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D Quentin Bellamy

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Posts posted by D Quentin Bellamy

  1. This is indeed the case in the Church of England - though NSMs I think may take the fees. In Wales we have lower stipends and get the fees. There are those that believe the English system is fairer (same remuneration no matter how many funerals/weddings you carry out) and those, especially in parishes with large numbers of funerals, who favour payment for work done. Incidentally, the standard fee (in Wales) for a funeral works out at less than £10 an hour taking into account the pastoral work and preparation, and even less than this for a wedding.


    Lest there be forum members who start on about how much an hour organists do or don't get, I am very aware that conscientious organists put in hours of practice, preparation and sometimes even prayer, while some will just turn up and play. Clergy are the same. Some will just turn up and read the service, and others will make every effort to provide pastoral support before and after the funeral/wedding, while also giving time effort and prayer to the preparation of the service. There is bad practice in all professions sadly.


    As for Colin's post, I find it hard to see why people who never have anything to do with the Church or its musical heritage should want a priest or an organ at their funerals. My job has to do with building bridges to those people, not complaining about them. I can also act as an ambassador for our wonderful heritage of spiritual music, including the organ - and I do, encouraging my organist to do the same. Most of the members of this forum do that, with greater or lesser success, but I suspect no one is going to listen to vicars or organists if they do nothing but complain.


    I can't really add that much to what Patrick has said, except that for the most part I find conducting funeral services and weddings to be a most satisfying part of my work in that on the great majority of occasions the people to whom we are ministering are generally delightful and very appreciative of all that is done for them. I thoroughly agree with Patrick that we are there to build bridges, and we forget that at our peril.


    Just as a side-note my (Pentecostal) father died three weeks ago. In recent years he had been attending the local Anglican Church in Colwyn Bay, and had become as committed a member as he could possibly be. At his funeral, we had his choice of hymns (one of which would have been unfamiliar to many of the Anglicans present, but the Vicar simply had the organist play the tune all the way through for the people to listen to and it went with a good Pentecostal swing). At the crematorium the canned music was the Moonlight Serenade, which was tear-jerkingly lovely. At the end of the day I felt as if I'd attended the most perfect funeral service - I can actually say that we enjoyed it (and that is no trite comment). To keep things to topic, the music was tremendous, and the Vicar mentioned that the organist had composed a special organ voluntary for us to leave the church - entitled "Elegy for a Bevin Boy".


    I wouldn't be surprised if certain members of the Bellamy family who have deserted church in recent years, will have been well and truly won back by simple good pastoralia - not only from the Vicar but also from the guy at the organ console (and a whole lot of other folk too). :D

  2. My junk mail filter just filtered a message from 10 Downing Street (remarkably discerning computer!), which, when I explored it further was a notification to say that the petition to keep the Cavaille-Coll organ in situ at the Parr Hall, Warrington has now expired. It turns out that 716 people had "signed" the petition online.


    I think that it was generally agreed however that the Warrington Council were aware of the organ's historical value and that it was certainly not going to be put out into a skip! A little later I learned that Sheffield Cathedral had "expressed an interest".


    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if that is still an ongoing possibility?


    Anyway for information, here is the Governmental response to the petition:


    The decision whether to move the Cavaille-Coll Organ is one for Warrington Council, owners of Parr Hall. However, English Heritage – the Government’s adviser on the historic environment – has advised the Council that the organ should not be moved without listed building consent, and that they should take the community’s views into account, including those expressed in this petition, in deciding the best course of action.


    English Heritage has further advised that the advantages and disadvantages of moving the organ are finely balanced. On the one hand it was moved twice previously, before being added to Parr Hall some time after its original construction, and there are questions over whether the organ itself might be better used in an alternative location, whilst also allowing more flexibility in the use of Parr Hall. On the other hand, the value which existing users of the hall attach to the organ and its significance in relation to performances, including a longstanding tradition of choral music, is well demonstrated by this petition and many other representations. It will be for the Council to determine the best way forward, taking all these views into account.

  3. A lot of my music is well over 30 years old and showing every sign of it - covers off, tears at the corners, tatty edges etc. Has anyoen any experience of anything our of the ordinary for repairs? I see that Sellotape have a new product called Sellotape Invisible Tape which they say doesn't crack and which is ideal for old documents. Has anyone any advice on this matter? Also, does anyone have their music re-bound these days? I've got some beautifully bound old albums which I've bought in 2nd hand book shops over the years and I wonder whether ity's worth having a few trusy volumes done.

    A lot of the problem with Sellotape is the tendency for it to go brown and then to dry up and fall off - leaving messy brown marks on the paper! My organ teacher always told me never to use it, so the new stuff may be an improvement? I'd be very interested to know what solutions there might be too....


    I have used comb binding in the past to keep my scores alive, and a photocopier is also a handy piece of kit for making running repairs. :(

  4. As I recall it, a Hill job. Yes good on paper but I have not heard it, I think it may have been "got at". Quite a church too. Perhaps it's one of those cases of the rot setting in and no real concern? perhaps?......


    If you think that's sad, St. Francis Xavier's, Liverpool, 4 decker Hill, a gem, hasn't worked in yonks. I made a lot of recordings there prior to it's demise, just as well........ :(




    On another thread, I was asked about which "jolly good" English organs were available for re-housing/re-building for the RAM. Here is evidence of a couple. So far as I am aware there is nothing much wrong with Hill organs.... Not so long ago we heard of one of the big Christian Scientist Church organs coming available for re-housing. I guess that has had a home by now.


    I ought to say that I couldn't care less about the RAM or its organ; but it does seem a pity to have pedigree organs rotting away un-used whilst other organs costing mega-bucks are being imported. But then, I'd be more than happy with a decent digital job, so I guess you could say there's no counting for taste! :(

  5. Has anyone thought to write to Harrisons to see if this story is true??? Because if it isn't it's certainly a serious allegation to make.


    I'm not sure that the powers-that-be at Manders (ie our gracious hosts) would like to be seen to be linked with such a story if it's only idle hearsay or gossip.



  6. Well quite frankly I think that it is mass hysteria whipped up in the media and by a thoroughly discredited Parliament anxious to re-focus the public attention from other matters.




    People in our Church yesterday thought the whole thing to be quite OTT, and I was troubled by the whole thing. We were going to obey the directive and administer in one kind, but instead I asked the congregation what they wanted to do. We decided that for the time being that the clergy would intinct the wafers for them and place them on the hand. It occurred to me that whilst swine flu may be a nasty bug, it seems that if you're going to get it, you'll get it - and if not then you won't. We can use all the alcohol hand wash we like but the church will NEVER be a sterile environment; and after all of that, if you are in the in the wrong place when that dreaded sneeze happens then.... :)


    And there is absolutely NO POINT WHATEVER telling the congregation not to shake hands at The Peace, because our lot will do what they want to do!


    I frankly don't like the Government telling the church what to do; after all, I heard of one MP who went to a Remembrance Sunday service, put a fiver on the plate and then attempted to claim it back in his expenses!!! :lol:


    Sister Glenys is very wise. She is well into her 80s and proud to be a Third Order Franciscan. She told me that (the Apostle) Peter only started sinking when he stopped believing! And I think she may be correct!


    And to bring the matter back on topic, I played the organ for church and conducted the service, praught, and inticted all those wafers too; I was proper worn out at the end of it all and wondered if I had swine flu.... ;)

  7. If they wish to be married in that church then it is not unreasonable to expect them to have visited it a few times in order to suss out this kind of thing. Most do, if only to hear their banns (by which time it's probably too late!)

    There are those who feel this sort of inconvenience is a step too far. Some of my own family have been interested in the fact that I play the organ but wouldn't dream of putting themselves through the ordeal of gong to church in order to hear me.


    Buying a 'pacakage' sounds like a symptom of the Consumer Culture; maybe this kind of punter should be more actively discouraged, because they are clearly only interested in a sort of cinematic production.

    I find nowadays that I just don't know what to think.... :D

  8. There's a pretty devastating solo reed on the Compton organ of the Guildhall, Southampton. I'm not sure that it's a tuba - could be an Orchestral Trumpet or something; It's devasatingly loud (and I like loud!) and quite spectacular.


    I think that this organ deserves to be much better known - it's a terrific instrument!



  9. I had a quick look in Llandaff last week on my way to Castel Coch. Scaffolding was up on the North side and they were working on the Nave casework. A lot of the larger pedal pipes seem to be in position to the East of the current structure for the Great, West Great and Solo. On the scaffolding there were some bits of pedal 32ft scale but much shorter. I wonder if 26ft was all that would fit in the shipping container so the larger pipes are in two bits for later assembly at Llandaff? The North side scaffolding will be coming down in July so they can start on the South side of the organ (and the console, I assume in a loft, to the east of that case). Good progress indeed.



    I guess that list-members will have seen this

  10. Hello,


    Priory has a recording of the complete organ works of Sir Hubert Parry, played at Durham Cathedral by James Lancelot.



    Lancelot does not add or subtract stops, he uses the swell box. The registration, as I here it from the CD: one of the many Diapasons for the solo (?) and a string-fluty combination for the Sw (?). No celeste.




    Oh yes there is that one; I'd quite forgotten about the Durham recording.


    I wonder if the over-use of celestes is a bad habit....


    Terrible thing however when an organ is without them... :mellow:

  11. After years of very little playing :( I am gradually re-visiting some of the repertoire that I learned as a teenager, :) and one piece which has arrived on the Wyvern in recent days is Parry's Choral Prelude on Rockingham. I always remember my organ teacher commenting that this is "very good" music... (though what that means I'm not sure!) :blink: Does anyone know if there are any recordings available? I learned it originally with strings and celestes as an accompaniment to the chorale - which appears as a tenor solo. But that seems kind of dull and unimaginative. :huh:


    Noting what Nigel Allcoat said in another thread about swell box use, the copy marks crescendos and diminuendos but no instructions to add or subtract stops. So are the changes in dynamic range brought about by use of the swell box, or are stops to be added or subtracted along the way?


    Does anyone else play this piece and if so how and on what sort of registration? :mellow:

  12. Members must surely rejoice with me that a considerable amount of work is being done soon on the great organ in St Augustine's. The whole of the Pedal division will be brought back to use and the Swell action will be restored thus making the organ complete once again. This is excellent news and I long for the day when I can play it again for a wonderful High Mass - an experience which I have sadly missed for a few years. Somewhere else on the Board is a photograph that I posted some time back. Others might know exactly where it is.

    For those who do not know this church, it is a sensation in every sense and lifts the heart. Do visit.


    Here's a link (just found!). ST AUGUSTINE'S KILBURN

    All best wishes,


    Will the Prepared-For stops ever be added?



  13. And there's a general knowledge rumour that an organist at a large church in the south of England wore an FRCO hood that he had acquired second-hand without troubling himself with the exams and so on. Can't imagine why - it would make me feel thoroughly fraudulent.

    Hmmm.... Well I don't know about that.


    But wasn't it W T Best who when asked if he would be taking the FCO diploma replied with the question "But who would examine ME??" :rolleyes:

  14. It is good to note that organists feature in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. CBEs for Simon Preston and Stephen Cleobury.


    Also pleasing to note is an MBE for one Glyn Hughes, living in Pentre Broughton in North East Wales, who has been Conductor of the Brymbo Male Voice Choir for 43 years and organist of his local Parish Church. Tomorrow he and the choir are coming to Prestatyn Parish Church to give a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Concert, and there will no doubt be great rejoicings! :rolleyes:

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