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 lessening Covid restrictions we have fully resumed meeting in person! 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.


Tuesday 20th - Thursday 22nd September 2022 – Extended Visit to Organs in Bristol

About 10 EOA members and friends are looking forward to taking part in our extended visit to Bristol this month, beginning at 2pm on Tuesday 20th September, where we will see, hear and play the 1904 Walker organ of Bristol Cathedral, followed by attendance at 515pm Choral Evensong (also an option on Wednesday). Then, for the next two days until 6pm on Thursday 22nd, we will visit a variety of different organs with free time for exploring the delights which this vibrant west-country city offers. Wednesday 21st includes playing time on the huge 4 manual and pedal Harrison organ in the very fine parish church of St Mary, Redcliffe an on Thursday 22nd, we venture to the superb of Clifton (famous for Brunel’s Suspension Bridge!) where our visit includes the modern 3 manual & pedal Walker in All Saints church, Clifton.

Details of the exact itinerary are still being finalised, but members can be assured of an exciting three days of looking and playing a wide variety of instruments along with much socialising and good food and drink!

Members joining us at Bristol are expected to arrange and fund their own travel and accommodation. Travelling from Essex has become easier, with the new Elizabeth Line halving the time to cross London from Liverpool Street to Paddington (where many fast trains to Bristol Temple Meads station can be caught). For your information, members of your committee have already booked to stay in central Bristol at The Clayton Hotel, 35-27 Broad Street, which has parking available close by, and is 10 minutes’ walk to Bristol Temple Meads Station, the Cathedral, Redcliffe and very close to the shopping area by the High Street. Please contact the hotel directly to arrange your own new booking as no block booking for this visit has been made.

The cost of this visit will be £10 per day, per playing member, whilst non-players will be £5 per day, which allows members to come for parts of or all the visit, according to their own personal circumstances. If you would like to definitely join us for some or all of this exciting visit, please do email Philip Prior urgently, on the EOA email address, organistassociation@gmail.com so that you can receive the full schedule and further information.


Saturday 22nd October 10am – 12noon – “Meet the Organ” event for young people, at Felsted School Chapel & Holy Cross, Parish Church

We are very pleased to be able to run this event as a collaboration with both Felsted School and our Essex Organ Academy as we try to encourage more young people to take up the organ.

If you know of a young person with some piano skills (however basic or advanced) who would be interested in trying out the organ for the first time, or who is at the start of their organ journey and would like to have another go having tried it previously, then this is the event for them – those with piano skills already should bring a couple of pieces to play and have feedback on from the team of tutors.

Tutors on the day include Will Warns (from Felsted School), and Philip Prior and Richard Nott, and participants will have the chance to play several different organs, including the fine 3 manual & pedal Willis organ in the School Chapel at Felsted, and the 2 manual tracker pipe organ at Felsted Church, next to the school.

For reasons of safeguarding, please note that all young people under 18 must be accompanied by a designated adult at all times during the event, as this does include visiting other venues outside of the School and its Chapel. All participants should be aware that there may be other activities taking place on the school grounds and should take care accordingly when travelling, parking and walking around the site, etc.

This an event that does need to be pre-booked, and, on this occasion, is not open to the general adult membership, unless they come as a designated adult to a young person. The cost is £10 per young person. The application form will be found on the EOA Website and Facebook pages, so please do direct any young person you think would be interested so that we can encourage the next generation of organists in Essex. Please email organistassociation@gmail.com with queries.


Other EOA events in the pipeline for 2022 and 2023 for your diaries include:
  • November 2022 – An all-day Saturday visit to see, hear and play organs in Central London.
  • January 2023 – An illustrated talk on organ & choral music by women composers past and present.
  • Spring 2023 – A lecture-recital on North German organ music before J S Bach
  • Sat 27th May 2023 – Chelmsford Cathedral, a joint event with members of the other Associations in the IAO London & Eastern region, based around French organ music in the liturgy.
  • June 2023 – The 73rd AGM of the Association Plans for 2023 also include our rescheduled Extended visit to Paris. Further details about all of these will be found in the November/December newsletter.

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 returning 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. Please send these to the EOA email address: organistassociation@gmail.com .

Members will be interested in the following events from our umbrella organisation the IAO:
  • RCO Summer Course – Monday 1st to Saturday 6th August
https://www.rco.org.uk/events/SC2022

Here is a list of organ recitals and members’ concerts in our area (don’t forget to check with the venue before you travel that the event is still happening!):
  • Saturday 24th September, 2pm-5.30pm, Royal Hospital School, Holbrook nr Ipswich - A study afternoon on organ accompaniment with Tim Parsons (St Edmundsbury Cathedral) Further details at https://www.trybooking.co.uk/BUVI
  • Sunday 25th September at 3pm, St Andrew, Rushmere - Philip Prior (St James the Great, Colchester)
  • Sunday 25th September at 3pm, St Katherine, Little Bardfield - Anne Page (Cambridge) Contact EOA Member, Peter Wood 01371 856382
  • Saturday 1st October 6pm, St George’s Lutheran Church, London E1 8EB - Stephen Farr plays for the Organ Vesper.
  • Tuesday 4th October 1pm, St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester - Magdalena Hannah (Clarinet), Andrew Liddell (Violin) and Serena Sheane (Piano)
  • Friday 7th October at 12 noon, Chelmsford Cathedral - Francesca Massey (Organ)
  • Tuesday 11th October at 1pm, Moot Hall, Colchester - Ashley Grote (Norwich Cathedral)
  • Saturday 22nd October at 3pm, St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester - A choral concert by given by the choir of Beverley Minster.
  • Saturday 22nd October 2.30pm, Holy Trinity, Rayleigh - Anna Lapwood opens the new Viscount organ in the refurbished church.
  • Friday 4th November at 12 noon, Chelmsford Cathedral - James Davy (Organ)
  • Tuesday 8th November at 1pm, Moot Hall, Colchester - Dr Gillian Ward Russell (Maldon)

Recent Events
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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 was the earliest we can run this event. We visited three churches in Bocking and central Braintree. We began at St Mary’s Church, Bocking, where the church’s Director of Music and EOA Member, Gareth Bennett, welcomed us and briefly demonstrated the 2 manual and pedal organ before members had a chance to play. Following an excellent pub lunch at The White Hart in the centre of Braintree, we moved to Our Lady, Queen of Peace RC Church in Braintree. Finally, we headed back down to the church of St Peters-in-the Field, Bocking where we were met by the church’s Director of Music, David Wood. Our thanks to the church for providing excellent refreshments and to EOA Committee member Andrew Stevens for organising an excellent day.

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Saturday 11th June - the 72nd Annual General Meeting including visits to Haverhill and Clare

A handful of members joined us to start our day in the beautiful Suffolk market town of Clare, with its picturesque East Anglian buildings and its big parish church of St Peter & St Paul: we were very warmly welcomed by the Director of Music, David Musgrove, after which members played. After an excellent lunch at The Swan pub in Clare, we drove to The Old Independent Church in Haverhill, where we were joined by other members for our 72nd AGM. Our thanks to Michaela Cottee for arranging the venues for this event and providing coffee and tea at the AGM.

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

We were delighted to join with The Organ Club for a joint visit to Gorleston & Lowestoft to see, hear and play 4 very interesting organs. We started at St Andrew's Church, Gorleston, travelled inland to the church of St John the Baptist, Lound, on to Our Lady Start of the Seas RC Church, Lowestoft, and finally to St Peter and St John Church, Kirkley. Our thanks go to Andrew Stevens for organising the day and the gorgeous weather!
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Saturday 6th August - Summer Party at Ridgewell

Our thanks to Michaela and Dave for their excellent hospitality hosting our summer party this year at their beautiful home. Members and their families enjoyed the chance to meet and enjoy a wonderful buffet, and to play Michaela's new 3 manual and pedal Wyvern electronic organ: it was super to see some of our younger friends exploring the organ and the sounds possible from it for the first time, in duet!
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