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Richard McVeigh

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I think it would be interesting for all the forum users to post in this thread. Rather than just being able to see 'screen names', we should all post our name and what we do... I've often wondered the background of some of the board's posters! For this to work, can I ask that people post only once so things don't get side tracked!! Maybe if this is made into a sticky? I'll start...

 

Richard McVeigh

 

Started playing piano when I was 7 or 8 after joining the choir at Chesterfield's 'Crooked Spire', where I learned the organ at 14 with their assistant organist, Ian Brackenbury. Spent three years at Hull University (for my sins!), during which time I was senior organ scholar at Beverley Minster for two of the three years. Since starting uni in 2002, I have had lessons from John S Whiteley at York. Graduated from Hull in the summer of 2005 then became organ scholar at Chester Cathedral for one year, and am now at York Minster as organ scholar for one or two years.

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I think it would be interesting for all the forum users to post in this thread. Rather than just being able to see 'screen names', we should all post our name and what we do...

 

Adrian Taylor, currently DofM at St. Mary's, Southampton. More conductor than organist...

 

Previously: DofM, Lyndhurst, Peartree (Southampton). Senior Organ Scholar, Keele University, Organ Scholar at Tettenhall College, Wolverhampton, started organ lessons at Ripon Cathedral with Robert Marsh and Ronald Perrin. Also did a short spell teaching at Lichfield Cathedral School.

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David Coram, assistant at Romsey Abbey. Went to St Edmund Hall Oxford as organ scholar, but not for very long. Spent the next 5 years pushing paperclips round other people's offices; spent the subsequent 4 years pushing paperclips round my own office. Realised life was slipping away, went back to having lessons & playing again, and now fill time with Romsey, teaching at Bournemouth University, doing lots of choir and choral society accompanying and organbuilding. I am currently (March 07) an employee of William Drake, head of keyboard studies at Bournemouth University, and run a small bespoke glass furniture manufacturing concern in addition to Romsey duties.

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Pierre Lauwers, studied the history of the organ by myself, then with Jean-Pierre Felix, organ historian in Belgium. Lost subsequently about 20 years in business (pharmaceuticals). Now without job, busy writing about the organ (among others a "Dictionnary of the organ stops" that was due for December....2005, but still in its editor basement it seems), while learning much by cooperating with the organ-builder Gerhard Walcker in Germany (seventh generation of the Walcker family).

 

Pierre

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'Started off in the choir at Barnet PC with piano lessons from David Patrick then a Music degree at Southampton University with organ lessons from Jeremy Blandford. PGCE in Winchester then teaching in Worcestershire and Lincoln with more organ lessons from Roger Bryan at Lincoln Cathedral and a spell as a supernumary in the choir there. For a time also Assistant Conductor of the Lincoln Chorale. More teaching in Bristol and more singing at Bath Abbey together with a further teaching diploma at Bath Spa University. Took early retirement in 2012 after twenty two years first as HO Perfoming Arts at an 11 - 16 school in Andover then latterly 'just' HO Music - slightly part time - to do more composing etc. Organist at St Peter's Stourton, Wilts. beside the fabulous Stourhead NT estate - but not every week! One wife, two daughters - and a 2 man house organ.

 

A

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Hennie Vaatstra, organ studies with Arie J. Keijzer (Rotterdams Conservatorium 1987-1993), Wilhelm Precker (Cologne, 1993-1996) and Bram Beekman (Soloist Diploma Cum Laude Brabants Conservatorium 1996-1998), some masterclassing with Susan Landale in 2003. Active as recitalist in and around the Netherlands as solist/continuoplayer, offical organist of the R.C. Cathedral in Breda and full-time employed as a UNIX/Linux expert.

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Stephen Dutfield, from Cardiff, South Wales. I developed a passion for organ music, and a fascination for the workings of the instrument in church as a child, never allowing my mother to leave until we'd heard the very last notes!

 

To my great life-long regret I missed out on a classical training, the family piano having gone before I arrived, but from the age of 12 had lessons in 'popular' organ from the organist at the local social club, although I did manage music 'O' level.

 

Worked for Geo. Osmond's at Taunton for a while after leaving school - loved the job (particularly the visits to Bath abbey) but hated being marooned in a distant part of the country being too young to drive or go into pubs! Spent subsequent seven years playing in lots of the aforementioned social clubs, got involved with several theatre organ preservation schemes, and did a fair bit of theatre organ playing too.

 

Packed it all up in the late 80s and got a proper job, and didn't go back to playing until the mid 90s. Gave up again in late 90s (house move - no room for the organ) but started again last year. Bit of a lost cause on the musical front really, but a member of the local association and thoroughly enjoy any opportunity to listen to, visit or talk about organs.

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Read Mod Langs at St Edmund Hall, Oxford; lifelong interest in German & French lang & lit, although 30+ years business career in finance. Now retired to North Yorks (Ripon) with small Peter Collins house organ. Amateur (very) organist - what the Germans call "Autodidakt" - occasional deputising, funerals etc. Member of BIOS, OHTA, GdO, Oxford & District OA and Organ Club (President 1992-5). Occasional translation/reviews/articles for various periodicals. Interested also in orchestral & chamber music, opera, Lieder - Prommer for 20 years. Travelled fairly extensively in Europe, including former East Germany from 1976 onwards and have been undeservedly fortunate to have heard and played a large proportion of the famous organs on the Continent and in Australia.

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How wonderful, I have been hoping for something like this for a long time but please will you `click' on you name and put the information on record in you personal file so that future and existing members will be able to look people up long after this thread is lost.

 

FF

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You can read about me on my website, as shown in my profile: http://cassland.org

 

Paul

 

Edit: This seems a bit bald, so I'll add here a summary of my credentials relating to this board.

 

I learned musical appreciation first as a chorister at Christ Church, Oxford under Sydney Watson, and then studied the piano at The King's School, Canterbury under Ronald Smith (hence my interest in Alkan).

 

Although originally intending to read medicine, at Oxford I studied Engineering Science; but I also spent some time helping Martin Renshaw (then also a student) build an organ at Gresham's School, Holt. I attempted to join several organ building firms, but was unable to because none was allowed by the unions to take a graduate as an apprentice. I worked instead at the BBC as a Studio Manager (i.e. sound engineer) for a time, and then moved into computing, which is what I do still - though I have also recorded and mastered a number of commercial CDs over the last decade.

 

For a few years I was organist (and treasurer) of a church without an organ (there was a single manual and one-octave pedal toaster), but these days my performing is in private, or singing in chamber choirs.

 

Paul

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Had a few piano lessons when I was a kid, then blundered through my teens without any lessons, becoming fascinated by the organ from the age of about fifteen. I played the organ a little at Cambridge (I read mathematics at Churchill College 1973-76), and spent a lot of time reading about the organ and listening to it.

 

I didn't play much after leaving university, but spent most of my spare time playing trains on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, becoming a director, the secretary and eventually the chairman of the organisation.

 

In 1999 I went to the St Albans festival and was talked into starting to play again. Through the railway, I fortuitously made the acquaintance of Philip Tordoff, MA (Cantab) FRCO at about the same time, and have been taking lessons from him ever since at Halifax Parish Church. I don't consider myself much of a player, as I haven't got the technique to tackle the major works of the repertoire. I really only play for my own amusement, plus the odd flower festival, and one nerve-wracking recital at HPC.

 

My musical tastes are pretty wide, covering the 15th to the 20th centuries, but I am somewhat lukewarm these days about the period from (say) 1730 to 1860.

 

I pay the mortgage by writing software.

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Had a few piano lessons when I was a kid, then blundered through my teens without any lessons, becoming fascinated by the organ from the age of about fifteen.  I played the organ a little at Cambridge (I read mathematics at Churchill College 1973-76), and spent a lot of time reading about the organ and listening to it.

 

I didn't play much after leaving university, but spent most of my spare time playing trains on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, becoming a director, the secretary and eventually the chairman of the organisation.

 

In 1999 I went to the St Albans festival and was talked into starting to play again.  Through the railway, I fortuitously made the acquaintance of Philip Tordoff, MA (Cantab) FRCO at about the same time, and have been taking lessons from him ever since at Halifax Parish Church.  I don't consider myself much of a player, as I haven't got the technique to tackle the major works of the repertoire.  I really only play for my own amusement, plus the odd flower festival, and one nerve-wracking recital at HPC.

 

My musical tastes are pretty wide, covering the 15th to the 20th centuries, but I am somewhat lukewarm these days about the period from (say) 1730 to 1860.

 

I pay the mortgage by writing software.

Stephen Farr, Organist/D of M of Guildford Cathedral since 1999. Formerly assistant at Winchester and Ch Ch Oxford, and before that Organ Scholar of Clare College Cambridge and a postgrad for a year or two after graduation (Bach's late style and edition of JSB's trasncriptions of Vivaldi Estro Armonico). I was going to give a website address, but some nice people called ncr builders seem to have taken up residence there today.

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Friedrich Sprondel. Grew up in a very Orgelbewegung environment, father a minister in a succession of north-German churches with organs by Paul Ott (Bremen, Hannover) and Flentrop (Osnabrück). Interested in everything organ-related since age 12. Learned to play the violin from an early age; piano and organ lessons in his teens. Studied Musicology in Freiburg (that's FreibUrg with a "u", no Silbermann there), where he continues to live, earning his living as a freelance musicologist, journalist, and musician (occasionally). Between 1997 and 2002 editor for the organ journal "Orgel International", during that time growing interest in the anglo-saxon organ world.

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I cannot imagine why anyone should want to know who I am, but for those of a curious disposition, I am Colin Mitchell, age 57, organist of St.Joseph's, Ingrow, Keighley in West Yorks.

 

A great disappointment to my parents, I was nevertheless a source of endless wonder to them, but as I constantly pointed out, this was hardly my fault, due to the fact that I was born two months premature and had to be initially nurtured by machinery.

 

My schooldays were an unmitigated disaster; though it has to be said that I excelled at Music, Art and Sprint Racing. Eventually making it quite clear that I had no wish to be bullied into learning anything, I made an unsuccessful bid to blow up the chemistry laboratory and fled the scene; never to return after the age of 15.

 

I was then to become the vicitim of child-slavery as an organ-builder; following which I miraculously ended up being a class-skilled engineer for reasons which completely escape me.

 

Eventually went to Hull University as a mature student of sorts, but was not happy about being press-ganged into an organ-scholarship. It seems that I had obvioulsy learned something on the way, including how to play an organ.

 

This was a fine time to discover that I had severe learning difficulties, which some bum academic or other decided was a case of "subliminal thinking" whatever THAT means. This is not, it seems, a good thing, but at least I can blame it on being premature.

 

The upshot of this affliction is having an extraordinary capacity to stare bleakly at at a vocal-score and yet fail to comprehend it until two weeks later, which is something of a handicap at choir rehearsals. It also means, that I practice things for a while, abandon them as a lost cause, and then find that I can play them 12 months later. Again, this is not a good thing.

 

Similarly, I cannot write music down without a keyboard as a visual prompt, which does present a problem in the exam room. On the other hand, I can instantly harmonise anything, which I am told is a good thing.

 

On the strength of this extraordinary musical incapacity, I managed to stagger through a music degree and, in a bizzare twist of fate, found myself appointed to a position of Assistant Organist and Keyboard Tutor at a choir-school, which I hated.

 

Then moving swiflty sideways into the world of Credit Management, I discovered my forte, and excelled; teaching myself a great deal about financial law and money.....about £600m per annum to be exact! I therefore enjoyed a wonderful lifestyle in London on the banks of the Thames close to the city, from which base I was sought after as a consultant "trouble shooter" to a number of blue-chip companies.

 

Eventually weary of flying to meetings, living out of a suitcase, journeying to far-flung places where they eat funny things, I decided upon semi-retirement.

 

A certain passion for transport and big machinery, meant that I could indulge a secret ambition, and I therefore took an LGV Class 1 licence. This was fun, and enabled me to combine my passion for motor-sport with a love of big trucks, and

I fairly briefly got involved with Formula 1.....flying to meetings, living out of a suitcase and journeying to far-flung places where they eat funny things.

 

Nowadays a little less adventurous, I drive a truck three nights a week, I have found time to write a huge 720-page novel, I am now working on a comedy and I indulge my passion for music and organ matters.

 

I remain a subliminal thinker, but I have decided that this may, after all, be a good thing.

 

I share my life with Marek, a 23 year-old Czech who re-invents the English language wonderfully, and described himself as "A daily person: not crazy English person who is much loving night"

 

He's possibly right, whatever it may mean!

 

:)

 

MM

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an excellent idea, Richard.

 

Karl Watson, here, from Staten Island, NY, USA. Educated at the Curtis Institute & in Paris w/ Marcel Dupre. I am 56. In some thirty-seven years, I've held non-conformist, Lutheran, Anglican & RC appointments. Every church has been a peach with not a single clergy stinker. I'm now the Music Director of St. Raymond Nonnatus RC in Parkchester, NY, a really lovely situation with a fine new three manual (four celestes, Tuba & 32' Reed) whose installation began last week. From my perspective "over here," I find many young pupils with superb technique but almost no players who can play a succesful service or Mass. Good legato seems to be in short supply, as well.

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Karl Watson, here, from Staten Island, NY, USA. ..........................  a really lovely situation with a fine new three manual (four celestes, Tuba & 32' Reed) whose installation began last week. 

 

This sounds interesting - who is building it please?

 

AJJ

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Ed Bowie, born in Dunfermline and educated at the University of Hull. I work as an office drone for the Civil Service in Victoria Street, SW1. A devoted attender of Westminster Cathedral's weekly recital but my favourite organ is that of York Minster and I try and attend Evensong there two or three times each term.

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This sounds interesting - who is building it please?

 

AJJ

Alastair:

 

Thank you for asking !

 

The builder is Burton Tidwell. There will be very complete Gt, Sw & Ped w/ a kind-of Ch cum Solo as the third manual (16,8,8,8,8,8,4,4,IV,16,8,8).

 

We are anticipating a good result. The acoustic is excellent, w/ good response across the scale. The open location on the West gallery really gives things a leg up.

 

The former job was a neo-classical werk-prinzip attempt by a distinctly second rate American builder. But - it came off much better than it should have because of its excellent position and the fine acoustic. One wonders what was on the incumbent's mind, installing a Lutheran organ in an RC church. Even the case design, very Backerath-like, w/ 16' towers and a Kronpositiv up at the top of the case just a few feet fr the vaulting, didn't fit the very Romanesque building - never in tune & useless as a third manual.

 

I saw the whole thing removed through my study window & good ridance.

 

Kept a very nice 4' Nachthorn. That's it.

 

If I'm not too mistaken, John Scott is experiencing something similar at St.Thomas Church. Over a hundred stops & one swell box. Madness.

 

Will keep you posted if you are interested.

 

Karl Watson

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Alastair:

 

Thank you for asking ! 

 

The builder is Burton Tidwell.  There will be very complete Gt, Sw & Ped w/ a kind-of Ch cum Solo as the third manual (16,8,8,8,8,8,4,4,IV,16,8,8).

 

We are anticipating a good result. The acoustic is excellent, w/ good response across the scale. The open location on the West gallery really gives things a leg up.

 

The former job was a neo-classical werk-prinzip attempt by a distinctly second rate American builder.  But - it came off much better than it should have because of its excellent position and the fine acoustic.  One wonders what was on the incumbent's mind, installing a Lutheran organ in an RC church.  Even the case design, very Backerath-like, w/ 16' towers and a Kronpositiv up at the top of the case just a few feet fr the vaulting, didn't fit the very Romanesque building - never in tune & useless as a third manual.

 

I saw the whole thing removed through my study window & good ridance.

 

Kept a very nice 4' Nachthorn.  That's it.

 

If I'm not too mistaken, John Scott is experiencing something similar at St.Thomas Church.  Over a hundred stops & one swell box.  Madness.

 

Will keep you posted if you are interested.

 

Karl Watson

 

Thanks

 

AJJ

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For this to work, can I ask that people post only once so things don't get side tracked!!

 

Thank you all replying! Very interesting reading! But I did ask if you post once so we can easily see whos who. If you want to ask someone a question could you send them a Private Message or start another thread?

 

Thank you.

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innate = Michael Haslam

 

Sang as a treble on RSCM Cathedral Courses in the early 1970s under Bertalot, Gerald Knight, Martin How. Read music at Christ Church, Oxford. Assistant organist at the Tower of London for a couple of years before concentrating on the piano and conducting for 20 years. Now "musician" at a North London church with musical responsibility for "family" services. Former member of Piano Circus and currently Assistant Musical Director of The Producers.

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for the curious...I'm Richard (Rick) Sheppard, 43 living just outside Tunbridge Wells. I'm married to a teacher and we have two boys and a second-hand labrador.

 

Attended the local free church, sang in the choir (graduating through all voice parts before departing) and was permitted virtually free access to the organ from age 11 (even had my own church key) and played for services ocassionally. Studied organ with Leonard Lazell, himself a former pupil of Harold Darke and Herbert Ellingford.

 

Attended the local Grammar School and was again allowed free access to the school organ (most lunchtimes if the hall was free). Repaid this debt by leaving at the first opportunity, having attained an apprenticeship with Hill Norman & Beard (1979-84...hello Frank!)

 

Since 1984 I have been working as a tuner/organ builder with Martin K Cross at Grays in Essex. I'm Director of Music at a nearby Anglican church with a small but loyal adult choir. For three years I directed the Tunbridge Wells Mixed Voice Choir (a forty voice organisation in those heady days) and have sung Bass with the Chancel Singers 1990-99 and agan from 2005. I gave just one public recital (at Tonbridge School Chapel on the Mander/Binns/HNB before the fire) and that was enough to scare me away from any thoughts of a career performing.

 

I enjoy dabbling in composition, (Responses, Mass Setting, Chants - that kind of thing) and have one published Christmas carol. Music typesetting is a further interest and another local composer/conductor tends to put his manuscripts under my nose for de-coding.

 

For pleasure I turn to the piano music of Francis Poulenc, the more astringent the better... it chases away the tensions of the day perfectly.

 

H

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Guest delvin146

Some interesting things on here, people putting their hand up and admitting to *uck*** up organs all over the SE!

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