The Lady Organist

an online magazine for organists

Category Lifestyle

Boogie down the Bell and Jorrocks

Narnia (aka my new home of Frittenden, Kent) has a lively musical scene to which I am pleased to have made a contribution on Easter Day.  The builders are over the worst, and I was out of the polytunnel around the organ (Frittenden Diaries passim)  for a cracking Easter Service – my first with the choir singing an anthem (I was proud.)  Then full welly for the final hymn, including

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Playing in a polytunnel

On Sundays, in my new position as Director of Music in Narnia (aka Frittenden, Kent), I play encased in plastic. Not an attempt by the Parish to nurture their organist through the cold weather (or even to keep her in quarantine for the critical first three months), but essential protection for the organ from the Building Works over in the south aisle (a new glass upper room, and a kitchen.

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Dead Organists’ Society

  Heaving my music into boxes for the move to Narnia,  I couldn’t help noticing that most of my organ music collection is, um, recycled: most of coming, in fact, from those cardboard boxes that go the rounds in organist circles, of music from deceased colleagues which is seeking a new home.  Amongst the dross (new compositions that saw one performance only, deeply uncool anthologies from the early twentieth century,

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New Year, new job, and a moorhen that likes porridge

Due diligence has been performed.  I have filled forms, signed certificates of confidentiality, provided references, and acquired an enhanced DBS Certificate, which has been duly forwarded to the Diocese of Canterbury Safeguarding Office for inspection.  I have played for three services and not been found wanting. The Rector and the PCC have consulted on a careful job description. We have pondered the Royal School of Church Music recommended fees for

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Every home should have one

I have too many keyboard instruments in my home already, so naturally, last year I acquired another one.  The pecuniary outcome of quite a few months’ overtime at the day job* was handed over to David Mason of Viscount Organs, and in return, a 2-manual, 31-stop, 30-note radiating concave pedalboard practice organ arrived at my London terraced home a few weeks later.  And I can’t remember feeling so chuffed since

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New organ radio station – send in your CD and get broadcasted!

There’s a new organ radio station available on the web: is a new initiative from in the Flemish part of Belgium and in the Netherlands, delivering 24/7 organ music, with a different theme every day, and their website is available in both English and Dutch versions. Head of Orgelradio, Nico Declerck, says At the moment we can offer only 1,000 tracks but soon in March 2016 it will increase

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Taking the organ out for a drink

Can’t decide whether this is weird, or actually quite brilliant, but I certainly can’t fault Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky if they are going to commission the building of a proper pipe organ from one of the UK’s oldest organ builders, Mander Organs, for a promotional bash. Project organisers Bompas & Parr combined the 5-rank mobile organ – dubbed The Flavour Conductor – with an ‘immersive and theatrical experience’, using

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Handy excuses for organists

  We all have those days when our performance wasn’t quite as good as it should have been, so here’s a convenient list of suitable organist excuses. Personally I would go for blinding them with science every time – our instrument is such a gift for this: some earnest exposition around pistons, couplers, diapasons and swell boxes, and only a fellow-organist would know you’re bluffing.     You might also

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Organ rocks – 5 fantastic reasons to play the organ – from Sinfini Music

A big thank you to Christina Kenny for her recent post on the eclectic classical music site SINFINI MUSIC.   She lists 5 reasons why playing the organ in 2015 is possibly the coolest thing you can do, with some great quotes and comments from Stephen Farr and James McVinnie, and plenty of video clips of our instrument in all its guises.   In fact, if you wanted to show a

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You’re not a proper organist until…

Becoming an organist is not just about getting some swanky letters to put after your name, you know.  Certain important life skills are also required, if you’re going to hack it like a pro.  See how you measure up with this check list. YOU’RE NOT A PROPER ORGANIST UNTIL: Your organ shoes look like they’ve been in a tussle with an enthusiastic puppy and lost You have a few improv

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How to chat up your organist

Taken a shine to the new lady organist who has just started at your church?  Fancy seeing more of that young organ scholar you met at a recital?   Organists are not gregarious souls, and it can take an effort to make friends.  Allow THE LADY ORGANIST to give you some tips on good chat-up lines, and guidance on what to avoid in those tricky early conversations. Talking about the

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The Lady Organist in Winter – Stable Girl Style

Stable Girls are expected to turn out morning and evening, in all weathers, to perform repetitive tasks for dismal amounts of money – sounds familiar? This winter I’ve discovered a whole untapped aspect of my wardrobe, perfect for winter organ playing – my horse-riding gear. I’m not talking boots, bits and bridles here*  but the sort of clothing that riders throw on every morning before they stump down to the

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Liturgical Hair – update for Advent 1

Organist Kathryn Rose is dyeing her hair in the appropriate liturgical colours for the season, to raise money for organ repairs.   Here’s the first colour! – for today, the first Sunday in Advent. She needs more sponsorship if she’s going to get all the way through to Pentecost – her Just Giving page is here. More about the project: Liturgical Hair

10 performance etiquette tips from Take Note

Take Note is the blog of Sheet Music Plus.  Click here for a recent post by Zachariah Friesen on concert etiquette, which I particularly enjoyed.   Good advice for youngsters coming into the music profession – and a few reminders for some oldies. .

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