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St. Mary's Bridgwater, Somerset


Guest delvin146
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Guest delvin146

A word to the wise....

 

this post is currently being advertised. 3 manual 1879 Father Willis, (last rebuilt by Percy Daniels 1960's electro-pneumatic with a "new" console. The organ is about what one might expect. Clarinet binned, nazard tierce etc on choir - the choir being a disappointly weak 1930's period Willis improvement which is barely useable. Trumpet revoiced I believe. Swell Oboe transposed down to 16' etc (Percy Daniels). Otherwise, I'd suggest a very average Fr. Willis.

 

It seems like a very attractive post, although the salary is not great.

 

Let's just say I discovered first-hand on a recent visit that they have a delightfully charming new vicar, and the excellent choral tradition it used to have when I was a choirboy there many years ago has now gone. The post has been advertised for some time now. Since the retirement of Geoff Bond in the late 1990's they have lost at least two very good organists since then in a relatively short space of time. They can't seem to fill it for some reason. Perhaps the Revd. Charles Chadwick is just too charming so he's had to resort to advertising in the Exeter diocese.

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I don't object personally, but I think its somewhat unecessary because when a job is repeatedly advertised over a short period of time, as this has been, organists quickly catch on to the fact that all is not as it should be.

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'I have no connections with this church or with anyone mentioned. Am I the only person on this forum who disagrees with the style and content of this posting?'

 

No, you aren't. If we wish to criticise, fair enough, but let's keep names out of it.

 

Regards to all

 

John

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Guest delvin146
I have no connections with this church or with anyone mentioned. Am I the only person on this forum who disagrees with the style andf content of this posting?

 

It seems to me that there are many organists about who have not been happy in their posts for whatever reason and when jobs are constantly re-advertised as nfortin says, there is obviously an issue going on. I cannot see why for the life of me why we have to be candid about things and water them down, I'm all for offering more explainations if they are available.

 

If there's something to say it might as well be said so all can benefit and decide for themselves. Isn't it curious in the organ world that organists are almost frightened to say what they think and for some reason feel they have to beat about the bush, the other side of the coin is that there are a good number who are frankly just dull and boring who ferret away from issues clutching their burgandy leather cases. I stick two fingers up to tact and diplomacy, if there's something to say just say it, preferably in a pleasant manner.

 

Actually, it'd be quite interesting to start a thread about different experiences and venues, so organists could actually weigh up the pros and cons of applying for post. Make no mistake, the clergy have their network, why shouldn't we. What's the point in having a discussion forum if people are scared of putting up things to discuss when it gets down to the bread and butter. I should perhaps add that I never had any intention of applying for that particular post.

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What's the point in having a discussion forum if people are scared of putting up things to discuss when it gets down to the bread and butter.

 

Trouble is, this is a public discussion forum that any member of the public can wander into, and it also (somehow) ranks so high up in the Google search ratings; thirdly, we are guests of Mr Mander who may, you never know, wish to quote for Bridgewater at some future date and may have to account for why he pays for internet space containing your defamatory comments. There are always the risks therefore that you could a) get yourself into hot water and expect a phone call from the vicar you have just slagged off and :lol: get thought of as a bit of a toss pot, really. It might be different on a "closed" list like Orgue-l.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
We all have to very careful what we put on these boards, as they are public.

R

 

 

 

This topic was obviously very well-intentioned, but the poster needn't have worried quite so much, I think.

 

Essentially, the pool of talent available for church posts is pretty thin already, this thins down a lot more when no such post these days offers a living wage and the church is pretty far from the centre of things. There might well be as few as 10 possible applicants who live anywhere near, bush telegraph will ensure that they get to hear if there is any sort of adverse history! The continuing appearance of certain posts in advertisements is usually a suspicious sign anyway to anyone out of area who has been looking for somewhere to go.

 

Anyone planning to relocate for a position is extremely unwise to do so (for any church, and of any churchmanship) without massive research which would probably include contacting the person currently in post! If said person is uncontactable or uncooperative this tells its story too. Obviously you don't have to believe everything you hear, but a picture sometimes begins to form.

 

I remember handing over a school post once to someone now famous.... first thing he did was to take me off the plot and buy me a drink. Wise man.

 

There is another point which is that however good or bad somewhere is now, this can all change in the blinking of an eye. We all know of places where it took years for a good choir to be established and days (maybe even minutes) for this to disappear. Similarly, a change of clergy-person can turn fortunes for both congregation and musicans around for the good. These stories are not so commonly spread around but I have heard them too.

 

One good test for whether a church is worth the effort of relocation is that of finding out whether the wardens and congregation actually know what sort of music they want - this is worth checking out as much as whether God's Local Representative has ever attended charm school.

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Guest Barry Williams
This topic was obviously very well-intentioned, but the poster needn't have worried quite so much, I think.

 

Essentially, the pool of talent available for church posts is pretty thin already, this thins down a lot more when no such post these days offers a living wage and the church is pretty far from the centre of things. There might well be as few as 10 possible applicants who live anywhere near, bush telegraph will ensure that they get to hear if there is any sort of adverse history!  The continuing appearance of certain posts in advertisements is usually a suspicious sign anyway to anyone out of area who has been looking for somewhere to go.

 

Anyone planning to relocate for a position is extremely unwise to do so (for any church, and of any churchmanship) without massive research which would probably include contacting the person currently in post!  If said person is uncontactable or uncooperative this tells its story too. Obviously you don't have to believe everything you hear, but a picture sometimes begins to form. 

 

I remember handing over a school post once to someone now famous.... first thing he did was to take me off the plot and buy me a drink. Wise man.

 

There is another point which is that however good or bad somewhere is now, this can all change in the blinking of an eye. We all know of places where it took years for a good choir to be established and days (maybe even minutes) for this to disappear. Similarly, a change of clergy-person can turn fortunes for both congregation and musicans around for the good. These stories are not so commonly spread around but I have heard them too.

 

One good test for whether a church is worth the effort of relocation is that of finding out whether the wardens and congregation actually know what sort of music they want - this is worth checking out as much as whether God's Local Representative has ever attended charm school.

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Guest Barry Williams
A word to the wise....

 

this post is currently being advertised. 3 manual 1879 Father Willis, (last rebuilt by Percy Daniels 1960's electro-pneumatic with a "new" console. The organ is about what one might expect. Clarinet binned, nazard tierce etc on choir - the choir being a disappointly weak 1930's period Willis improvement which is barely useable. Trumpet revoiced I believe. Swell Oboe transposed down to 16' etc (Percy Daniels). Otherwise, I'd suggest a very average Fr. Willis.

 

It seems like a very attractive post, although the salary is not great.

 

Let's just say I discovered first-hand on a recent visit that they have a delightfully charming new vicar, and the excellent choral tradition it used to have when I was a choirboy there many years ago has now gone. The post has been advertised for some time now. Since the retirement of Geoff Bond in the late 1990's they have lost at least two very good organists since then in a relatively short space of time. They can't seem to fill it for some reason. Perhaps the Revd. Charles Chadwick is just too charming so he's had to resort to advertising in the Exeter diocese.

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Guest Barry Williams

Without reference to Bridgewater and in general terms only:

 

There is no real shortage of organists, merely a shortage of organists who are prepared to play what many churches want these days. Certain jobs have many well qualified applicants.

 

When considering a post organists should ask a number of basic questions. These are too numerous to detail here, but are referred to on page 48 of Everything Else an Organist Should Know. The questions have been formulated from years of experience in advising organists about vacancies.

 

There is much unhappiness in church music which is really very sad, for many devoted and loyal organists give of their time and talents to help churches in divine worship.

 

It is a great pity to read of cases where an incoming incumbent disposes of the services of an organist and choir. The parish rarely recovers, though often the discontent has nothing to do with music.

 

Nevertheless, certain hymn/chorus books and styles of worship do seem to give rise to disproportionate discontent amongst organists.

 

 

 

Barry Williams

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