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D Quentin Bellamy

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Posts posted by D Quentin Bellamy

  1. Brethren... Our new organ is installed, but has arrived minus one essential: a mirror. I have asked for a price for the said mirror and am STAGGERED to be told that a console top mirror will be £450!!!! Cor blimey!! Think of a number!!! Do they really cost that much??? :lol: We only need 100 of them and we could have another new organ and still have change to buy a car and some fish and chips....

  2. The agreement here is that I have the right to provide music when it is required for a service. If a request is put in for someone else - or something else - to provide the music, I am still entitled to the standard fee. We don't allow the playing of recorded music, and although we might make an exception in special cases, such an exception would not be made without my agreement, and it would not prejudice my entitlement to the fee.


    I think the above is pretty much standard practice. I, too, make my living as an organist, but I don't think that should make a difference to the general principle.

    As one of the resident clerics on this site, (!) I have noticed a growing number of people moving away from the traditional organ to other music. Today in Prestatyn we had a (superb) violinist and pianist and their music was sublime! The organist was also present and was paid the appropriate fee. After all there were hymns to be sung. I would say that singing to a CD is B A D practice and it certainly won't be allowed here. I have also advised funeral directors that if a family requests to sing hymns to the accompaniment of a CD, to not ask me to conduct the service. I had one just recently at the local crem where they sang "You'll never walk alone" to Gerry and the Pacemakers (I think) and that was dreadful. But worse was to follow: The Old Rugged Cross to a CD of Daniel O'Donnell. :lol: Both were absolutely impossible to sing to and what was worse was that there was an organist sitting at the Viscount who could have played both (though the first of these two ditties has a range of an octave and a half and could only be sung by someone like Harry Secombe or Katherine Jenkins!!).


    I think it is up to individual clergy to put their foot down on this nonsense. If folks want to listen to a CD that is one thing, but singalongaCD is something else.


    Anyway you folks... don't you have a Musician's Union to stand up against this stuff???

  3. I know you'll all hate me for saying it, but you should do what we do here (usually when there is no organist, but from time to time when there is) and that is that we bung a CD on the church's sound system! I have noticed that people seem to listen more when a CD is playing! In any case many is the time that people don't even come into the church until about five minutes before the service. If there is muzak playing what does it matter where the sound is coming from?!


    It's a matter of style, but these days I have the bride and groom sign the registers on the High Altar to remind them of the sacramental nature of their marriage covenant. (They're told this in their marriage prep interview). It is all done with very good humour, and the congregation is kept involved. What most people don't seem to realise is that much of this huge delay when signing the registers is down to photographers. Here family and photographers are told that the signing of the register is not a photographic opportunity, but that they can return to the church straight after the service and take as long as they like. This means that the organist is spared the horror of playing to a non-listening audience.


    We once had a harpist here. She played as people were coming in, and if truth be known, her many years of experience playing for weddings was very similar to many of the experiences mentioned in this thread (ie chattering and noise throughout -- organists are not unique in this regard). I made the couple sign the register during the second hymn and then had them sit down. Then I announced that we had a wonderful harpist with us and that we were all going to spend a few minutes listening to her music. Everyone sat attentively and at the end there was a burst of applause. After the service the harpist came up to me (and she is a very distinguished musician in these parts). I thought that I was in for it (!) but she thanked me warmly and said that she had never had a round of applause in a wedding before; now it is a regular thing if a harpist or a Welsh Male Voice Choir or other soloist is singing. It shows respect to them, and also to the couple who have paid their good money to have these musicians/singers present.


    So far as late brides are concerned they are told at the rehearsal that if the bride is late, the bellringers will stop ringing at the time the wedding is due to start and that the silence will be screaming! Late brides are not too much of a problem since this was introduced. Again the lateness can often be down to the photographer - we find this to be frequently the case. I was warned by my training incumbant to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself on these occasions as the clergy never know what may have been happening beforehand. He told me that there was once a wedding on the same day as the Parish Summer Fair. He advised the bride about this on the night of the rehearsal and asked her not to be late. On the day she appeared 25 minutes late. He told me "I was annoyed but I didn't show it". After the wedding the bride's father came up to him and thanked him for not being cross about the lateness of their arrival. And then he told him, "My daughter has epilepsy and just as we were getting into the car......" And I've always remembered it.


    Most couples are OK.


    There is a lot to be said for being informally formal or is that formally informal. We rarely have an unpleasant wedding these days. :) (Although the one that took place about 7 weeks ago was a bit rough ;) )

  4. I am perplexed as to why anyone would want two organs of vastly different character and origin playable from the same console.


    I wonder why they don't rebuild the Makin.... :lol:

  5. Dear Friends,


    This is just to let you know that we are holding one of our concerts here, at The Old Chapel on Saturday July 23rd at 7.15.p.m, finishing at approximately 9.15.p.m. I should say that there is no charge for admission, but to cover costs (largely organ tuning) we hope for a donation of £7.00. As usual Gill will provide light refreshments. For those who have not been before our address is: The Old Chapel, Trelogan, Holywell, Flintshire, CH8 9BD. We live halfway between Holywell and Prestatyn. There are frequent trains to Prestatyn, but few buses to Trelogan. Sometimes, depending on numbers we can pick people up from Prestatyn Station. There is a taxi rank there,too! If you are coming by car, parking is 200 yds beyond our house - plenty of space!


    On this occasion I will play a programme consisting entirely of organ music and will include some music which you are unlikely to have heard before, in addition to well know favourites.


    For space reasons, we are able to welcome a maximum of 30 people, so would appreciate it very much if you can telephone 01745 561072 if you wish to attend. If you are unable to attend, we very much hope that will be able to pass this information on to others who might be interested.


    We hope very much that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you, together with friends or spouses on July 23rd.


    With regards and all good wishes from


    Roger & Gill Fisher

  6. Slightly apprehensively, I'm venturing into this heated theatre organ discussion to point out that argument from popularity is no argument for greatness, otherwise McDonald's outlets would carry Michelin rosettes and we would all take our holidays at Disneyland.

    Goodness me! Such vociferous debate on what is usually such a civilised forum.... :lol:

  7. I don't want to get too involved in this discussion except to say that what was probably a perfectly acceptable organ was rebuilt in 1985 by a firm which is happily no longer in existence. Quotations for the rebuild were received from three builders - two quoted in the regions of £60-70k and the third came in at a magnificent £16500, including "new" console ("new" meaning "new to the church"), positive division, etc. Bearing in mind that the job was done just a little over 25 years ago, and when I arrived here 7 years ago it was in a state of near collapse, you may understand that sometimes the cheapest quote isn't necessarily the best. In fact, twelve months after the job was completed the main reservoir sprung a major leak and the answer was to simply screw the top part (where the leak was) of the double-rise bellows down to the lower section. To give that firm the benefit of the doubt you could say that the church got what it paid for. Having said that, the same firm rebuilt another organ in a well-known church in our diocese which was very soon replaced by a large Allen organ.


    Three very respected organ builders have looked at the Prestatyn organ with a view to sorting it out for us. Two declined to quote on the job, and the third (who I like and respect very much) advised that we nurse it along until we are able to afford to build a spectacular pipe organ in the west end of the church. With every respect, that ain't gonna happen. The Abbott and Smith pipework seems very good to me. I was having a play on it this morning and if only the 1985 rebuild had not happened it would have been absolutely fine. But to this, a lot of other second hand pipework has been added - from various sources; pipes just planted in the soundboards with no regulation or attention to voicing, and the result is that nothing really blends. Added to that the whole winding system is completely hopeless and there is a wind wobble that would make a Wurlitzer tremulant envious! It looks good on paper, but.....


    Why keep the casework? Because the congregation want it to remain. A number of the pipes are dummies in any case. I guess that the casework in place is a better option than a big hole where the organ was!


    We have made our decision. Our Parish Share is a hefty £62,500 and what funds we do have in the kitty will not go to spending a vast fortune on this organ. In this case it simply isn't worth it.


    As a courtesy to our very kind hosts who have their guidelines, I have not discussed the matter on this forum. However I have seen a number of church pipe organs on eBay in the past. I have also noticed a significant number of organs broken up into ranks of pipes for sale - one sees them advertised nearly all the time. Rather than advertising ranks of pipes, our plan A is to see if there is anyone (i.e. a person who enjoys a challenge) who would like to have the instrument as a whole. If not, then we will look at a suitable plan B. The asking price is not all that astronomical and the 1985 trumpet unit must be worth a few hundred pounds in itself. From what I can see (at the time of writing) the ad is the source of some interest; it has been viewed 670 times and seventy persons are watching.


    The final thing is to thank Paul Morley for describing me as an accomplished organist! How kind - if only it were true! May the Lord forgive me for enjoying his remark so much! I only play for my own pleasure these days so as to protect the general public from the unholy row... :lol:

  8. On Friday 17 June at 7.30.p.m. at the Parr Hall, Warrington, there is to be a joint recital on the famous Cavaillé-Coll Organ by Roger Fisher & (Warrington-born) Ben Saunders to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the birth of the birth of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. This will be the final occasion on which the organ can be heard in Warrington, as it is to be dis-mantled in the summer, with a view to moving it to Sheffield Cathedral.


    This event also marks the Centenary of the death of Alexandre Guilmant.

  9. It has just been announced that Makin acquired Copeman Hart yesterday.

    The two companies are to be run as separate entities, though Dr Keith Harrington will be Managing Director of both, and Ernest Hart will remain as a Director of CH.

    QB wonders what to make of this news, but then, he is a proud owner of a groovy Wyvern organ! :blink:

  10. Just out of interest however, does anyone use the Chopin funeral march at a funeral nowadays? I think I once had that piece on an LP by Gunther Brausinger, but I have never heard it played at a funeral. Don't know why really.... :unsure:

  11. This news just in...


    George Sixsmith died on Saturday 16 October at the age of 80. He contracted pneumonia a few weeks before his death and never fully recovered. Many will remember this jovial but very sincere man and the excellent work he and his firm have done over many years. He will be greatly missed. There will be am organ recital in St. Werburgh’s Church, Chester, given by Roger Fisher, at 2.30pm. on Saturday 8 January 2011 to celebrate the life and work of this well known organ builder. Admission will be free with a Retiring Collection in aid of Cancer Research UK. Further detail next month.

  12. This is truly appalling and waste on a scale unimaginable. However, here's something to ponder. What would happen if that had been over here? What recourse, legal or otherwise, would a congregation have if the minister (let's say Anglican on this occasion) just decided to do what this chap has done? What if we had been a 'major donor' to the project?

    Ahhh... how we complain in the UK about Faculty procedure.... and how essential it is! And this thread is abundant proof of that fact.


    I would never have said this ten years ago, but now things look very different. :huh:

  13. :lol: sigh...............why do I get that feeling that this posting regarding a Willis open day is now going to deviate into something unpleasant?

    If we want another Mander open day, then start a new post for it please.

    It needn't deviate into anything.


    I would love to be there, but will be on hols in America - but one thing is certain and that is that there will be a wonderful welcome in Liverpool.


    Q :)

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