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 so that we can try to put you in touch with members attending events who may be able to help you with this.

  • Saturday 25th March 2023 2.30pm – A lecture-recital on North German organ music before J S Bach by Dr Gillian Ward Russell at St Mary’s Church, Maldon

Members will all be aware of the phenomenal importance of the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach and I’m sure that many members will play some of it themselves. But what happened in North Germany prior to Bach’s incredible appearance on the organ scene in around 1700, when the names of Buxtehude and Pachelbel are only those most people are able to recall? And where were the influences on North German music at that time coming from? All these and other questions will be answered in former EOA President, Dr Gillian Ward Russell’s well-researched lecture-recital to be held on the superbly suited 2 manual & pedal Klais organ recently installed in St Mary’s Church, Maldon.

Travel to Maldon is in members’ own cars, or by bus from Chelmsford or Colchester. There is no parking at St Mary’s, with permits only on most roads close to the church, but there are several pay and display car parks are within a 10-minute walk of the church. The cost is £10 for both members and non-members. Please book for this event as soon as possible, using

  • Saturday 22nd April 2023 – All day visit to organs near Gt Bromley & St Osyth.

EOA Committee Member, Dr Fiona Bodmer, has arranged a full day’s outing to the very distant east side of Essex for us, to include both the churches she plays at regularly on a Sunday. The timetable for our day is as follows:

10.30am St Peter & St Paul, Church Square, St Osyth, CO16 8NX
12 noon St Mary the Virgin, The Green, Great Bentley, CO7 8LG
1.15 pm Lunch at Restaurant 43, Great Bentley – must be pre-ordered, see below.
2.30pm St Mary Magdalene, Hall Lane, Thorrington, CO7 8HA
330pm St George, Badley Hall Road, Great Bromley, CO7 7UX

The cost of the day (excluding lunch) is £10 for both members and non-members. Travel is by members cars, although there is a station at Great Bentley from which lifts could be arranged for some members – please let Fiona know in advance if you would like a lift from the station and around the churches. Please book for this visit and lunch, by emailing Fiona Bodmer on as soon as possible, please, when you’ll be sent the menu – main course only please.

Saturday 27th May 2023 – IAO Eastern Regional Organ Day - Chelmsford Cathedral

This promises to be an exciting all-day joint event with members of the other Associations in the IAO London & Eastern region, based around French organ music in the liturgy, with artistic directors Philip Prior (EOA) & James Davy (Chelmsford Cathedral). The day will be centred around the two Couperin Masses and de Grigny’s hymns, and will include:
  • a Masterclass with William Whitehead on these (for which a couple of wellprepared participants from the EOA will be needed)
  • a talk on preparing a new Franck edition by EOA Member Richard Brasier
  • Sung Vespers to include some of the music prepared during the day.An all-day joint event with members of the other Associations in the IAO London & Eastern region, based around French organ music in the liturgy, particularly the Couperin Masses and de Grigny’s hymns.

Please see poster below for details: buy your ticket at

Other EOA events in the pipeline for 2022 and 2023 for your diaries include:
  • Saturday 10th June 2023 afternoon – The 73rd AGM of the Association and an illustrated presentation by Jonathan Lilley on the life and music of Joseph Jongen at Waltham Abbey Church.
  • Sunday 16th July 2023 – 4pm – “A Byrd in the Hand” a lecture-recital by Dr Richard Overill on the life and music of William Byrd at St Nicholas, Witham.
  • Saturday 5th August 2023 3pm onwards – EOA Summer Party
  • Saturday 30th September – All day visit to organs in Basildon inc. St Martin’s
  • Tuesday 24th-Thursday 26th October 2023 - Extended visit to Paris.
  • November 2023 – Members’ Composite Recital, date & venue TBC

Further details about all of these will be found in the next newsletter.

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: .

Members may be interested in the St Andrew’s Organ Week from 30th July – 4th August 2023

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!):
  • Monday 20th March at 1pm, St Michael’s Cornhill, London Hilary Punnett (Organ)
  • Tuesday 11th April at 1pm, Moot Hall, Colchester Charles Francis (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)
  • Friday 5th May at 12 noon, Chelmsford Cathedral Edmund Aldhouse (Ely Cathedral)
  • Tuesday 9th May at 1pm, Moot Hall, Colchester Ian Ray (Colchester Borough Organist)
  • Saturday 1st July at 3pm, St Mary's Saffron Walden - Anna Lapwood (organ recital)
Recent Events

Saturday 12th March 2022 - 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.

Saturday 2nd April 2022 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:

Saturday 14th May 2022 - 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.


Saturday 11th June 2022 - 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.


Saturday 16th July 2022 - 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!

Saturday 6th August 2022 - 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!

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

Eight EOA members and friends took part in our extended visit to Bristol, and enjoyed a fantastic two and a half days of organ playing, friendship and excellent food. On the Tuesday we were warmly welcomed at Bristol Cathedral. On Wednesday we visited Christ Church with St Ewen, Bristol City and the church of St Mary, Redcliffe. Finally, on Thursday we visited All Saints, Clifton and Redland Park URC. All in all, an amazingly contrasting set of large instruments to play over the three days.

Saturday 22nd October 2022 - "Meet the Organ" event for young people

It was a great delight for your President and Vice-Chairman to welcome 8 students under 16 and their parents to join us for this important event at Felsted School and Holy Cross Church next door, as part of our outreach to younger people. The event was run as a collaboration with Felsted School and our Essex Organ Academy as we try to encourage more young people to take up the organ and to encourage new church organists for the future. The two main tutors for the event were Will Warns (from Felsted School), and EOA and Academy President Philip Prior, with support from Richard Nott, and another school staff member. This was a very worthwhile experience for the young people who came, and one which we will run again in the future as part of our vision to grow the Association and its Academy further.

Saturday 26th November 2022 - An all day visit to see, hear and play organs in the City of London

EOA Vice-Chairman Richard Nott very kindly organized an exciting day for us - a rare chance to play three important organs all within the City of London. EOA visited St James’ Church, Garlickhythe (the church where Sir Andrew Parmley, currently Chief Executive of the RCO and a former Lord Mayor of London, has been Director of Music for over 35 years), St Michael’s Church, Cornhill (a very famous medieval church, burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1857 and 1860, also the church where Dr Harold Darke was once the Director of Music and has the longest running lunchtime concert series in the world which he founded in 1916), and St Vedast alias Foster Church (a medieval church of St Vedast alias Foster with a vibrant ministry to city workers and those who worship there on a Sunday).

Saturday 14th January 2023 - An illustrated talk on organ & choral music by women composers past and present, by Katherine Dienes-Williams in Brentwood RC Cathedral

Your President and Committee were very pleased to be able to welcome Katherine Dienes Williams (Organist & Master of the Music at Guildford Cathedral) to give an illustrated talk on the organ and choral music of women composers, in the lovely surroundings of St Mary & St Helen’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Brentwood. Katherine is a very experienced cathedral organist, and enthusiastic ambassador of both cathedral music and encouraging more performances of organ and choral music by female composers, something which became very apparent to all those who listened to her fantastic presentation. Katherine covered many composers from across the centuries in her talk, and explained that it was this interest that spurred her to programme a whole month’s music by women composers at Guildford Cathedral some years ago, and also in her planning for the cathedral choir to sing on Wednesday 1st March 2023 BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong for International Women’s Day. Katherine had also prepared a very comprehensive hand-out for the event – do contact your President, Philip Prior, if you want a copy of this, as he has the spares.

Saturday 4th February 2023 – An all-day visit to see, hear and play organs in Romford

A handful of members were able to enjoy a very good day’s playing and friendship in the market town of Romford, in the London side of our county.We visited three organs in the large market town of Romford, in East London. In the morning we visited St Edward the Confessor Parish Church, Romford, then St Andrew's Church, Romford, before a very good lunch at the Golden Lion. In the afternoon we visited Trinity Methodist Church, Romford. Many thanks to Stephen King for organising the day out!