Welcome

Come and join this lively group who are enthusiastic about the organ and its music!

Read our News & Reviews page and see the latest items in the side panel.

Our programme of events can be found on Our Calendar page.

2021 Covid 19 Update from our Secretary:

Greetings to all SOCA members, and visitors to this site. I hope that you are managing to keep well, and to stay sane!

2020 was obviously very largely a year of non-events. We hope to pick up some of the threads this year, though the first couple of months look as if they will be spent in lockdown. In terms of what you may anticipate, the following provisional plans have been drafted:

Tuesday, 26th January 2021:  Zoom AGM, linking at 7.00 p.m. for a 7.15 p.m. start – details will be circulated to members by email.

Saturday 20th March 2021:  A short recital and demonstration by Miles Quick on the 1882 Father Willis organ of St. Mary Magdalene, Taunton, following its renovation by Michael Farley. As in-person concerts are not yet allowed, this recital can be found online via the St Mary Magdalene Church website https://www.stmarymagdalenetaunton.org.uk    or by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oSVDIMcT1A

Saturday, 7th August 2021  at 2.30 pm:  A talk on “Mendelssohn and the Organ” by John Bodiley, at Holy Trinity Church, Taunton  TA1 3JG

The talk will be illustrated on the fine Hill organ by SOCA members Andrew Carter, Stephen Bell and Ian Heavisides. Mendelssohn was a hugely talented musician, who did a lot for the development of the organ, and other aspects of music performance, in Britain. The talk will not be overly academic, and we hope that it may appeal widely to non-organists.

Please signify intention to attend to John Bodiley – jbodiley@hotmail.co.uk

What DID Mendelssohn actually do?

 Played piano concertos   Wrote over 5,000 letters    Was a youthful athlete

Painted quality water-colours    Took over The Gewandhaus Orchestra at the age of 26

Founded The Leipzig Conservatoire and taught in Germany and England

Travelled widely, including 10 visits to England

Conducted the first performance of The St. Matthew Passion since Bach’s death

Composed 4 symphonies, a favourite violin concerto and THE Wedding March.

Wrote for many solo instruments, including the organ     Composed Elijah

Widely regarded as the greatest prodigy since Mozart (better, in the view of Goethe!)

Brought the idea of what a complete organ should be to England

Spoke 3 foreign languages fluently    Possibly had a love affair with Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale”

Died at 38 years old

Saturday 25th September 2021, 2.30 to 4.30 pm:  SOCA visit to St Mary’s Parish Church, Ilminster  TA19 0DU (also NB Philip Scriven recital here on Sat 18th Sept at 7.30 pm to celebrate the recent rebuild of the organ by Michael Farley)

Ian Heavisides has kindly arranged for us to visit the organ here (newly rebuilt by Michael Farley).  The organist at the church, Peter MacKay, will give a short talk on the rebuild – and then anyone who would like to (suitably sanitised!) will be able to play.  Ian adds that there are two car parks in Ilminster, but parking on the High Street is limited to one hour.

Photo and Specification available here Ilminster IH pic and spec 212v

More information about car parking is available here  Ilminster Car Parking PDF 212v

Please signify intention to attend to John Bodiley – jbodiley@hotmail.co.uk

Thursday 7th October 2021 at 2.30 pm  Visit to St Paul’s Parish Church, Honiton  EX14 1PG

The visit to Honiton, repeatedly postponed due to the pandemic, will take place on Thursday 7 October at 1430. Andrew Carter will introduce and briefly demonstrate the magnificent 1999 organ by Kenneth Tickell (“one of the finest instruments in the South-West” – Stephen Bell) and members will then be welcome to play the instrument themselves.
Because of ongoing COVID concerns we shall observe social distancing and strongly recommend the wearing of face masks. Unless the situation radically improves we shall sadly not be able to socialise informally over tea and cakes. But we hope that members will still welcome the opportunity to experience and enjoy this remarkable organ, as well as to explore the many other attractions of Honiton.
Please signify intention to attend to John Bodiley – jbodiley@hotmail.co.uk

Saturday 6th November 2021:  SOCA A.G.M at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton (with lunch at nearby restaurant):  Paul Hale will be the guest speaker and he will also give a recital on the Father Willis organ.

Provisional programme:

10 am AGM

11 am  Organ Recital by Paul Hale

12.30 pm  Lunch

2.30 pm  Presentation on Father Willis organ renovation projects by Paul Hale

4.00 pm  Tea

Please signify intention to attend to John Bodiley – jbodiley@hotmail.co.uk

Mid-Autumn 2021 or during 2022:  At a date and venue to be arranged, and in conjunction with the RSCM, it is hoped to hold an event featuring young musicians. Any young organists will be encouraged to play, and other young singers and instrumentalists will be asked to perform.  SOCA members who know of likely youthful performers will be encouraged to invite them.

We look forward to a brighter year than the one which has just passed.

John Bodiley  SOCA Secretary
3 Jan 2021, updated 22 July 2021

We aim to offer opportunities for learning, and support for players of all ages, capabilities and interests.

We undertake many and varied activities including:
 ◊ Workshops with practical guidance at a central venue or at your own church/home
 ◊ Frequent group visits to try interesting organs or attend recitals/concerts etc.
 ◊ Social meetings to enjoy food and drink, and share organ music etc
 ◊ Annual Lunch with guest speaker
 ◊ Recitals given by amateur and professional musicians

SOCA brings together organists, choir trainers and singers, and others interested in organs, choirs and/or church music.


Our programme of events can be found on Our Calendar page.

To find out more about us and contact us , please see our page Contact & Join

We are always pleased to welcome visitors and enquiries.