President 2021-2022

John Davenport

Thank you all for supporting what I feel has been a varied and interesting programme of events throughout the year.
I should like to single out a few individuals who have done so much to ensure the smooth running of the association. In particular, my thanks go to Eric Tyson for his advice, support, enthusiasm, and impeccable organisation in all aspects of the organisation.
Thanks, too, to John Marsh for his help in setting up Zoom meetings, including his own talk and that by Barry Rose, as well as his work on the website. Zoom has proved invaluable in keeping the society active through the pandemic, and I am sure it will continue to do so, particularly through though the dark winter months.
Also, thanks to Malcolm Gibbs for his big-screen video and recording of various events – notably the lecture recital in September by David Ponsford on French Baroque Organ Music – still available to view on the BDOA web-site.
There has been much to enjoy in all our activities, but, for me, the highlights have been the Oxford trip, which, in spite of frustrations on the way, Eric ‘pulled together’ brilliantly.
Secondly, the President’s Evening, with stylish and musical performances not only from our three excellent soloists, but also the orchestra, who so kindly volunteered their services. Malcolm’s video of the concert is available here: https://www.bdoa.org.uk/events/presidents-concert-event/
I also personally enjoyed the mid-year lunch gathering. This was something of an experiment and numbers were down on previous years, but the food was excellent; our speaker, Adrian Lucas, was suitably light-hearted and entertaining, and everybody seemed to have a happy time.
Two areas where support and pressure from BDOA are needed are 1) the future of the ‘Beacon’ Hall organ – nothing seems to have happened since Louise Mitchell’s talk early in the year and there is concern at an apparent lack of interest from the ‘powers that be’ regarding its future, and 2) the training of young organists. I know that both these issues are very much in the minds of both my successor, John Marsh, and the new Vice-President, Nick Sherwood.
I wish both of them an enjoyable year in office and good luck with all their plans and pursuits.
John Davenport
President 2019-21

Adrian Sawyer

To be elected as President during 2019/ 20 was a surprise - almost a ‘why me?’ reaction, as I felt that nothing I could offer would match the abilities and achievements of my predecessors. I am honoured to have been asked and during my year of office will do all I can to promote and sustain interest in the organ. Since 1934, with support from its membership, Presidents have enabled the Association to thrive and in recent years, to provide encouragement and financial support for young organists, through the Edgar Joyce Memorial Fund - set up in memory of a former member, who was President in 1992.
Following many years as organist at Christ Church, Clifton, Bristol, I now share with a fellow member of our association, the organ bench at St Mary’s, Stoke Bishop, Bristol.
My musical career began at the age of 5, with piano lessons at two shillings a time(!), with ‘Miss Hodges’ - an austere lady (more accurately ‘terrifying’) who rapped your knuckles with a stick, should you dare to play a black note with your thumb or played ‘without bending your knuckles’. My debut ‘in church’, aged 11, was playing a harmonium at a Gospel Hall in Bath. At the age of 13, with funds earned through a paper round, I commenced organ lessons on a fine 3 manual Willis at St Mary’s, Bathwick. Over the years, I was privileged to have several encouraging tutors, culminating in several years as a pupil of Michael Fleming, at All Saints, Margaret Street, London.
The hallmarks of the BDOA are those of acceptance, loyalty, a generous and helpful spirit, a determination to keep the organ ‘alive’ and to help lay foundations for those who will continue to play the ‘King of Instruments’ for generations to come. Few Associations will have amongst their members or former members so many organ scholars, cathedral organists, composers, (university) chapel Directors of Music or organists whose choirs and repertoires ‘match’ those found anywhere in the world.
I am indebted to Chris Mansfield (former Secretary) and Eric Tyson (new Secretary) who have carried the load since my heart attack in February of this year. Following three stays in hospital, and realising I was ‘on the ropes’ and unable to defend myself, they ‘persuaded’ me to see through my Presidential year, with their help. Without it there would have been no Programme of Events for my year in office!
Our monthly events are well ‘underway’ and a look at the Events section will show that we are not a totally ‘serious’ bunch – for instance, in July we had a Car Treasure Hunt of churches and organs, followed by a sumptuous Cream Tea in our south facing garden, on the hottest Saturday of the year.
The ‘organ crawl’ afternoon in August to three churches and organs was a very interesting, enjoyable and well attended event.
October 2nd sees us with Jonathan Price’s talk on C H H Parry (advert attached), and then I do hope you will all join us for my President’s Afternoon which will be a Composite Recital by some B&DOA Members at Christ Church Clifton on 2 November (advert attached).
The final months of our year (which runs June to May) commence with the Annual Dinner on 1 February 2020 when our Guest Speaker will be Dr John Kitchen of Edinburgh who is the current President of the IAO. Immediately following Easter there is usually a trip ‘abroad’ or 3/4 day trip to organs in the UK - arrangements for this post-Easter trip are gradually emerging for visits to organs in the Peterborough/Oundle districts.
Please do join us for as many events as possible – your Membership Card and Programme will be posted to you very shortly.
I look forward to seeing you soon at one of our events.
With best wishes,
Adrian Sawyer
President 2018-19

James Drinkwater

Hello, and welcome to the B&DOA Website.
I am very honoured to have been elected as President for 2018/19, following in succession from Kenneth Spencer. He led our Association most innovatively and successfully in 2017/18, with a variety of events ranging from an insightful lecture about Hauptwerk (complete with fully-rigged demonstration model), and a very-well planned quiz afternoon, to the magnificent 4-day tour to Hungary. I encourage all members to consider attending our future domestic and overseas trips.
As a music master at Clifton College, I am aware I follow in the shadow of the illustrious one-handed Dr Douglas Fox (Director of Music 1931-1957) who served three times as President of the B&DOA, amidst all his many other concert-giving, teaching and administrative responsibilities. I certainly value the educational opportunities that the Association gives for our student members, having encouraged my own organ pupils to participate in the masterclasses, recital platforms, and indeed composition competitions that have been run. I also value the Association as a vehicle for organist members to socialise, network, and share in the developments in the organ-playing world. I hope this continues under this particular presidency, being especially mindful of the restrictions to communication posed by new legislation such as GDPR that we must strive to overcome, whilst of course being fully compliant.
As such, it is useful to outline the programme of events for the 2018/19 year here (correct as of August 2018):
2018
Saturday 7 August - 10:30am, The English Organ School and Museum at Milborne Port with Professor Margaret Phillips
Saturday 25 August - 10:30am, visit to organs at St Brendan's College, Keynsham Parish Church and Victoria Methodist Church, followed by pub lunch
Monday 17 September – 7:30pm, Geoffrey Morgan’s illustrated talk, ‘Hymn Accompaniment: Some Personal Thoughts’ at Holy Trinity Church, Nailsea
Wednesday 26 September - 7:30pm, ‘Daniel Moult’ celebrity recital at Christ Church, Broad Street, Bristol City, BS1 2EJ (tickets £9.50 at the door)
Saturday 27 October - 7:30pm, President's Evening: Chamber Music by Organists for Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano performed by students from the Royal College of Music and the Basel Music Academy, Trinity-Henleaze URC, Waterford Rd, BS9 4BT (tickets £10 at the door)
Saturday 17 November - 12:30pm, Clifton College ‘Open Console’ (with new 32' Double Ophicleide) followed by 3:30pm Evensong at Bristol Cathedral
Monday 17 December - 7pm, Messiaen's 'La Nativité du Seigneur' played by Paul Walton and David Bednall at Bristol Cathedral
2019
Saturday 26 January - 6:30pm, Annual Dinner at Lincombe Barn, Downend, with guest speaker Dr William McVicker (Organ Curator, Royal Festival Hall) – must book in advance
Saturday 9 February - Coach trip to the Malverns: Malvern Great Priory, Tewkesbury Abbey and the Nicholson Organ Builders workshop
Thursday 21 March - 7:30pm, American Concert Organist ‘Nathan Laube’ celebrity recital, Clifton College, BS8 3EZ
Saturday 23 March - 2pm, Bristol Music Festival Organ Classes with adjudicator James Parsons, St Monica Trust, Cote Lane, Durdham Down, BS9 3UN
April (3-6 tbc.) - Trip to Cambridge
Saturday 4 May - Recital and Masterclass given by David Baker on the William Allen Chamber Organ (Grade II* instrument, restored 2016) at St Peter's Church,Pilning, BS35 4JB
Saturday 8 June - 4:15pm, Annual General Meeting
Saturday 8 June - 6pm, Annual Edgar Joyce Memorial Concert, St Paul's Church, Southville, BS3 1DG with Adrian Sawyer and student organists
I am looking forward to all of these events, and hope that as many members and guests as possible will be able to join us for them. We are fortunate in having so many members who are regular attenders, and for those whom we don't see quite so often, I say "Do join us, we'd love to see you!". And if you are not a member, but have an interest in the pipe organ, whether or not you play, why not join? Simply contact our Secretary, Chris Mansfield, whose details are to be found on this website.
With very best wishes,
James Drinkwater, President 2018/19
President 2017-18

Kenneth Spencer

Hello, and welcome to the B&DOA Website.
I am very honoured to have been elected as President for 2017/2018, as I, a mere amateur, am joining a list of some very talented and expert exponents of our instrument.
I am succeeding Eric Tyson, to whom we must be most grateful, for he has worked very hard to deliver a highly successful and innovative programme of events - not least with our International Organ Composition Competition which culminated in our concert of the sixteen finalist pieces. Prizes were awarded to Jack Redman (19 and under), Michael Phillips (1st prize 20 and over), Owain Park (2nd prize 20 and over) and John Henderson (audience prize), and I send them my personal congratulations.
We started our 2017-2018 season with our Annual General Meeting, which was followed by the Annual Edgar Joyce Memorial concert at St Paul’s Southville. We were delighted to be entertained by three of our younger, but none-the-less talented, association student members: David Rice, Henry Metcalfe and Robin Pillinger. This event was proof that the future supply of Organ Recitalists (if not parish church organists!) is quite secure!
I admit to a touch of pride as I received the Badge of Office from Eric at the AGM, after which I gave a brief account of our plans for 2017-2018:
Monday 3rd July - 5:00pm, Bristol Cathedral, Open Console Evening following Choral Evensong
Saturday 12th August - 2:00pm, An Afternoon in the Country - visit to St Michael's, Atworth and Great Chalfield Manor
Tuesday 26th September – Free Gala Concert at Colston Hall with international recitalist Richard Hills
Fri/Sat 20th-21st October - visit to the Regional Organ Day in Bournemouth (21st)
Saturday afternoon in November - Members Musical Quiz - date and venue to be confirmed
Monday 18th December - Bristol Cathedral, La Nativite du Seigneur (Messaien) free recital
Saturday 20th January - Annual Dinner at Lincombe Barn, with Guest Speaker James Lancelot
Saturday 24th February? - Workshop, including Accompaniment, Conducting and Improvisation
Saturday ??March - Bristol Music Festival Organ Masterclass at St Monica Trust
Late April - Overseas trip to Hungary - to visit organs in Budapest, Esztergom and elsewhere.
A Saturday in May - President's Event: to include a presentation ‘All about Hauptwerk - a new kind of digital organ’.
June - Annual General Meeting and Edgar Joyce Memorial Concert at St Paul’s, Southville
I am looking forward to all of these events, and hope that as many members and guests as possible will be able to join us for them. We are fortunate in having so many members who are regular attenders, and for those whom we don't see quite so often, I say "Do join us, we'd love to see you!". And if you are not a member, but have an interest in the pipe organ, whether or not you play, why not join? Simply contact our Secretary, Chris Mansfield, whose details are to be found on this website.
With very best wishes
Kenneth Spencer, President 2017/2018
President 2016/17

Eric Tyson

Welcome to the B&DOA Website. It is a great honour to have been elected as President for 2016/2017.
The new season began as usual with a well-attended Annual General Meeting and the Edgar Joyce Memorial concert at St Paul’s Southville. After thanking outgoing President, Rosemary Thomas, for a great past year I donned the badge of office and discovered that the red ribbon clashed with my orange tie! Hopefully this will be the only clash during the year. The Edgar Joyce Memorial concert was well attended, with a very good programme including contributions from three of our talented young student organists.
Our second event in August is a walking visit to three organs in Clifton; Clifton College, All Saints and Christ Church. We are very pleased to extend a warm invitation to members of neighbouring associations to enjoy this afternoon with us. Let’s hope the weather is kind.
This year marks the sixtieth birthday of the superb Harrison and Harrison organ in the Colston Hall so our annual free concert there will be a very special event. It will take place on Tuesday 20th September and our guest will be the highly talented Richard Hills. We are all looking forward to what is going to be a very memorable evening. Please do tell your friends and congregations.
What I hope will be the highlight of my year as President will be a competition for composers of organ music. The judging of this will form my President’s concert at All Saints, Clifton on Saturday 13 May 2017, when a short list of 20 of the entries will be performed and judged by a panel of judges and also by the audience who will award a separate prize. The intention of the competition is to bring some approaching new music into the organ repertoire and the competition is being promoted under the strap line “Memorable for the Right Reasons”. I very much hope that you will be able to join me for this event.
We have other events planned for the year including a car treasure hunt, a day trip to Cheltenham, a talk on remastering of historic recordings by a sound engineer from Abbey Road, a two-day visit to Shropshire and Herefordshire and also a one day choral and accompaniment workshop.
I hope we are all going to have a fun year together. Come and join in!
With best wishes
Eric Tyson
President 2016/17
President 2015-16

Rosemary Thomas

Welcome to the B&DOA Website. It is a great honour to have been elected as President for 2015/2016.
The new season began as usual with a well attended Annual General Meeting and the Edgar Joyce Memorial concert at St Paul’s Southville. After thanking outgoing President David Chandler for a very good past year I donned the badge of office (for the second time – first time was back in 1993!) and hope to do as well. I have a very good team behind me, so feel confident!
The Edgar Joyce Memorial concert was well attended, with a very good programme by three of our talented young student organists, plus vocal duets in-between, which seemed to go down well, especially with the non-organists present.
Our second event was in August, being a concert at Horfield URC in memory of our late and long serving member, Don Whaley. The church members were delighted to host the event and eight of us played a variety of pieces. The pre-concert cream tea went down well and we thank Lois and Karen for organising that. Chris Mansfield gave a potted and interesting biography of Don between the pieces.Don was quite a private person and perhaps few of us realised what an erudite man he was. He had played the organ at that church for many years and, sadly, he has not been replaced. The organ sounded good and the congregation would be delighted if any organist would play for a Sunday morning service there.
Our next event is the Free Colston Hall concert in September. Do tell your friends and congregations. It is a great evening and promotes the superb Harrison and Harrison organ there.
That is followed on October 17 by the IAO Bristol Organ Day, a great opportunity to meet up with nearly 100 other organists and organ lovers from near and far. The well planned programmed includes sessions at St Mary Redcliffe, The Lord’s Mayors Chapel, and the Cathedral, with key speakers Dr Peter King and Gerdi Troski. This promises to be a super day, rounded off by Mark Lee’s recital at the Cathedral. See www.bristol-organ-day.com for more details and booking form.
Emails and adverts regarding our future events will follow, and we hope you will plan to be with us, where I look forward to meeting you.
With best wishes,
Rosemary Thomas
President 2015/16
President 2014-15

David Chandler

Hello and welcome to B&DOA website.
It is an immense privilege to serve as President of the Bristol and District Organists’ Association and a particular pleasure to have assumed this position on the day of the annual Edgar Joyce Memorial Recital in June this year. This annual event, which draws a large number of people to St Paul’s, Southville, where Edgar was organist for many years, augments the legacy he left for the training of young organists. The Recital also provides an opportunity for some of our students to display their talents. We have a good number of young organists in the Association and it is a source of some pride for the Association that so many of them go on to be organ scholars at prestigious cathedrals, and universities throughout the land. The Edgar Joyce Memorial Fund has helped many of them along the way.
Also, for some years, the Royal College of Organists has used the range of superb instruments available in Bristol for three days of master-classes and individual tuition for young organists from ages 9 to 18. This culminates in a public recital with each of them performing a special piece at a composite recital. Do look out for this and go along, if you can. It’s at Christ Church (City) at 2.30pm on 1 November 2014.
Educational purposes are further fulfilled with the Association’s sophisticated media kit – and the expertise among its members to operate it – that is of great benefit at organ recitals and the like. It is therefore possible to bring the organist into full view of the audience from behind impenetrable curtains or lofty positions where they are usually quite hidden from view and show them performing on a large screen. The Association also has a home-made video of the interior and workings of a typical pipe organ, which can be displayed at appropriate events. This often surprises the audience as to how complex the instrument is. I have heard tales of more than a few architects who have no idea of the space required for even a modest pipe organ and the fact it may have several thousand pipes, each of which is, in effect, a unique musical instrument requiring individual attention. I have even met professional pianists who were unaware organists could play with their feet! Where have they been?
The annual free recital at the Colston Hall in September has become a major attraction for many hundreds of people and helps to promote the organ to a wider public. The Colston Hall organ, one of the largest and finest in the west of England, by the same builders as the Royal Festival Hall organ that was reopened to a great fanfare earlier this year after major restoration, really should be used more often. Many will remember the time when there were regular monthly recitals by the world’s leading players; it would be good to see these re-instated.
All sorts of other events in local churches could provide opportunities to promote the organ as a versatile musical instrument. These could include art or wedding exhibitions, hymnathons and other themed events. The perception that the organ is only used for long, dull preludes and fugues merely because they are deemed by someone as ‘worthy’ can be remedied. Whereas there is no reason why organ recitals should not be entertaining, the trend by some church authorities to seemingly remodel services as part of the entertainment industry should be resisted. The mantra that everything must be fun and it matters not what you do so long as you do it well is wearing a bit thin, and a great deal of the excellent heritage of past ages is being sidelined or lost altogether.
Digital or Electronic organs are with us to stay and there can be no doubt that they are getting better and better in their sound reproduction. It is important, nevertheless, that they are given adequate and suitable amplification in the buildings where they are housed. Church authorities, often seduced by the fact these instruments are much cheaper than a pipe organ, stint on adequate sound reproduction and hope the internal speakers will do. External amplification will ensure a creditable result and the placing of speakers requires the sort of care that equates to the voicing of a pipe organ. Organs that combine pipes with digital are beginning to make their appearance in the UK now and could well be considered, but jettisoning a small pipe organ for a larger digital with all mod cons may not be the best option after all. Where possible existing pipe organs should be restored or new ones built.
The Association will be visiting Ramsbury in the coming year where a small village has raised in the region of £140,000 to restore a pipe organ from around 1812 by a noted organ-builder of the day (G P England) and enlarged by another famous builder (William Hill) in the 1890s. This venerable instrument will now continue to serve for many decades and certainly outlive any digital that might have replaced it.
Thankfully our Cathedrals are still power houses of excellent music excellently performed – probably better than at any time in our history – and unique to this country. Long may this continue despite the financial difficulties many are facing. It is to be hoped that the setting up of a primary school alongside our own Cathedral here in Bristol will be of advantage to our own Cathedral Choir with the possible introduction of younger voices with a longer singing life.
For all members of the Association each President aims to provide a programme of interesting monthly events. For instance, we will be visiting Llandaff Cathedral and Dewi Saint, Cardiff in July, the re-built new pipe organ in the Bristol’s Lord Mayor’s Chapel in November and other instruments of particular interest. We shall also enjoy what has become the annual not-to-be-missed performance by our members Paul Walton and David Bednall of Messiaen’s monumental ‘La Nativite’ at the Cathedral before Christmas on 22 December at 7.00pm. Many events can be attended by non-members and a list can be obtained from Chris Mansfield, who is the Secretary to our Association - you will be made very welcome.
David Chandler
President – 2014/15
President 2013-14

Malcolm Gibbs

President 2012-13

Prof Philip Welby

Welcome to our website!
It is a great honour to be asked to serve a term as President of the Bristol and District Organists’ Association. Equally the prospect being asked to join the illustrious ranks of previous occupants of this post is daunting. Fortunately, my predecessor Tim Forder has set me an excellent example for the year’s programme, and I hope to emulate the creative variety of his provision during my own term of office.
Since its founding in 1949, the Association has aimed to serve its large and enthusiastic membership with energy and enterprise, and to provide local organists with a network of likeminded musicians, as well as a forum at home, and affiliation to national bodies at large.
Like many other members of the Society, my own interest in the organ began as a child, singing in a church choir and admiring the ‘king of Instruments’ from afar. That sense of joy and wonder has never deserted me, and I am pleased to count myself among the ranks of those that are always thrilled to be able to visit the many wonderful instruments available in the South West.
For over thirty years I taught Composition in the Music Department at Leeds University. However, when my wife Wendy was appointed Canon Precentor at Bristol Cathedral we were pleased to relocate, and have been delighted to join the musical community that thrives here. Perhaps I may be permitted to confess to one north country weakness which has persisted in my musical outlook. In addition to a passion for the organ, I am a lifelong advocate of the culture of the British Brass Band. I continue to serve as Musical Associate to the Black Dyke Band .
The programme for the year is now published, and available both on this website’s Calendar, and in the Members Bulletin. It includes a farewell recital by our Patron Dame Gillian Weir at St Mary Redcliffe, our annual Organ Gala at the Colston Hall, our Annual Dinner where the speaker will be Simon Lindley, and the Bristol Organ Festival, to be held over the May Bank Holiday weekend in 2013.
One of the jewels in the crown of the Association remains its efforts to encourage young organists, and we hope to extend our outreach during my tenure by offering members the chance to encourage pianists to try the organ for the first time. With a half of Bristol’s many churches having no musical provision, this side of our wider work is an essential prerequisite for the future.
Last but not least, the Association continues to be hugely enjoyable. Our ‘Open Console’ visits remain very popular, and an organ crawl to the City of London appears on our itinerary in the spring.
My own particular ambition for the year ahead will be to widen public awareness of our activities, and to enhance the reputation of the local organist as a valued member of a wider society. To this end, I am issuing a ‘Play Bach’ challenge, to all 160 members of the Society. This will take place on Sunday May 5th, and is open to all. Simply tell us what you will play, the time, and the place, and we will publicise our combined efforts to the world at large.
Do look out for details of all our monthly events, and if you would like to have emails sent to you directly of our, and many other, musical events taking place in our area, do drop us an email and we will add you to our regular e-mailing listings.
If this is your first visit then let me encourage you to browse, explore and enjoy our site. You will see that the B&DOA is a very active association which arranges a variety of events for its Members and those interested in playing or listening to the organ. If you would like to have more information about us and a Membership Application Form, please let us know. We have about 160 Members of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and some who do not play the organ but enjoy its music, so whatever your interest, we would be delighted to have you join us in the Association. We are a friendly bunch; our yearly programme always includes many interesting events; and, you will also receive the full colour, 100 page quarterly magazine Organists’ Review, which is full of interesting articles and news.
I look forward to meeting you soon at one of our events.
With best wishes to you all.
Philip Wilby
President 2011-12

Tim Forder

Welcome to our website! It is a very great honour to have been asked to serve as President of the Bristol and District Organists’ Association for the present year (2011/12). Indeed when I was approached about this matter I was very hesitant at first to accept. My main concern being the distinguished list of Past-Presidents in whose footsteps I am following and whether I am worthy of such a position. Secondly having never chaired a meeting in my life I was a little apprehensive about that aspect of the position. However after some persuasion from our industrious and ever supportive Secretary - here I am!
My interest in the organ began at the age of 11, when the Vicar of St Peter’s Church, Lawrence Weston at that time (Rev Norman Taylor) overheard me tinkling the ivories of the piano in the church hall. He was obviously impressed because he asked (through my father) if I would be interested in trying the organ. As a result I began having lessons with his son (Stephen Taylor) who, at the age of 16, was organist of St Peter’s. Stephen was a pupil at Bristol Cathedral School and also a pupil of the then organist at the Cathedral, Clifford Harker. When Stephen went off to University I became a pupil of Graham Harris at Christ Church, Clifton, and later Reg Parker at St Peter’s, Henleaze.
At the age of 18 St Peter’s invited me to be their ‘resident’ organist. I had already spent quite a lot of time ‘filling in’ for a student from Bristol University who was the recognised organist, but for various reasons was often absent for services! I held the post there for 12 years before moving along the road to St Mary’s Church, Shirehampton. At this time I also decided to embark on gaining a music diploma and so undertook more tuition with Colin Andrews. However this only lasted a year before he emigrated to the USA, (nothing to do with my playing I hope!), so my studies continued, but with Ivan Fowler and in 1990 I gained the ALCM.
2011 sees me celebrating 25 very enjoyable (but busy) years as organist of St Mary’s, Shirehampton where as well as the church choir, I also direct a Community Choir who perform three concerts a year.
It is going to be hard work to follow Paul Walton’s year as President. We have had some excellent events during his year in the chair, which included a wonderful 4 day organ tour in the Manchester area, and two memorable recitals by him at the Cathedral – one being a lunchtime concert of the complete Widor’s 7th Organ Symphony, and the other (shared with David Bednall) was a Christmastide performance of Messian’s La Nativité du Seigneur.
Well, we will do our best, and we have some interesting events lined up for the year. Already we have had a very successful trip to Usk and Brecon which included a steam train excursion, which proved to be a great hit, filling a 50 seater coach of members and friends on that occasion. The annual Colston Hall organ concert was again very well attended with over 700 people present, and much appreciated by those attending.
I hope you will make every effort to support the future events which include an afternoon visit on November 19 to the newly restored organ at Westbury-on-Trym Church by organ builders Skrabl of Slovenia. On Wednesday December 7 David Chandler is to give us an illustrated talk on his recent tour of the churches and organs where J S Bach applied his trade, and on January 21 we have our Annual Dinner when the guest speaker will be Oliver Condy, the Editor of BBC Music magazine. We are also planning an ‘away’ trip again for 2012, possibly in France, so watch this space!
Do look out for details of all our monthly events, and if you would like to have emails sent to you directly of our, and many other, musical events taking place in our area, do drop us an email and we will add you to our regular e-mailing listings.
If this is your first visit then let me encourage you to browse, explore and enjoy our site. You will see that the B&DOA is a very active association which arranges a variety of events for its Members and those interested in playing or listening to the organ. If you would like to have more information about us and a Membership Application Form, please let us know. We have about 160 Members of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and some who do not play the organ but enjoy its music, so whatever your interest, we would be delighted to have you join us in the Association. We are a friendly bunch; our yearly programme always includes many interesting events; and, you will also receive the full colour, 100 page quarterly magazine Organists’ Review, which is full of interesting articles and news.
I look forward to meeting you soon at one of our events.
With best wishes to you all.
Tim Forder
President 2010-11

Paul Walton

It is a great honour for me to be President of the B&DOA - a thriving Association with a large and active membership.
My own love for the organ dates from my days as a chorister of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, where I had my first organ lesson. Immediately after this, the instrument was completely dismantled for major repair work - but no connection between the two events has ever been proved!
After study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, I moved to Bristol in 2001 to take up the post of Assistant Organist at the Cathedral. As well as playing the organ for most of the services, I also direct 2 choirs (the Cathedral Consort and the Cathedral Chamber Choir) - a good mix for someone who can't make up their mind between playing and conducting!
I hope you have enjoyed the busy programme of events we put together for our 2010/11 session, which included the chance to play the finest organs in the city and elsewhere, including Cirencester and Manchester.
With the work on the organs of Cirencester and St Mary Redcliffe recently finished, it was very fitting, and we were very lucky to have, Mark Venning (former Managing Director of Harrison & Harrison) as the speaker for our Annual Dinner in January.
It was a pleasure to welcome Members to the Cathedral to listen to the organ at my President’s recital in November, Messiaen’s La Nativite (with David Bednall) in December and also at my Presidents' Afternoon in May.
In April, we greatly appreciated the excellent practical workshop on liturgical improvisation with Nigel Allcoat - it was good that some Members were brave enough to come forward and have their improvisation skills honed and refined.
As I write this, 23 Members are preparing for the weekend coach tour of organs in the Manchester area, which promises to be a very good trip.
We now look forward to our 2011 AGM and the Edgar Joyce Memorial Fund organ concert to be held at St Paul’s Church, Southville on 4 June, when Tim Forder will taking over as President. I look forward to Tim’s year and his programme of events and wish him every success for the coming session.
On a personal note, I would like to thank the committee, especially our Secretary, Chris Mansfield, for the hard work put into maintaining the active life of the Association.
By the way, I also have my own website which you might like to browse – it’s www.paul-walton.com
With best wishes,
Paul Walton
President 2009-10

Vernon Hendy

It is a great honour, as a non-professional organist, to have been elected as President of the Association for 2009-2010. I would like to thank Jean Routley for her splendid year as President. The programme she planned was very informative and interesting, with recitals and visits to various organs including a superb few days in Surrey and Berkshire.

My own interest in the organ started in 1961 when I was asked to deputise at Morley Memorial Congregational Church in Fishponds. My appointment as organist in 1964 gave me 16 happy years playing a 2-manual Vowles. In 1980 the church was forced to close owing to a dwindling congregation.

My wife and I then started to attend Christchurch Anglican Church in Downend, Bristol where I deputised for Iris Ford who was the organist at the church. I also deputised at numerous other churches in Bristol at that time. At the end of 1994 Iris Ford retired and I was appointed organist and continued until 2001. We then moved to Nailsea in 2002 and since then I have been deputising in the Nailsea area plus several churches in Bristol.

The most important part of any association is its members and I look forward to meeting and getting to know as many of you as possible during my President’s year. The most daunting part before the year commences is planning events which will appeal to our members. Fortunately this task is made considerably easier by the able assistance received from our Secretary, Chris Mansfield.

The programme for 2009-2010 can be seen elsewhere on this website, but I would like to draw your attention to the evening of Tuesday, 17 November 2009 when the Rev Dr Berj Topalian, ex-director of music at Christ Church, Clifton will give a short talk and advice about playing contemporary worship style music on a pipe organ. This will be held at St Augustine’s Chapel, St Monica Trust, Cote Lane, Westbury-on-Trym. This is an opportunity to bring along any worship songs from any of the contemporary hymn or worship books which cause you problems and play them on the 2-manual Digital organ under the watchful eye of Berj who will offer you some helpful advice on your interpretation.

Another highlight will be our Annual Dinner on Saturday 23 January 2010 when the guest speaker will be David Ogden, ex-director of music at Clifton Cathedral and RSCM Regional Director and also conductor of various choirs in the Bristol area. This will be held at Lincombe Barn, Downend.

Our Annual away trip will be a coach tour of organs in the Swansea area. This will take place from April 9 - 11. We are hoping to visit Brangwyn Hall and other interesting organs in the area. We may even get to see and play the new Nicholson Organ in Llandaff Cathedral, which is due to be completed by Easter 2010.

Please remember to put all these events in your diary and attend as many as you can. Let’s continue to make the B&DOA the really lively group of people that is it, who are enthusiastic and keen to learn more about organs and its music. I look forward to seeing you at our first event - the free organ concert at the Colston Hall on Tuesday, 29 September 2009.

With best wishes to you all,
Vernon Hendy

President 2008-09

Jean Routley

Welcome to the BDOA website: I hope you will find here all the information you are seeking. The Association is one of the most lively in the country with a yearly programme of events which have interest for the wide range of our membership: expert players, those learning to play, those who like listening to organs and those who are interested in organ cases and general church architecture. Very often we are joined by members of other associations who wish to take part in our events. Every time we go on a visit, our secretary, Chris Mansfield, prepares a well-researched and well-presented accompanying booklet so that we have all the information we require to make the day successful and memorable.
A look at this year’s planned events will convince you that this association is not just involved in “organ crawls”. Already since the AGM in June, we have had a coach trip to Beaminster to see the new Schrabel organ in the church there. This included visits to Muchelney and Crewkerne. On September 23rd there will be the annual free organ recital at the Colston Hall in Bristol, this year – as last – given by five of our members. October 4th will see us off to Allegro Music and Malvern Priory. Later in October there will be a joint event with the RSCM and the Gordon Phillips Society on the 18th and then on November 22nd a choral training day in conjunction with the ISM led by Nigel Perrin. On Friday 19th December we can again join the Charity Carol Service at St Mary Redcliffe. Details of these and the events planned for the first half of 2009 will appear in due time but please note that a visit to the Windsor area is planned for April 18th-20th.
At our AGM in June I took over as President from Richard Morgan. It is indeed a great honour to hold this position in an association which has been in operation since 1934 and whose Presidents have included such well-known and revered people as Dr Douglas Fox and Clifford Harker - to name just two. Richard Morgan is a hard act to follow: he led a very active year and particularly set out to encourage young players. His own playing is of a high standard and everyone was delighted with the recital he gave at the AGM. It is good that the association is thinking of the future in helping organ students with funds for music and to attend courses. One of the duties of the President is to chair meetings and here too Richard excelled: despite long agendas we always managed to finish at a reasonable time!
I do hope that if you are interested in organs in any way, you will consider joining our friendly association. Chris Mansfield, our secretary, will be pleased to answer any queries and/or to send you an information pack with an application form.
Biographical details: I began playing the organ at Backwell Church at the age of 11. Went to Royal Holloway College (University of London) to read English. While there gained the ARCO as a pupil of Joan Scourse. Taught at Nailsea Grammar School and became Organist and Choirmaster at Backwell Church in 1969. Retired from Backwell Church in 2000 but still involved with the music there and plays regularly at various local churches. Teaches piano and organ, is Deanery Choirmaster and conducts a Ladies’ Choir. Has various non-musical hobbies and enjoys going round to clubs and societies playing the piano and giving talks. I am married to Cyril who also has many hobbies, including a great interest in sundials. We have four grown up children and two grandsons.
Jean Routley
President 2007-08

Richard Morgan

It is a wonderful honour for me to be taking over as President of the Bristol & District Organist's Association - certainly one of the largest in the UK and probably amongst the most active. It was some 5 years ago that I was invited to join the Committee and I have continually been astounded by the work that the Officers and Members undertake to promote what is undoubtedly the 'King of Instruments'. I must take a moment to thank my immediate predecessor, Andrew Kirk, for his splendid year in office - culminating in an excellent trip to hear and play some 'Famous Organs of the North'.
My own interest in the organ started when I went to QEH School in Bristol nearly 30 years ago. My soon-to-be organ teacher would sweep imperiously through the Assembly Hall literally seconds in front of the Headmaster, frantically gesticulating at the boys in the Choir Stalls to switch the organ on and find the right Hymn for him! It looked like a great deal of fun and from the first time I sat at the console I was hooked. I have continued to be fascinated ever since and I still try to enlarge my repertoire whenever I have the chance. I have had lessons from at least 3 of my predecessors as President and hope to continue learning for many years yet.
Of course , the most important part of any association are its members and I look forward to meeting and getting to know as many of you as possible over the next year. With this in mind, the most exciting (and daunting) part of any President's responsibilities is to organise a Programme of Events which will appeal to as many people as possible. I have endeavoured (with the able assistance of our never-tiring Secretary Chris Mansfield) to put together a series of events which I hope will whet all your appetites.
We are also planning a Member's Evening on October 10th at Clifton College, with opportunity to play the fine instrument there, as well as a number of local events and a day coach trip to Warminster, Southampton and Winchester.
Two highlights which I whole-heartedly recommend to you are: firstly our Annual Dinner on 26th January at which Malcolm Riley, who is Secretary of The Percy Whitlock Trust, will be our guest speaker. Secondly, I hope you will join us for the three day trip to East Anglia (which takes place the weekend after Easter) where we will enjoy many fine organs in that area including Bury St Edmunds Cathedral, St Mary’s, Bury St Edmunds and Ely Cathedral amongst others, including a 3 manual Christie theatre organ, housed in a United Reformed Church in Ipswich!
Full details of all the events can be found on the Events page on this Website - please do put these dates in your diary and attend as many events as you can. In the meantime, I look forward to meeting you at the FREE Member's Recital at the Colston Hall on Tuesday 25 September at 7.30pm (when five Members will be playing an evening of suitable music for you to bring along friends and introduce them to the fabulous organ at the Colston Hall) or indeed at the excellent (and free again) weekly lunchtime recitals which happen regularly in our City's churches.
Full details of all these events and many others appear on our BDOA Website and are updated regularly – please do put these in your diary and attend as many events as you can.
With best wishes to you all,
Richard Morgan
President 2006-07

Andrew Kirk

Welcome to the BDOA Website.
If this is your first visit then let me encourage you to browse, explore and enjoy our site. You will see that the BDOA is a very active association which arranges a variety of events for its Members and those interested in playing or listening to ‘the King of Instruments’. We have about 150 Members of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and some who do not play the organ but enjoy its music, so whatever your interest, we would be delighted to have you join us in the Association. Please look for membership details on this website.
Each year the Association elects a President who suggests a programme for the year and chairs the various meetings and events. When I moved to Bristol to take up the post at St Mary Redcliffe in 2003, one of the first letters to arrive through the door was from Jeanne Cawley, inviting me to become a member of BDOA and to be Junior Vice President. How quickly those three years have flown by!
I feel honoured to have been asked to be President and I promise to give of my best in promoting the work of the Association. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the immediate past President, Chris Mansfield, for all his hard work during his excellent action-packed president’s year. It was an unusually busy year with the 50th anniversary of the Colston Hall organ. I would also like to thank all the committee members for their hard work throughout the year and especially to Jeanne Cawley who has retired from the committee after more than 20 year’s dedicated service.
My interest in the organ started as a choirboy at St James the Greater in Leicester. As well as having an attractive church building with a good boys and men’s choir, the quality of the 3 manual Taylor organ (rebuilt by Walker) inspired me, together with our annual cathedral visits to Ely, Lincoln or Canterbury. We were also lucky enough to travel to the USA for two month long visits in the 1980’s. There were other career possibilities but the organ and choir was something I kept coming back to. It is reassuring to see some of the teenagers in the Redcliffe choir learning the organ and hopefully carrying on this tradition!
I am involved in the work and promotion of the RSCM . I believe it is important to develop partnerships with other musical organisations. During my presidential year I hope to facilitate some meetings to bring closer links between organisations such as the RSCM, BDOA and ISM. It is important to share our knowledge and expertise with others and to make new connections and step out of our ‘comfort zone’ in our usual networks and surroundings.
Some events for our programme for the next 12 months are still to be finalised, but plans to date will be listed on this website. These will be added to from time to time, but please put the dates in your diary and join us for as much as you can over the next 12 months. Our Webmaster, Arthur Gregory is always updating and expanding the site, so do visit it from time to time to keep yourself up-to-date.
I wish you well and look forward to meeting you during the course of the year.
With best wishes to you all.
Andrew Kirk
President 2005-06

Chris Mansfield

Welcome to the BDOA Website.
If this is your first visit then let me encourage you to browse, explore and enjoy our site. You will see that the BDOA is a very active association which arranges a variety of events for its Members and those interested in playing or listening to ‘the King of Instruments’.
If you live in the Bristol area and would like to have more information about us and a Membership Application Form, please let us know. We have about 150 Members of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and some who do not play the organ but enjoy its music, so whatever your interest, we would be delighted to have you join us in the Association.
Each year the Association elects a President who suggests a programme for ‘their year’ and chairs the various meetings and events. It is an immense privilege for me to have been promoted to this position of honour and as I look through the role of Past Presidents (over 70 of them), I really can’t believe that my name is to be added to that list. It is a mystery known only to those who appointed me why we have jumped down from the heights of having Malcolm Archer, now Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral as our President for 2004/5, to Chris Mansfield, local organ busker and enthusiast for 2005/6! This of course to be juggled with having recently been coerced into taking on the task of Hon Sec in May 2004!
So, although I am not much of a player, my friends and family will testify I am a real ‘organ nut’ and it doesn’t really matter what sort of music or noise the organ is making (and I have some very weird and controversial organ CDs to prove that) I can get a fix from it to satisfy my long term organ addiction! This all began as a child, but was greatly enhanced through my time as an apprentice and organ tuner, firstly with Hill Norman & Beard and then Osmonds of Taunton. Although I changed course and have ventured into other careers since then, this interest and addiction continues with me - stronger now than ever!
I don’t have a problem with being a ‘pusher’ either! I love getting people interested in the organ. It’s something we must all do, and I hope that in my year as your President I can encourage you in your own sphere to do just that, and also as an Association. We do need to promote our beloved instrument and its music.
Each year the BDOA has a varied programme of events, and it is at these events that one becomes aware that there is a huge amount of talent in this Association, something which I greatly respect. Some of the playing at our Members recitals, day trips and other tours this past year has been excellent, and of course this talent is heard on a regular basis in the churches and chapels some of them serve week by week.
There is also a huge amount of knowledge and expertise about the organ in this Association. Some of our Members are loaded with facts, figures, histories, advice, experiences, skills, and much more – so there is plenty to learn from one another.
I would also like to mention the excellent commitment to the promotion of organ music in and around this area. This is expressed in the way some of you are involved in putting on recitals in your churches and chapels. Perhaps you organise an occasional concert, or in the case of some members, a regular lunchtime series, and perhaps you don’t see huge numbers attend, yet you press on and provide good music for those who do come along. Well, this is a testimony to the commitment of the Members of the BDOA and we acknowledge that commitment and thank you all for it.
Some events for our programme for the next 12 months are still to be finalised, but plans to date are already listed elsewhere on this website. These will be added to from time to time, but please go to it now, print it out, put the dates in your diary and join us for as much as you can over the next 12 months. In 2006 we have some very special events taking place to celebrate the 50th birthday of the famous Harrison and Harrison concert organ in the Colston Hall, so don’t miss out on any of those. Our Webmaster, Arthur Gregory is always updating and expanding the site, so do visit it from time to time to keep yourself up-to-date.
I wish you well and look forward to meeting you during the course of the year.
With best wishes to you all.
Chris. Mansfield
President 2004-05

Malcolm Archer

Malcolm Archer - 2004/2005
It is a wonderful honour for me to be taking over the Presidency of this vibrant Organists' Association, especially having now spent 21 years in the West Country. My Association with the BDOA goes back to 1983 when I became Organist and Master of Choristers at Bristol Cathedral, later moving on to Wells in 1996. The BDOA must surely be one of the most energetic and active Associations in the country, promoting a wide range of fascinating visits to some of Europe's finest instruments.
My own love of the organ as a musical instrument goes back to my teens, when, inspired by an organ teacher at my school in Lytham, Lancashire, I was given the opportunity of visiting Durham Cathedral, meeting the then cathedral organist Conrad Eden, and being allowed to play that magnificent instrument. This memorable experience was something that stayed with me for years, and I always remember those visits to Durham when young organists ask me if they can 'have a go' on the organ at Wells. It is easy to forget how those early encounters shaped our lives and our enthusiasms.
I have always tried to see my role as a cathedral organist as one of education and encouragement, both in terms of the choral training given to our choristers and also in the support which we give to young organists. The future of music in our churches and cathedrals is very much in the hands of young musicians for whom the organ as an instrument has become a passion, and it is the responsibility of all of us to promote and encourage the learning of the organ as far as we can. In doing this, it is important to remember that the instrument is not only a 'church' instrument. It is a solo instrument in its own right, and its increasing prominence in the life of our concert halls is an encouraging sign.
I do hope that any young organist (or teacher of one) reading this will bear in mind that the Bristol and District Organists Association has a fund which can assist young organists (up to age 21) with organ lessons or the buying of music. These are generally 'one off' grants, so please do apply to the Association if you are interested.
At the time of writing this, I am preparing for my move to London where, in September, I will succeed John Scott as Organist and Director of Music at St. Paul's Cathedral. I am delighted that, despite the move, I can retain the Presidency of the Association, and, in due course welcome them to London for a day at St. Paul's. I very much hope that this year's programme, which includes visits to Oxford, London, Holland and Liverpool, will provide an active stimulus for present members, and that the excellent work of the Association in promoting the 'King of instruments' will encourage new members to join.
Malcolm Archer
June 2004
Director of Music Wells Cathedral, 1996 - 2004
Director of Music St. Paul's Cathedral, London from September 2004
President 2003-04

Mark Lee

Welcome to the BDOA web site and I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute a few words to what must be one of the best sites of its type in the country. Not only can you browse amongst the wonderful photographs of Bristol’s organs but you can also peruse specifications to your heart’s content.
When I was very young I was a huge fan of two magnificent tomes on the organ - William Leslie Sumner’s The Organ and John Norman’s The Organs of Britain. In these two volumes one could glean huge amounts of information about the origins of the organ as we know it from the Greek engineer Ktesibios right up to the present day (well, 1973 and 1984 respectively!), learning on the way about the development of the keyboard, pedalboard, actions, voicing, wind supply, indeed almost anything one needed to know. Together with the authors we learned to rail against the vagaries of direct electric action, Hope Jones, and the loss of the Werkprinzip layout and true diapason choruses.
My favourite section was to be found at the back of both volumes in the large selection of specifications. I gazed in awe at the schemes of the Royal Albert Hall, St George’s Hall, Liverpool, and Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and tried to imagine what each stop might sound like. I considered the thunderous contribution of each of the Albert Hall’s five full-length 32 foot stops. I even tried my hand at creating a new specification for the 2 manual Speechly on which I practiced. Each existing stop, no matter how gruesome a sound it made, was carefully recycled until a four manual of cathedral proportions emerged!
Of course, we all (!) outgrow these immature tendencies and learn to appreciate the organ as an instrument of music rather than just a feat of engineering of which Brunel might have been proud. I have learned to appreciate responsive action, high quality musical voicing and a specification that gives variety as well as brute force. When playing the Cathedral’s four manual Walker of 84 stops it’s the beauty and contrast of the three eight foot Stopped Diapasons that impresses, as well as the grandeur and power of the properly balanced and scaled choruses, capped by magnificent reeds.
Of course, the best way to appreciate an instrument is to hear it being played, and I hope that many of you will be able to join us as we explore the organs of Cambridge, Tenbury, Kidderminster Town Hall and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Town Hall. We can marvel at the power, of course, but we can also learn from the very different approaches of master organ builders from all ages. The dinner also provides a wonderful opportunity to talk with like-minded musicians in a relaxed atmosphere and offer the mutual support we all need from time to time.
So, thank you for your interest, and I look forward to meeting you over the forthcoming year.
Mark Lee
President 2002-03

Chris Manners

Chris Manners - 2002/2003
Welcome to the Bristol & District Organists’ Association web site. It is a great privilege for me to be President at this time in the history of the Association. Having been a member for some years it has been interesting to watch the Association develop into the exciting organisation it is today.
Like so many present-day organists, my interest in church music, and the organ in particular, began as a boy chorister. Piano lessons with the church organist led me (having passed the obligatory Grade 5!) to progress to the organ, playing for choir practice, the occasional service, etc., until eventually I took on a post in my own right. This was in my home town of Weston-super-Mare, but my connection with Bristol, about twenty miles away, really began when I had lessons with Garth Benson, the legendary organist of St. Mary Redcliffe. That amazing instrument really opened my eyes to the wonders of the King of Instruments, and eventually led me to my present career in organ building.
Of course, the Redcliffe organ is only one of many fine instruments in the city. Our web site contains details and photographs of many organs in the area, and I hope you will spend time exploring this part of the site.
The Association has worked hard for a number of years to encourage and assist the City Council in the maintenance of the large Harrison & Harrison concert organ in the Colston Hall, Bristol's premier concert venue. In 2001 the console was upgraded, with modern Solid State registration aids, including a sequencer in conjunction with the use of the general pistons. The completion of this work was celebrated by a well-attended composite recital by past Presidents of the Association, and in September, 2002, four young local organists gave a joint recital as part of an ongoing series to bring this particular instrument to the attention of a wider audience.
As well as arranging visits to instruments in this country, in recent years foreign trips have been arranged by the Association, a four-day visit to Paris in 2001 under the expert guidance of David Briggs being particularly memorable. Plans are currently in hand for a week’s visit to Switzerland in May, 2003.
I do hope you enjoy looking at our web site, and maybe this will encourage you to visit our area and see and hear some of the fine instruments in this corner of the United Kingdom.
Chris Manners
Organist All Saint's, Weston-super-Mare
President 2001-02

Ray Hillman

Ray Hillman (Organist Thornbury Parish Church)
This is now the second year of the Bristol & District Organists’ Association Web site and the information on the site has grown considerably. There are details and photographs of many local organs, both large and small, some internationally known, with a wide range of tonal qualities. I hope you will enjoy perusing these and also finding out about the activities of the Association.
I have been a member of the BDOA for nearly fifty years and have worked with many distinguished organists in the Bristol area, in particular Clifford Harker, three times President of this Association and Organist and Master of the Choristers at Bristol Cathedral for thirty-four years, 1949 – 1983. He died two years ago and a biography of his musical life in Newcastle, Cairo, Rugby and Bristol has now been written by Margaret Hilton – ‘Music Maker’ – which is available from booksellers at £18.75.
The Association has worked hard for a number of years to encourage and assist the City Council in the maintenance of the large Harrison and Harrison concert organ in the Colston Hall. In 2001 the console was upgraded, with modern electronic registration aids, including a sequencer in conjunction with the use of the general pistons. The completion of this work was celebrated by a well-attended composite recital by present and past Presidents of the Association.
For the past twelve years I have had the privilege to be Organist at the fine mediaeval church of St Mary, Thornbury, just north of Bristol. The church is associated in organ and church music circles with Dr Basil Harwood, composer of the well-known hymn tune Thornbury and a quantity of organ and choral music, including the fine Sonata No 1 in C sharp minor. The church receives visitors from all over the world, many of them staying at Thornbury Castle, next to the church. I hope that this web site will also provide interest for organ enthusiasts worldwide, and perhaps encourage them to sample the excellent instruments in the area.
Ray Hillman
President 2000-2001

Jonathan Price

1934 was a momentous year in the musical world. Elgar, Holst and Delius all died. In the organ world, Widor was still at St. Sulpice, Vierne was at Notre-Dame, and Messiaen was writing L'Ascension. It was also the year in which the Bristol and District Organists' Association was formed.
Nearly 70 years later, I am writing the first "President's letter" for circulation not only to organists in and around Bristol, but also to those enthusiasts around the world whose interest in the organ as an instrument has brought them to our web site. The thought of a "worldwide web" to my predecessors - the cathedral organists and recitalists of the 1930's and 1940's - would have been the amusing product of an over imagination. But the fact that a provincial club should still be as active now as it was when it was formed in 1934 is a testament to the continuing world-wide interest in the skill of the organist and the craft of organ builder.
Here in Bristol, we boast many fine instruments, several of which are of international importance. Over the generations, there has also been a continuity of fine recitalists and performers living hereabouts, who have each made their mark in the organ world. I have myself entered into the long list of Organists at Christ Church, the Parish Church of the medieval city of Bristol, where I am only the fourth organist since 1881. It gives me great joy that my tenure of the chair of the BDOA should happen to coincide with the beginnings of the internet, and in welcoming you to our web site. I hope you find the local news of our instruments and recitals of interest.
Jonathan Price