Each year I have the pleasant task of deciding what topic we should base our following year educational organ tutorial videos on. This gets harder each time to ensure that we do not repeat old ground and include matters of some genuine interest.
In the early years we started with ‘Hymn of the Month’ which hardly challenged my creative thinking and after a second year on the same format I decided we had to raise the game lest the format become boring and of rapidly diminishing attraction.
Later years included organ pieces from various organ exam syllabi, a choral accompaniment series working with 4 singers and some staple diet for parish choirs. More recently we built series around wedding music and our 2021 series focussed on contemporary composers living in and around Oxfordshire.
What then for 2022?
The location – Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich
I have long since loved the format of the Anglican choral evensong. It is such a restful experience that offers those capable of delivering it opportunity to include music and chants of the most delightful beauty. Core to the service is performance of the psalms, often referred to a psalmody.
I have long wanted to include a video series on this but had held off due in part to the cost of pulling together the required resources and the effort of finding an appropriate venue and then the further cost of setting up a temporary Viscount organ in the venue. This of course is not at all critical to the purpose of the video but I never like to miss an opportunity to show off what modern day digital organ technology can do.
This latter issue went away with the installation of a Viscount Regent 356 in the magnificent Wren Chapel of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The chapel also hosts a wonderful college choir as the Greenwich campus is now the home of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Even more fortunate the choir is under the direction of renowned musician Ralph Allwood.
Ralph Allwood takes charge of the project
Later discussion with Ralph revealed to me a man even more enthralled with the wonders of Choral evensong than I, and so I had almost by accident found a natural and very enthusiastic partner with whom to work on this project.
Straight away he sensed what we wanted to do and immediately took charge of the project. All I had to do was sit back and watch it all happen! Thank you so much Ralph for all your hard work and management of these videos.
As is customary this little blog is an opportunity to set the scene and whet the appetite for the full video series that will be released by instalment throughout 2022. There are some behind the scenes shots of the equipment and people involved on the day. Quite a few more than usual.
If we are lucky at the end of the year we may have some outtakes to amuse you as we did have a few retakes on the day to cover up the odd slip. Time will tell.
I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.