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D Quentin Bellamy

Royal College Of Organists

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And also,  David Saint still hasn't given me as an adult, amateur organist, a reason to join. Maybe there isn't one - maybe the RCO is, and should be, mainly concerned with professionals.

Paul Hodgetts

 

As a professional teacher with graduate and postgraduate Music and Education qualifications (and as part of my job required to continue with professional development) who has been involved with church music for more years than I can remember (latterly as organist within a group of country parishes) I tend to agree with the above! I also have no axe to grind - not being a RCO member - one of the possible 20,000 mentioned above but if I felt it would do me (yes this is important and not just selfish as DS seems to suggest) and therefore my parish work any good I would probably consider joining. It sounds however as if some of those runing the RCO might genuinely be trying to turn things around - lets hope they succeed but maybe a little listening to those out and about might not go amiss in the process.

 

AJJ

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Ladies and gentlemen

 

It was suggested to me that, as a trustee of the RCO, I should read this forum and, having done so, let me add a few thoughts.

First of all, it is no secret that the RCO no longer operates from bespoke premises. I refer members to the Presidential Address given by Peter Wright at the conferment last March, subsequently printed in the May RCO News, in which he says that the decision had been taken “to move out of Millenium Point within the next few months” because maintaining an office had become “the chief drain on our resources”. Those who worked in that office did not consider it to provide any material advantage for the delivery of services to members and the premises were vacated on June 30th.

 

Of course physical headquarters would be ‘reassuring’, but the RCO is not about buildings. Buildings are expensive, and in these days of health-and-safety and disability legislation they require a complex staffing infrastructure before the front door can even be opened. It is also worth bearing in mind that maintaining a building reduces the potential for work in other places for obvious reasons.

 

So, like the IAO, AGO, GCM and countless other charities, the RCO does not have a front door. Maintaining a building has never been one of the objectives of the RCO’s Charter and in no way does the absence of one hamper its work as a body of colleagues. In fact, this has proved to be a remarkable effective way of working.

 

The corollary of all this is that the RCO is now run by a small team of dedicated people who give much more than their contract requires and who do so from their homes. I am extremely grateful to paul@trinity for making the point that these people are not responsible for where the College currently is; rather, they are the ones who are working their socks off to secure its future by making it a relevant and responsive body. However, his words have had but scant acknowledgement.

Whilst the debate contains some genuinely thoughtful views, there are also postings which question the location of office space (someone’s home) and suggest violence. No doubt tongue-in-cheek, but actually rather personal in the context and in my view sufficient to warrant the closure of this forum and referring this to the police.

I hope we all share the mutual aim of strengthening both the College and the overall community of organists for the future. If so, please (i) give the RCO a break and allow it to move forward, (ii) think beyond what it “is offering to me” just now and remember it is a charity not a club and (iii) stand as candidates in the next governance election.

 

Or resign.

 

David Saint

RCO Trustee

 

========================

 

 

I very much doubt that Mr Saint would be able to provide evidence to the police of "incitement to violence."

 

My reference was to a style of letter which, frankly, was so ill-mannered, it wouldn't even scrape through a basic business-studies class.

 

As someone who has worked in finance, I recognise the warning-signs when I see them, and forgive me if I am wrong (or prove otherwise), but all I see (as a complete outsider) is a failing organisation which has spent too much, dreamed too much and now protests too much. There has clearly never been a viable business-plan and everything....and I mean everything....that the RCO announced for the future, is now absolutely on the rocks.

 

That, I'm afraid, in anyone's language, is abject failure resulting from financial incompetence.

 

Now if the RCO is a charity, then it must be open to public scrutiny, and so rather than inciting violence, perhaps I could really slug the RCO where it hurts, and DEMAND to know what state the finances are in, where the money has been spent, and what happened to the tax-payer's money?

 

MM

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Of course physical headquarters would be ‘reassuring’, but the RCO is not about buildings. Buildings are expensive, and in these days of health-and-safety and disability legislation they require a complex staffing infrastructure before the front door can even be opened. It is also worth bearing in mind that maintaining a building reduces the potential for work in other places for obvious reasons.

 

Queueing for a prom concert this summer I gazed across the road at the Royal College of Organists which looks very smart these days. But there are no organists in it.....

Until last year or so, the RCO told us the big idea was in fact a building and, yes, an organ. This would enable the RCO to fulfil its potential and give it a base and an instrument. Now suddenly the RCO is not about buildings. How much money has been wasted and what do the members get for their subs?

I like driving so I joined the AA, they send you plenty of colour leaflets, offer reduced insurance and FOR LESS THAN THAN THE RCO SUB they'll even rescue you in a breakdown and fix your car!

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Ladies and gentlemen

 

It was suggested to me that, as a trustee of the RCO, I should read this forum and, having done so, let me add a few thoughts.

 

>>SNIP<<

 

I hope we all share the mutual aim of strengthening both the College and the overall community of organists for the future. If so, please (i) give the RCO a break and allow it to move forward, (ii) think beyond what it “is offering to me” just now and remember it is a charity not a club and (iii) stand as candidates in the next governance election.

 

Or resign.

 

David Saint

RCO Trustee

 

As it was me who started this thread, I have to say that I am extremely shocked at this message from an RCO Trustee. It seems that just about everything that has been said on this thread has been confirmed.

 

When (to my amazement) I read that violence had been threatened, I looked through the whole thread to see what could possibly be interpreted in that manner. The only thing I saw was a comment which referred to a possible (hypothetical) reaction to the RCO's incredibly rude subscription demands. I did not appreciate the veiled threat of closing this thread - and mention of the police was plainly ridiculous.

 

The time is long overdue for a total PR overhaul at the RCO. Correspondence is tremendously important in any organisation. My own experience of a letter from Simon Lindley (as President) invoked my annoyance and disgust rather than my desire to support this snooty "charity". I hope that from people's comments on this thread that Mr Saint has made a note of this fact. Oh and another thing: we are to think beyond "what it is offering to me". But what is the point of belonging to any organisation if there is nothing in it for me??? That argument can never justify the fact that there is nothing in the RCO for the great majority of its members past and present. That's what we've been saying all along!

 

Once very well respected, the RCO now appears plain and simply too big for its own boots, perhaps living on past glories. Who knows, once the word of this (what I assume to be an) official response gets out, the resignations may come in thick and fast. And then what will they have? No subscriptions, that's for darned sure!

 

By the by, I understand that Burnham no longer recognises the FRCO diploma as being of Graduate status.

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I hope we all share the mutual aim of strengthening both the College and the overall community of organists for the future. If so, please (i) give the RCO a break and allow it to move forward, (ii) think beyond what it “is offering to me” just now and remember it is a charity not a club and (iii) stand as candidates in the next governance election.

 

Or resign.

 

David Saint

RCO Trustee

Dear Mr. Saint,

 

Sadly your words afford me little comfort.

 

It is perhaps time that the RCO recognises that, whilst it may be a registered charity, its members are not. I find your second point rather insulting - I have not received anything of benefit from the RCO for well over ten years, save for editions of RCO News. In such capacity, I have been giving 'the RCO a break' for more than a decade. Therefore, I find it difficult to justify the high cost of membership.

 

As others have written, your reply seems indicative of the somewhat cavalier attitude of those officers who have been in charge of the day-to-day business of the college. Whilst I accept that there are now a small number of people who may be working hard to try to further the work of the college, we all work hard. I work in excess of seventy hours per week - not all of it is remunerated. I regularly carry-out extra work without seeking to be paid simply because (i) it has to be done and (ii) it will be for the greater good of the establishment for which I work.

 

Whatever may be the case now, your post does nothing to address the fact that there appear to have been a number of unfortunate events which have befallen the college. It seems a pity that no-one was able to forsee any difficulties before a crisis developed. I think that there are a number of members who are concerned that money has been lost, partly through the moves to new premises which the college has made. Whilst I accept that a physical building is not strictly necessary in order to conduct its business, nevertheless it does seem unfortunate that this decision was not taken rather earlier. It would, of course, still be necessary to hire buildings in which to conduct the examinations. Whilst this would be likely to prove less costly than paying for a permanent building, it will probably still involve considerable financial outlay. It is also likely that it will involve rather more administration and organisation than would be the case if the college did have its own premises.

 

Mr. Saint, if you return to read these posts written subsequent to your earlier broadside, you will no doubt realise that there is a strong feeling amongst members here that apparently there has been ineptitude on some scale.

 

Whilst you have made it clear that you are not part of the problem but rather, part of the solution, I fear that for the minds of many here, any attempt to alleviate the perceived problems and failings may come too little - and too late.

 

Sean R. Tucker,

Sub Organist, The Minster Church of Saint Cuthburga in Wimborne

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David Saint's posting I found particularly helpful - insofar as it has galvanised my view that I was not going to throw away £68 this year.

 

Quite frankly, this forum and others like it have provided more enlightenment, greater amusement and more general enjoyment than I have gleaned from five years' membership of the RCO.

 

As an academic body, its awards are to be respected but for those who have neither the inclination nor the time to work towards these, the fringe benefits of finding out what is going on where and by whom may be sought elsewhere.

 

I rather suspect that the RCO (like the Organists's Review in current guise) has become rudderless and that its' best days are probably behind it.

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Well Mr Saint I left the RCO ten years ago after trying to return some library books I had borrowed. The secretary on the desk at Holborn was so rude, insisting I was not allowed to use the library and did not have permissions and was not a member. I can still hear her bellowing "Are you a member" and "the library is not open just to suit you" down the phone....

Mad, bad and dangerous to know as I was at the time, I left the office and went down the damp moss covered stairs in the churchyard into the dark hole that was the entrance to the library. The door opened and there was Robin Langley who welcomed me inside. "Not many people come down here" he said " Your'e the first one this week" I told him that was hardly surprising as the lady upstairs tells everyone it's closed.

Shortly after. I failed to renew my membership and joined the Assosiation of Teachers and Lecturers instead. I was suprised to find that the ATL offerred various perks for less than the RCO subscription including free expert legal advice at the end of the phone and free legal representation in any professional disputes.

 

The RCO could offer so much more to it's members than the odd newsheet. Is it not time to reorganise and become like the American Guild of Organists ? Offer support to members and be the substantial voice representing musicians in church by investigating disputes and providing a national database that offers a picture of the state of the organists art in this country. The College could have regional contacts and disseminate information of interest to musicians. It could unite with the other bodies and gain strength of purpose.

The RCO needs to begin to listen to its members and engage with them in a meaningful way.

Oh and by the way, does anyone enjoy taking exams on 3rd January ? Why not March, June and November like the Ass'd Board?

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It is perhaps time that the RCO recognises that, whilst it may be a registered charity, its members are not. I find your second point above deeply insulting - I have not received anything of benefit from the RCO for well over ten years, save for editions of RCO News. It is difficult to justify the high cost of membership.

 

As others have written, your reply seems indicative of the somewaht cavalier attitude of those officers who have been in charge of the day-to-day business of the college.

 

Whilst I accept that there are a small number of people who may be working hard to try to further the work of the college, we all work hard. I work in excess of seventy hours per week - not all of it is remunerated. I regularly carry-out extra work without seeking to be paid simply because (i) it has to be done and (ii) it will be for the greater good of the establishment for which I work.

 

Whatever may be the case now, your post does nothing to address the fact that there appear to have been a number of unfortunate events which have befallen the college. It seems a pity that no-one was able to forsee any difficulties before a crisis developed. I think that there are a number of members who are concerned that money has been lost, partly through the moves to new premises which the college has made. Whilst I accept that a physical building is not strictly necessary in order to conduct its business, nevertheless it does seem unfortunate that this decision was not taken rather earlier. It would, of course, still be necessary to hire buildings in which to conduct the examinations. Whilst this would be likely to prove less costly than paying for a permanent building, it will probably still involve considerable cost. It is also likely that it will involve rather more administration and organisation than would be the case if  the college did have its own premises.

 

Mr. Saint, if you return to read these posts written subsequent to your earlier broadside, you will no doubt realise that there is a strong feeling amongst members here that there apparently has been ineptitude on some scale.

 

Whilst you have made it clear that you are not part of the problem but rather, part of the solution, I fear that for the minds of many here, any attempt to alleviate the perceved problems and failings may come too little - and too late.

 

[/i]

 

===================

 

 

I would endorse much of what "pcnd" has stated, and perhaps also reassure David Saint that in past discussions concerning the RCO, there has been overall support for the college, its history and its aims. Indeed, many members, associates, fellows and "non-anythings" (like myself) on this discussion board, have taken the trouble to make many positive suggestions about the possible way forward for the RCO.

 

Firstly however, a legal point about the position of the RCO, which as a charity, should be open to public scrutiny and MUST be a lot more transparent than it is at the present time. In fact, were I, or anyone else to prosecute the case, I think it could be successfully argued that the RCO has been behaving in a way which is not in the best interests of those whom it seeks to serve, and therefore hardly in the public interest. That is critically important to charitable status, and whilst no-one is going to make a formal complaint, my words should be seen as a warning-shot, because someone, somewhere, could get quite nasty about it should they so wish.

 

Harsh observations and death-threats apart, it seems that the recent past history of the RCO has been less than successful, and I would suggest that those who have an eye for these things, know instinctively that there has been considerable mishandling of the finances and project management.

 

If anyone seeks to be part of the solution to the RCO's ills, then perhaps a possible way forward is to invite others to contribute what they can in terms of knowledge, management skills and academic oversight. I would suggest that the "ivory tower" approach of a "closed club" huddling around a crystal-ball, is not really the best way forward.

 

On this board, various suggestions have been aired concerning the future constitution of the RCO, which still has academic clout, even in an indifferent world. I think one of my proposals was to link the RCO to another organisation (which shouldn't be a university, in my view) and to make use of that affiliation in to the mutual advantage of each.

 

No doubt it would require a certain humility to work with the Royal Colleges of Music (as an example), and would certainly deny the RCO a free hand to do as it wills, but with that sort of link, it could become a wonderfully pro-active organisation at the cutting edge of British music-making and attainment.

 

This is only one possible way forward, but it would certainly be a massive improvement on the roving-suitcase scenario, and would enable to RCO to retain credibility at a time when it seems to have very little.

 

I'm afraid that the idea of a fully paid staff, working independently of the rest of the known world, are probably a drain on the financial resources of a college which can ill-afford it at the present time, and especially in the situation of an increasingly slender "organ-market".

 

It would be a pity if the once great and proud RCO should simply fizzle away without so much as a final blast on the Bombardes, but in my view, even without knowing the exact state of the RCO finances, I feel that this will almost certainly happen if the assets have declined, and membership income is falling.

 

There are only two ways for an organisation to survive financially, and the least effective is "cost reduction." Increasing revenue is the best way, and the best way of increasing revenue is to generate interest and enthusiasm.

 

I wonder, does anyone at the RCO retain "enthusiasm" for the instrument, or are they simply living in a crumbling academic stately-home?

 

It COULD be very different!

 

MM

 

I think

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Guest Lee Blick

I was very disappointed by Mr Saint's comments. If these remarks are truly his own then I am not surprised the the RCO is in the position it is. :)

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I was very disappointed by Mr Saint's comments.  If these remarks are truly his own then I am not surprised the the RCO is in the position it is.  :)

 

 

 

 

I thoroughly endorse Lee's sentiments.

 

I was once an RCO member but after two years of receiving nothing but a few boring newsletters, I didn't bother renewing the membership sub. One doesn't need to have an RCO diploma to be good at the job. - During the course of my career, I have seen far too many RCO diploma holders who play reasonably well as far as voluntaries are concerned but haven't the slightest idea when it comes to service accompaniment. It is an outdated organisation. I also endorse a comment made earlier in this thread about the need for a new organisation. I would add however, that the RCO is not the only outdated organisation (with an organ / church music flavour) that I can think of!

 

Neil

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Guest Lee Blick

Well maybe it is time for a new organisation, one that is formed by organists at grassroots level who want services, advice, programmes and projects that they need?

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Oh dear! What a tangled mess. I have thought long and hard today about all these posts, and now read many more. I have penned 5 replies but erased them all. Such a difficult topic and not an instant panacea in sight. But my gut reaction is that the Royal College of Organists is almost entirely made up of professional musicians whilst the majority of its members are not earning a living from playing the instrument. The last post suggesting 'grass roots' reminds me of systems used by other countries. They operate like a Union and represent the members. They strive to get proper recognition and working conditions for their flock. It offers a national network no matter how isolated. Membership is paid by the churches not the organist. All organs and parochial details are published (even the very lowliest country churches and organs). Concert details too. For the professional players all details are re-published about every 7 years. Examinations are taken in music colleges and all work to the same standard/qualification without producing their own. (To me the UK seem more interested in Robes and Hoods sometimes. What on earth are the presidential robes and description doing on the RCO website?) The C of E in particular has bred a dressing-up society which I think the RCO in the past has somewhat fueled. (Note picture of hoods but not people's faces in a major photograph on the Web site). For a start, I suggest that academic attire be used only for non-liturgical moments. Yep - dress up for the Carols by all means. But for the Offices, be a musican and not a manakin/mannequin. What is the point? Hoods are not used in teaching establishments on an everyday basis. Why do organists have to?

This situation with the College is not going to be resolved overnight. I am sure that the new and bold blood that have found their way into the College Council and other lists will endeavour all they can to turn things the right way round. I hope that they can, for much good should be being done. But bold forthright spirit needs to be dispensed on all sides.

Just in case any think I take sides, I am not a member of the RCO. My membership was withdrawn by them some decades ago. But as new brooms have come and gone since then I have always been around to help give the odd (sic) lecture recital. But if I am honest about it, I feel that it has vanished into the ether and only with us via the Internet. For one, I have to hunt the RCO down. I teach at two Universities. I run courses that are internationally publicized. Addresses are always proclaimed. I receive brochures, flyers and letters in the post from a multitude of institutions because of it. Nothing in 20 years has come at any time from the RCO. In fact (as a previous post doth testify) I wanted to actually find where the college was to contact it.

This topic will provide me with much thought. But, as eggs are eggs, nothing can be done without the 3 F's - Faith, Fortitude & Finance.

In hope & with hope.

All the best,

Nigel

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I am extremely grateful to paul@trinity for making the point that these people are not responsible for where the College currently is; rather, they are the ones who are working their socks off to secure its future by making it a relevant and responsive body... please (i) give the RCO a break and allow it to move forward, (ii) think beyond what it “is offering to me” just now and remember it is a charity not a club and (iii) stand as candidates in the next governance election.

 

I really don't know what to think!

 

On the one hand, at my late age with unsuccessful university career I'm unlikely to make it onto anyone's shortlist without an RCO diploma or two.

 

On the other hand, that's about the only reason I can think of FOR joining. That makes it seem awfully like a club to me.

 

I would have thought the most basic premise of a charity is that it collects voluntary contributions and distributes them to a worthy cause.

 

Some indication of just where "forward" is would be helpful, as I currently begrudge the large amount of money I am about to have to spend (which I don't really have to spare), particularly when 99% of people I have discussed this with have told me I'll probably fail by one mark the first time so I can get to pay a second lot of money. I wonder how much truth there is in that?

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I really don't know what to think!

 

On the one hand, at my late age with unsuccessful university career I'm unlikely to make it onto anyone's shortlist without an RCO diploma or two.

 

On the other hand, that's about the only reason I can think of FOR joining.  That makes it seem awfully like a club to me. 

 

I would have thought the most basic premise of a charity is that it collects voluntary contributions and distributes them to a worthy cause. 

 

Some indication of just where "forward" is would be helpful, as I currently begrudge the large amount of money I am about to have to spend (which I don't really have to spare), particularly when 99% of people I have discussed this with have told me I'll probably fail by one mark the first time so I can get to pay a second lot of money.  I wonder how much truth there is in that?

 

 

David - save your money.

 

Seriously.

 

There are still no guarantees.

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I really don't know what to think!

 

On the one hand, at my late age with unsuccessful university career I'm unlikely to make it onto anyone's shortlist without an RCO diploma or two.

 

On the other hand, that's about the only reason I can think of FOR joining.  That makes it seem awfully like a club to me. 

 

I would have thought the most basic premise of a charity is that it collects voluntary contributions and distributes them to a worthy cause. 

 

Some indication of just where "forward" is would be helpful, as I currently begrudge the large amount of money I am about to have to spend (which I don't really have to spare), particularly when 99% of people I have discussed this with have told me I'll probably fail by one mark the first time so I can get to pay a second lot of money.  I wonder how much truth there is in that?

 

 

Dear David,

I don't want to influence you in any way at all.... but you needn't take these diplomas you know. I've been reading some of the most impressive small print contained in the booklet that came with GRAND CHORUS the new double CD of RAM students (plus Professor Titterington and William McVicker) playing organs in South London.

 

The piece that interests me runs (verbatim) as follows:

 

(Title) Organ Studies at the Royal Academy of Music

 

(I have edited out 40+ lines of text here describing the glories and achievements of past students and the glories of Academy facilities) Finally we arrive at our target:

Head of Organ Studies

David Titterington MA Hon ARAM Hon D Mus Hon FRCO

 

Professors of Organ

Nicholas Kynaston Hon FRCO

Susan Landale BMus Hon FRCO

Lionel Rogg Hon DMus Hon FRCO

Patrick Russill MA Hon RAM Hon FRCO

 

Moral 1: Keep practising! Once you are good enough, you don't need to join the RCO or even attempt some of the examinations, they will give you the qualification anyway. Incidentally, as a famous player, you stand a fair chance of picking up a doctorate (without doing much for it) somewhere as well!

 

Moral 2: If you are not a good musician prepared to dedicate a certain amount of time to maintaining your skills, it won't matter a bean if you have fancy letters after your name or not.

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Dear David,

I don't weant to influence you in any way at all.... but you needn't take these diplomas you know.  I've been reading some of the most impressive small print  contained in the booklet that came with GRAND CHORUS the new double CD of RAM students (plus Professor Titterington and William McVicker) playing organs in South London.

 

The piece that interests me runs (verbatim) as follows:

 

(Title) Organ Studies at the Royal Academy of Music

 

(I have edited out 40+ lines of text here describing the glories and achievements of past students and the glories of Academy facilities)  Finally we arrive at our target:

Head of Organ Studies

David Titterington MA Hon ARAM Hon D Mus Hon FRCO

 

Professors of Organ

Nicholas Kynaston Hon FRCO

Susan Landale BMus Hon FRCO

Lionel Rogg Hon DMus Hon FRCO

Patrick Russill MA Hon RAM Hon FRCO

 

Moral 1: Keep practising! Once you are good enough, you don't need to join the RCO or even attempt some of the examinations, they will give you the qualification anyway. Incidentally, as a famous player, you stand a fair chance of picking up a doctorate (without doing much for it) somewhere as well!

 

Moral 2: If you are not a good musician prepared to dedicate a certain amount of time to maintaining your skills, it won't matter a bean if you have fancy letters after your name or not.

 

 

An excellent post, Paul!

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Guest Lee Blick
Dear David,

I don't weant to influence you in any way at all.... but you needn't take these diplomas you know.  I've been reading some of the most impressive small print  contained in the booklet that came with GRAND CHORUS the new double CD of RAM students (plus Professor Titterington and William McVicker) playing organs in South London.

 

The piece that interests me runs (verbatim) as follows:

 

(Title) Organ Studies at the Royal Academy of Music

 

(I have edited out 40+ lines of text here describing the glories and achievements of past students and the glories of Academy facilities)  Finally we arrive at our target:

Head of Organ Studies

David Titterington MA Hon ARAM Hon D Mus Hon FRCO

 

Professors of Organ

Nicholas Kynaston Hon FRCO

Susan Landale BMus Hon FRCO

Lionel Rogg Hon DMus Hon FRCO

Patrick Russill MA Hon RAM Hon FRCO

 

Moral 1: Keep practising! Once you are good enough, you don't need to join the RCO or even attempt some of the examinations, they will give you the qualification anyway. Incidentally, as a famous player, you stand a fair chance of picking up a doctorate (without doing much for it) somewhere as well!

 

Moral 2: If you are not a good musician prepared to dedicate a certain amount of time to maintaining your skills, it won't matter a bean if you have fancy letters after your name or not.

 

:o

 

If I got to be on Big Brother, may I have an Hon FRCO :)

 

Incidently, I think the RCO does play a useful role in it's examination system, but for the thousands of parish organists it is probably rather remote as an organisation. I do find it somewhat insulting to told to look further than "what's in it for me". As a charitable organisation rather than as a private enterprise, should the RCO be looking to involving people rather than existing just as 'club'.

 

Personally I think it all started to go wrong when they left their premises in Kensington Gore, at least it had a clear identity.

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I do find it somewhat insulting to told to look further than "what's in it for me".

Yes. It sounds seriously akin to that hoary old excuse given for organists' remunerations: "But as a Christian you shouldn't be concerned with money: you should offer your skills to God freely, out of love." Yes, mate, and if you followed your own advice, you wouldn't be concerned about the money either and so would pay me what I'm worth. What a load of rowlocks. :)

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Yeah, save your money, just order an FRCO online - there must be one of those "leading American Universities" out there that'll sell you an FRCO... Perhaps one of these - http://www.cynicalbastards.com/ubs/edegree.html

 

 

Dear ajt,

Many thanks for this link to UBS - I haven't laughed so much for quite a while!

 

P.

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Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Thanks to Paul for his illuminating post highlighting a publication from the Royal Academy of Music. It reminded me of a glorious story circulating at the RSCM when I went there in the last century. Here it is (to add light relief to the tradegy unfolding under this topic heading).

 

Scenario: A meeting under a vast spreading cedar tree on the lawn of Addington Palace during an RSCM garden party with academic dress as de rigeur.

 

Dr Gerald Knight - the Director and known for his extraordinary hauteur at times - was wearing his spectactular full new doctorial robes, having recently been given the degree. Dr Derek Holman was the Warden and wore a not too haute couteur version of his (I think) Durham D.Mus. There was no love lost between them, I am told.

 

The Director approaches the Warden and fingers the ragged display of academia "Artificial Silk, Dr Holman?"

Fingering the Director, he replies "Artificial Doctorate?"

 

Best wishes for a good week,

Nigel

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
Thanks to Paul for his illuminating post highlighting a publication from the Royal Academy of Music. It reminded me of a glorious story circulating at the RSCM when I went there in the last century. Here it is (to add light relief to the tradegy unfolding under this topic heading).

 

Scenario: A meeting under a vast spreading cedar tree on the lawn of Addington Palace during an RSCM garden party with academic dress as de rigeur.

 

Dr Gerald Knight - the Director and known for his extraordinary hauteur at times - was wearing his spectactular full new doctorial robes, having recently been given the degree. Dr Derek Holman was the Warden and wore a not too haute couteur version of his (I think) Durham D.Mus. There was no love lost between them, I am told.

 

The Director approaches the Warden and fingers the ragged display of academia "Artificial Silk, Dr Holman?"

Fingering the Director, he replies "Artificial Doctorate?"

 

Best wishes,

Nigel

 

I can't top that story, but here is a little something along similar lines:

At the age of nine I was thrown out of the choir of New College Oxford by Dr.(later Sir) David Lumsden in the middle of a recording session. Many years later, when he became El Presidente of the Republic of Kensington Gore he was obliged to present me with my FRCO. This was all the sweeter because I knew that his FRCO was honorary and I had earned mine!

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Dear David,

I don't want to influence you in any way at all.... but you needn't take these diplomas you know. 

 

When a cathedral recently came up in Church Times, I rang the D of M and asked how the land lay. The response I received was "put in an application by all means, but without at least an ARCO I can tell you you almost certainly won't make it onto the shortlist." And that, I fear, is always going to be the problem - I'm reasonably confident of what I could do at interview - it's just getting one...

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When a cathedral recently came up in Church Times, I rang the D of M and asked how the land lay.  The response I received was "put in an application by all means, but without at least an ARCO I can tell you you almost certainly won't make it onto the shortlist."  And that, I fear, is always going to be the problem - I'm reasonably confident of what I could do at interview - it's just getting one...

 

Yes, I had a conversation with a cathedral DoM last week, and said something along the lines of "would a late twenties organist without a premium Oxbridge organ scholarship and an A/FRCO get a look in". The answer was that the CV would almost certainly get tossed out.

 

Sadly, an xRCO is still a requirement to get a look in for a real job. Once you have the reputation, that's another matter. I'm not sure if this is generally true, but my experience of cathedral organists is that they know everybody in their circuit well, but outside the circuit, their knowledge of "lesser organists" is limited.

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