In the coming months there will also be pieces by organ scholars from Cambridge and Birmingham Conservatoire, giving us insight into the student life. As always, if there is something you would like to share with readers, please do drop me a line. BUT, if there is something you would like to learn more about, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can find someone to write about it! I always say it I know, but I would be thrilled to hear from you!
Do stay safe and well.
Very best wishes