News Archives 2016

arch20156-01 moorlinch-photo-with-potential-audience-member-163Moorlinch Parish Church
Members’ Composite Concert of 18th Century English music
13 November 2016

On Remembrance Sunday afternoon 13th November a delightful teatime SOCA members concert was held in the timeless beauty of this lovely rural Somerset church (pictured above, with potential audience member).  It was a perfect autumn day and the colours were stunning.
arch20156-02 moorlinch-performers-for-website-163The classically elegant Georgian chamber organ made a fresh, crisp sound for the players John Bodiley, Andrew Carter, Miles Quick and Hilary Shaw (pictured above).  Music ranging from Stanley and Samuel Wesley to Langlais and Howells, and even Scott Joplin, was convincingly played.  A very helpful talk was given by John Budgen, the Diocesan Organ Advisor who had supervised the renovation of this fine instrument.  A delicious tea was then enjoyed in the church hall.

Please refer to the Chairman’s Blog for further useful information on Georgian Organs compiled by our chairman, Ray Willis.

Report by Miles Quick

SOCA AGM and Annual Lunch
The Ring of Bells, Ashcott
Saturday 5th November 2016

Our visiting speaker this year was Dr Barry Rose, OBE.  He gave a most enjoyable and enlightening talk entitled ‘Walford, George and Me’.  This referred to Sir Henry Walford Davies, Sir George Thalben-Ball and Barry himself, who have been the only three musicians to hold the title of ‘Music Adviser to the Head of Religious Broadcasting’ at the BBC.   (Barry and George Thalben-Ball are featured in the photograph above).  Barry played many fascinating examples including a piece he himself had written on the original motto of the BBC:  Nation shall speak peace unto nation.  There was also much information on the ‘inside story’ of Radio Three Choral Evensong and the Radio Four Daily Service.  There was much beautiful singing.  SOCA is most grateful to Barry for his support of the event and for giving us such good entertainment and education!

The lunch which followed the AGM and Talk was once again excellent and our thanks are due again to SOCA member John Foreman for allowing us to hold the event in the comfortable and convenient surroundings of the Ring O’Bells, Ashcott.


Organ Recital by Peter Duce at North Petherton Parish Church
Saturday 29th October 2016

On Saturday 29th October Peter Duce gave the last of the series of recitals at St Mary’s, North Petherton, in support of the church and our charity for this year – Changing Tunes. Our thanks are due to Andrew Hinkley for imaginatively arranging the series of recitals.

Peter gave us a spirited rendering of a range of music both well know and less well known.

He started with Christopher Tambling’s Trumpet Tune, noting that Christopher had sadly died only last year. The piece showed off the solo Trumpet (or was it the Tuba?) very effectively and ended with pedal Trombone in action – a rousing start. Elgar’s Nimrod variation from the Enigma Variations demonstrated the range of quiet and louder stops, and contrasts and the use of the swell pedal were a feature in Norman Warren’s Venite. The well-known Berceuse from Louis Vierne’s first book of 24 pieces en style libre provided a further opportunity to use the quieter stops. Peter then went on to play Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s Choral Song and the Wedding Suite by Kenneth Gange whose middle movement is a delightful Cantilène followed by a rousing march to end. George Thalben-Ball’s well known Elegy made a nice contrast to the march, and Peter interestingly told us that this piece had started life as an improvisation by the composer, which had been so enjoyed that he was asked to write it down.

The Festival Finale by Malcolm Archer was characteristically vivacious and the Tuba made an impressive start to Jones’s Allegro Marziale. The string–like pedal was very effective in Albinoni’s Adagio and Henry Smart’s March contrasted the organ’s choruses on different manuals well.

Peter finished with Ridout’s Postlude which featured the pedal Trombone and full organ at the end.

This was an enjoyable concert and a fitting end to the series, culminating in tea or coffee and some delightful cakes.

Report by Peter Cox

Tea Concert at Creech St Michael Parish Church
Sunday 9th October 2016

Last Sunday’s concert at Creech St Michael in aid of Changing Tunes was well received by a capacity audience. John Guttridge (a past organist at St Michael’s) opened with the rousing March from “Superman” by John Williams, and later the “Dam Busters” March by Eric Coates. John’s daughter Lizzie Matuszezyk sang “As time goes by” by Herman Hupfield, and “Summertime” by Gershwin, accompanied by John at the piano.

Jonathan Harris, a piano student of Julia Gauler, and a student at Richard Huish College, played a piano sonata in A by Scarlatti, the 1st Movement of Haydn’s Sonata in E, Lennox Berkeley’s 6th Prelude, and the Prelude in F sharp by Chopin on the digital piano available in the church. We wish him well with his approaching Grade 8 exam, and hope to hear more of his playing in the future.

Peter Cox, the present day Organist and Director of Music at St Michael’s, played the Intermezzo from Rheinberger’s 6th Sonata, a Prelude by De Vilbac, and Mendelssohn’s 5th Organ Sonata, during which he demonstrated his knowledge of the less obvious, but nevertheless successful, choices of registration.

The concert ended with John and Lizzie. Handel’s Organ Concerto in F, “Can’t help lovin dat man”, and Percy Fletcher’s famous (at least to organists) loud and frenzied “Festival Toccata” ending with the jubilant sound of full organ.

The amount raised for Changing Tunes  was £231-10 with £100 of this gift aided.

A successful afternoon event made even more enjoyable with superb cakes.

Report by Ray Willis


Organ Recital by Stephen Price, Saturday 27th August 2016
St.Mary’s, North Petherton

Stephen Price, currently organist of Temple Methodist Church in Taunton, gave the latest in the series of Saturday afternoon organ recitals at St. Mary’s, North Petherton on August 27th. He chose to play largely unfamiliar repertoire, mainly from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, which made for an interesting programme. The church was also beautifully cool on a hot, humid afternoon!

Stephen began with a March by The Rev. Scotson Clark, a Victorian clergyman with wide musical interests: a cheerful start to the afternoon. He followed this with Three Sketches, by William Lloyd Webber, for many years a professor at the RCM and organist of Methodist Central Hall in Westminster. The prelude was surprisingly restrained as an opener, and the Intermezzo which followed featured a delightful oboe solo. The selection finished with a rousing and very chromatic Alla Marcia.

The recital continued with the well-known Adagio, attributed to Albinoni, but mainly constructed from musical fragments by Giozotto. In complete contrast, Stephen then played, from memory, a Tuba Tune of his own, a bubbling, cheerful piece featuring the organ’s loudest stop. Then followed a Minuet by Theodore Salome, very much a piece of French programme music.

The final group of pieces featured works by the Victorian organist, Henry Smart, who designed instruments as well as playing them, and had a career as a player, mainly in prominent London churches. We heard the gentle Prelude on soft flute stops, followed by a rousing Fughetta, and the March in G finished the recital with a flourish. In between Stephen played a restful Invocation by Fillipio Capocci, which showed the organ’s soft string stops to advantage.

Afterwards, over tea and cake, there was a chance for the audience to mingle and chat with the soloist. The next recital in this enterprising series will be by Jerry King on 24th September.

Report by John Bodiley

Visit to Stogursey, Stringston and St Audries (West Quantoxhead)
Saturday 13th August 2016

On what turned out to be a sunny summer afternoon a small group of us enjoyed a visit to the organs at Stogursey and Stringston and the historic barrel organ at St Audries.

We began at Stogursey where the William Drake Ltd restoration of the two manual and pedal organ gave us much enjoyment. This is a good sized instrument suitable for a wide variety of music and those of us who played it enjoyed the instrument and the acoustics of the church in which it is placed. We were joined by a number of members of the congregation who came to listen.

The dedication of the local members was evident when they led us on the Stringston where there is a small but perfectly formed single manual instrument. There further members of the local congregation came to listen. One highlight was John Bodiley and Ray Willis playing Pietro Yon’s Toccatina as a duet.

Our last visit was to St Etheldreda’s Church at St Audries (West Quantoxhead). Some took an interest in the single manual instrument in the church while Julie Pennington- Ridge opened up the historic barrel organ. This instrument dates from about 1840 and was installed at St Audries in 1981. It has three barrels with 10 hymns and two chants on each. We were interested in the 19th Century rendering of Adeste Fideles and the “twiddly bits” added to the tunes to ensure that each tune fitted the full circumference of the barrel.

The sunny summer afternoon was completed for some of us by a tea at the Kilve Chantry Tea Gardens.

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Ray Willis and Julie Pennington-Ridge getting the barrel organ going at St Audries

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Charles Pipe-Wolferstan playing the Stringston organ

Young Organists’ Recital, Saturday
16th July 2016
St John’s Church, Glastonbury

The Somerset Organists’ and Choir Association is very keen to support and encourage young organists and for a number of years has arranged a recital given by talented young musicians. This year on 16th July we arranged a recital at St John the Baptist, Glastonbury which was given by Nicholas Tall and Chris Hamilton. They produced an interesting programme in which they were able to show their considerable talent. This included music by Buxtehude, Bach, Franck, Stanford and Reger.

Both recitalists have already made great achievements. Chris has been a Chapel Organist at Blundell’s School in Tiverton and in September he will be Organ Scholar of St Stephen’s Church in Gloucester Road, London. Nick has for the past year been Organ Scholar of St John’s Church Glastonbury – a post which he will continue to hold for the coming year, as well as being a Junior Organ Scholar of Wells Cathedral.

Report by Derek Dorey

Organ Recital by Ian Heavisides,  Saturday, 23rd July 2016,  North Petherton Minster Church

The second in a Summer series of organ recitals took place on Saturday, 23rd July, at North Petherton Minster Church. It was given by Ian Heavisides, and the proceeds from the retiring collection went to “Changing Tunes”, the chosen SOCA charity for 2016.

Ian played three major pieces:  Bach’s Dorian Toccata & Fugue;  2 movements from Mendelssohn’s 1st Organ Sonata;  and the Final, from Vierne’s 1st Organ Symphony.  His recital interspersed these with a number of shorter, contrasting pieces. The Bach was played with great energy and verve, and a pleasing contrast of registrations in the Toccata. The two Mendelssohn movements displayed two contrasting facets of organ sound; the sedate legato of the Adagio, and the fast-running passagework of the Allegro. The Vierne Final showed the variety of tone and volume of which the North Petherton organ is capable.

The recital included several shorter pieces less commonly heard in recitals. Of particular charm were two items in the first half:  A Prelude on Pont Street, by the recently-deceased organist of Downside, Christopher Tambling;  and Contemplation, by Paul Edwards. Both of these quieter pieces allowed the use of serene stops from the organ, though the Tambling piece did build through a crescendo before finishing quietly. The Paul Edwards solo displayed the sort of piquant harmonies which would be familiar to those who have sung his Christmas miniature, No Small Wonder. The second half began with Noel Rawsthorne’s Celtic Lullaby, attractive variations on a Scottish air, and included Jehan Alain’s dark Chorale Dorien, and Brahms’ sublime prelude on the chorale melody Schmücke Dich. The recital also included Reger’s colourful Benedictus, and Pietro Yon’s fun piece, Toccatina for Flutes.

There was a convivial social atmosphere afterwards, with tea and delicious cake, and a chance to chat with the soloist, and with other players. There are three more recitals in the series, each on the last Saturday afternoon of the next three months at 3.00 p.m..  I commend these recitals to other players and listeners.

Report by John Bodiley

RSCM Songs of Praise event for Singers and Instrumentalists, Saturday 16th July 2016,
St Benedict’s Church, Glastonbury

This was a thoroughly practical and enjoyable afternoon, culminating in a short worship service which used the many musical ideas learnt during the afternoon.

The RSCM’s Head of Congregational and Instrumental Music, Miles Quick, led the afternoon – assisted by a very adaptable band of instrumentalists and on the organ by Derek Dorey, Organist of St John’s Church in Glastonbury.  The approximately 40 attendees made up a four part choir when part-singing was an option.

The keynote was the simplicity of much of the music, enabling it to be embraced by congregations of limited musical ability but nevertheless providing new insights into the use of music in worship. We followed Miles as cantor as he improvised a response to confession prayers. We learnt a short response to be sung between verses of a Psalm, while the instruments played or improvised complementary parts. We sang traditional hymns and a modern worship song accompanied by various combinations of instruments and the organ. We used Taizé chant between intercessory prayer, and sang a Gloria as a four part round as we made our way individually into the chancel for the final benediction.

During the worship, school pupils from the area provided beautiful short pieces on trumpet and clarinet – their musical playing giving time and space for prayer and meditation.

We have already used some of the ideas shared in our worship at Creech St Michael Parish church, where we have an average congregation of 20 to 30 and only two or three musicians, thus demonstrating the practicality of the session.

Report by Peter Cox

Organ & Trumpet recital at St Mary’s Church, North Petherton, Saturday 4th June 2016

Organist Andrew Hinkley and young trumpeters Thomas Jordan and Gregory Jordan gave the first in a series of recitals at St Mary’s, North Petherton on Saturday June 4th. Their programme included works from the mid 17th century to the present day. Andrew showed the fine sound of the 3-manual organ to good advantage, with sounds ranging from gentle flues and small scale reeds to the blazing full organ. Both of the young trumpeters are pupils at Bristol Cathedral Choir School where they are learning trumpet with Ross Brown. The trumpet and organ items showed how well brass and organ combine. An added bonus came in explanations of the workings of both trumpets and organs which enabled the audience to appreciate more the skills of the players. This recital was in aid of church funds and our chosen charity for the year “ChangingTunes”. More are planned – keep a watch on the “our calendar” part of the website.

Report by Ray Willis

Latest News from Changing Tunes (May 2016):
We’ve just published our bi-annual newsletter – please visit

Changing Tunes

For the past two years SOCA has supported a local charity each year by promoting concerts in Somerset Churches to raise funds for that charity.  For 2016 we will be supporting Changing Tunes.

Changing Tunes, based in Bristol, is a registered charity that uses music teaching, rehearsing, recording, performance, improvisation and composition to aid the rehabilitation of prisoners and ex-prisoners. Changing Tunes has been doing this work for over fifteen years. The common purpose of making music creates an environment for prisoners to improve self-esteem, build healthy relationships, and engage in an activity where hard work and perseverance brings rewards. These factors are major steps towards rehabilitation.

Each week Changing Tunes leads music sessions in prisons, enabling prisoners to learn, practise and perform music that inspires them. Each Changing Tunes session is facilitated by a Musician in Residence, who is able to play at least two instruments to a very high standard, and to teach a number of other instruments as well as singing. Sessions are tailored to the needs of those involved and typically this results in most of the work involving tuition and band rehearsals, but we also see solo performers and other ensembles.

Changing Tunes staff usually work in the prison chapel and are linked with the Chaplaincy team and/or Education, given the pastoral and educational elements of their work. They regard this work as more than just a day job and bring a personal commitment to what they do.

For further information, please go to

There will be presentation about the charity’s work by a member of the Changing Tunes staff at 11 am on Sat 2nd April at St Andrew’s Church, Taunton.  All are welcome!

Saturday 13th February 2016
VISIT TO OXFORD:  Merton, Wadham & Keble Colleges

15 members of SOCA and guests enjoyed an instructive day hearing about, listening to and playing three of Oxford’s most notable, majestic and versatile organs – all recently newly built or restored.  The wetness and coldness of the day was completely counteracted by the warmth and enthusiasm of the welcome received by members from Directors of Music Benjamin Nicholas (Merton), Katharine Pardee (Wadham) and Organ Scholar Rory Moules  (Keble).  The warmth of the tone from all three organs also helped!

Photographs clockwise from top left:
1.  Benjamin Nicholas demonstrates the splendid new organ of Merton College.
2.  Nigel Cavey savours the majesty of tone.
3.  The towering Father Willis at Wadham College, recently restored by Harrison & Harrison of Durham.
4.  The lofty Tickell at Keble College.
5.  John Bodiley plays the last chord of Bach’s St Anne Fugue at the end of the day.

16th January 2016

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