Essex Organists’ Association
for Organists and Organ Enthusiasts


​Formerly the Chelmsford and District Organists' Association
Affiliated to The Incorporated Association of Organists

Forthcoming events


With the news of lessening Covid restrictions we hope that our events from August onwards will be live events where we can fully resume meeting in person.

As we begin to meet again together, there may be members who would like to join us but have transport difficulties. If this is the case for you, please do email the Association at organistassociation@gmail.com so that we can try to put you in touch with members attending events who may be able to help you with this.



Sat 16th July – All day visit to see, hear, and play organs in Gorleston & Lowestoft in Suffolk - a joint visit with The Organ Club

We are delighted to be joining with The Organ Club for a joint visit to Gorleston & Lowestoft to see, hear and play 4 very interesting organs. EOA Committee member Andrew Stevens is on The Organ Club committee, and we thank him for the idea of a joint visit. The schedule and preliminary organ details is as follows:
  • 10:45am St Andrew’s Church, Church Road Gorleston, NR31 6LR - 3 manual & pedal Norman & Beard 1904, originally in St John’s Lowestoft before being dismantled and taken to Norwich R.C. Cathedral where it was never erected but was sold on to St Andrew’s Gorleston and installed there in 1979 by Wood Wordsworth.
  • 12:30pm St John the Baptist, Church Lane, Lound, NR32 5LR - 2 manual & pedal Harrison & Harrison, 1913, recently overhauled by Boggis of Diss for which organ club President, Paul Hale, was advisor and who will talk about the recent works. The case is by Sir Ninian Comper.
  • 2.30pm Our Lady Star of the Seas RC Church, Gordon Road, Lowestoft NR32 1NL - 3 manual & pedal Norman & Beard 1900 untouched.
  • 5pm St Peter and St John Church, Rectory Road, Kirkley NR33 0ED - 4 manual & pedal – originally 2 manual & pedals Brindley and Foster 1881 enlarged to 4 manuals in the 1890s by Norman & Beard.

More information in the next newsletter, but travel will be by members’ cars – do consider car sharing for this trip – if you have a free space or spaces and are happy to give lifts between venues, please do let Andrew Stevens know as there may be some on the visit getting the train who would be glad of a lift around the churches. The cost of the day will be £10 payable by cash or card on the day please, not by BACs on this occasion, as The Organ Club will be handling all the finances for this trip. Please do book your place as soon as possible on this trip by emailing Andrew Stevens, at a.stevens50@btinternet.com.


Other EOA events in the pipeline for 2022 and 2023 for your diaries include:
  • Sat 6th August – Summer Party at Ridgewell
  • Mid-week in September Possible extended visit to organs in an English city Sat
  • 1st or 15th October All day visit to organs near Great Bentley & St Osyth

Plans for 2023 include our rescheduled Extended visit to Paris and a joint organ day in Chelmsford Cathedral with members of the other Associations in our region.


Non-EOA Events
Events Promoted by Members

As we are gradually beginning to return to more active lives, please do remember to send your contributions to the list of organ recitals and concerts that you or your church are going to perform. With restrictions on the uses of churches being gradually lifted, it would be good if we can offer albeit a small number of organ recitals and related events to members and beyond through our website. Please send these to the EOA email address which is: organistassociation@gmail.com .

Tuesday 12th July 2022 at 1pm, Moot Hall, Colchester
Stefan Donner (Vienna)

IAO Festival Friday 22nd – Tuesday 26th July 2022 in Edinburgh
Festival Invitation | The Incorporated Association of Organists (iao.org.uk)

RCO Summer Course - Monday 1st to Saturday 6th August
https://www.rco.org.uk/events/SC2022


Recent Events
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Sat 7th August - EOA Summer BBQ


It was lovely to see a good number of members and friends at the beautiful home of Fiona & Charlie Bodmer in Great Bentley, August for a Summer BBQ. The weather was very kind to us and we were able to eat outside in the garden, enjoying the fantastic food that Fiona and Charlie had worked tirelessly to prepare and cook for us.

There was much merriment and socialising during the afternoon and evening! Impromptu musical entertainment of variety of styles was provided from within those present, both on the grand piano and using Fiona’s 3 manual & pedal Viscount Chorum electronic organ.

Our thanks go to Fiona & Charlie for hosting and organising such a marvellous event, and one which we shall certainly repeat in the future!
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Sat 18th September – An all-day visit to see, hear and play North Essex Organs


A good number of members were able to spend a lovely, bright September day visiting four very different churches and organs on the North Essex/Suffolk border - St Mary the Virgin in Radwinter, St Augustine of Canterbury in Birdbrook, St Lawrence in Ridgewell and St Peter & St Paul in Foxearth. It was particularly nice that there were warm welcomes and refreshments available at all the churches we visited, along with the usual pub lunch to keep us going!
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Sat 23rd October - "The Life and Music of Louis Vierne" - an illustrated talk by Peter Crompton


It was very good to return once again to Broomfield Church Hall as we welcomed Peter Crompton for an afternoon’s talk (illustrated with CD tracks) on the life and work of the great French organist Louis Vierne (1870-1937) and those composers who he was influenced by and who Vierne in term influenced. All who attended were treated to some wonderful informative anecdotes, some delightful recordings (including Vierne himself playing) and came away much more enlightened as to how approachable Vierne’s music was, and how important he is in the French organ school of the 19th and 20th centuries.
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Sat 27th November – Organ Recital by Simon Hogan (formerly at Southwell Minster)

We were delighted that Simon Hogan, formerly Assistant Organist of Southwell Minster, and now Organist of St Bartholomew the Great in London, gave a fantastic recital on the organ of St Mary the Virgin, Shenfield. Simon lives in Chelmsford and is married to Hilary Punnett (Assistant Director of Music at Chelmsford Cathedral) and many members will have been at Hilary’s excellent recital at Shenfield in February 2020. Simon's playing really showed off the colours of the organ, whilst demonstrating his talent and skill in playing very high-level repertoire for us.
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Saturday 22nd January – EOA Lunch at Chelmsford Cathedral with guest speaker, Sir Andrew Parmley

We were delighted to have Sir Andrew Parmley as the guest speaker for an Association Lunch, in The Chapter House of Chelmsford Cathedral, on Saturday 22nd January 2022. Sir Andrew spoke to us about his role as Chief Executive of the Royal College of Organists and his time as Lord Mayor of London, and a wonderful buffet lunch was enjoyed by everyone.
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Sat 26th February – Workshop-masterclass on performing (and registering) English Romantic Organ Music, Brentwood School Chapel

A handful of members joined our President, Philip Prior, in Brentwood School Chapel, with its fine Father Willis organ, for an afternoon’s workshop-masterclass on performing and registering English Romantic organ music. Philip began by playing the three-part Lenten organ piece, Clarifica me Pater by Thomas Tallis (1505-85), followed immediately by the last few pages of Master Tallis’ Testament by Herbert Howells (1892-1983), asking the audience to consider the huge musical contrasts between the pieces and the reasons for the massive change in the 400 years between when these two pieces were composed! These included the invention of the Swell box in 1712, to allow more dynamic control and expression, the desire for bigger and louder organs (with instruments showcased at the Great Exhibition of 1851 from builders like Hill and Willis), and the use of pedals in English music championed by composers such as William Russell and Felix Mendelssohn in his 6 Sonatas. Our thanks to the School Organist, Sam Barber, for hosting us for this event.
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Saturday 12th March - All day visit to organs in Maldon

A party of members and friends visited three organs in Maldon on a glorious Spring day. Some met for a late brunch to fortify us for the day’s events and others met us at All Saints Parish Church, where Dr Stuart Pegler a former EOA Committee member is Director of Music. We then moved to the Catholic church of the Assumption of Our Lady, where we enjoyed a friendly welcome from the priest and refreshments, along with the chance to play the 2 manual & pedal organ, originally by Gray & Davison and last rebuilt by local organ builder and EOA Member, Peter Wood. Our final venue was St Mary’s Church by the quay, with its lovely views of the coast and where our member Colin Baldy welcomed us as Director of Music at St Mary’s.
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Saturday 2nd April 2pm - "The Orchestral Organist" - an illustrated talk on the organ and its role in the orchestra by Roderick Elms

In April we returned to the Pelly Room, Boreham after a few years, as we were delighted to welcome Roderick Elms to give us a presentation entitled “The Orchestral Organist”. Roderick explained to us how the organ and organist fits into the orchestra across many examples larger works, illustrated with many CD extracts as well as a booklet of study scores for us all to look at. Members who attended and those who didn’t will be interested in Roderick’s own website where details of his compositions, arrangements, recordings and recent book “Just a little from the top” can be found: www.masterkeyboards.co.uk.
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Saturday 14th May - A visit to see, hear and play organs in Braintree and Bocking churches

In 1950, when the Chelmsford Association was reformed after the war, its first visit was to organs in Braintree. We had planned this visit to originally take place in 2020, but the Covid pandemic meant that this is the earliest we can run this event. We visited three churches in Bocking and central Braintree:

  • St Mary’s Bocking - 2 manual & pedal Norman & Beard
  • St Peter’s Bocking - 3 manual & pedal Gern, most recently rebuilt by Andrew Stevens)
  • Our Lady, Queen of Peace RC Church - 2 manual & pedal, installed by Peter Wood.
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Saturday 11th June - the 72nd Annual General Meeting including visits to Haverhill and Clare

Our 72nd AGM combined with a pub lunch and visits to the organs in two churches in Suffolk - St Peter and Paul Church in Clare and the Old Independent Church in Haverhill.

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