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D Quentin Bellamy

Royal College Of Organists

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Has it ever been known for cathedral organists to pursue a well-paying job simulatneous to their cathedral post, or indeed for anyone to give up such a job to be a cathedal organist i wonder?

 

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

 

I suppose the nearest I can think of would be Barry Rose, who worked for the old Rank Organisation before going to Guildford as (if I recall correctly) the youngest Cathedral Organist of his day.

 

I heard tell of one Oxbridge organ-scholar/cathedral assistant, who gave up everything and worked in finance in the City of london.

 

As far as cinema-organ playing goes, then there are a few lesser known names who had both cathedral connections and cinema appointments; the most respected being Quentin Maclean of course. However, Osborne Peasgood, while at the Abbey, played at a cinema in Acton. Norman Cocker has been mentioned of course, but there was also Charles Saxby, whom I believe to have been O & C at Bridlington Priory, who also played at the Paramount Cinema, Leeds.

 

Then there is another chap who was once an assistant at some noble pile or other, and was connected with the choir school, but apparently he is very difficult to track down due to the fact that he drives a truck. B)

 

 

 

MM

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As far as cinema-organ playing goes, then there are a few lesser known names who had both cathedral connections and cinema appointments; the most respected being Quentin Maclean of course. However, Osborne Peasgood, while at the Abbey, played at  a cinema in Acton. Norman Cocker has been mentioned of course, but there was also Charles Saxby, whom I believe to have been O & C at Bridlington Priory, who also played at the Paramount Cinema, Leeds.

 

G.T. (George) Pattman who was at St. Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow between 1904 and 1916 left to tour concert and music halls with a large transportable pipe organ (built by Harrisons I think) before settling into regular cinema employment in the London area. He returned to church work in the 1940s.

 

Also, I have a feeling that Fredric Bayco was at Holy Trinity, Paddington after his cinema career. He was also working for the BBC as a radio music producer, so perhaps he doesn't count. He broadcast wearing both hats, but his appearances at the BBC theatre organ were under the name Peter Keane.

 

I don't think Quentin Maclean ever held a high profile church post in this country, although after the war he was O & C at an important Roman Catholic church in Toronto until his death in 1962. He's a good example for this thread though, because - having studied under Reger amongst others, and being highly sought after as a recitalist in churches, cathedrals and concert halls, he never felt the need to take the FRCO diploma, which he presumably felt would have been superfluous to his impressive CV. As if to prove that he could have got it, he was once selected by the RCO to give a recital of the year's examination pieces to the entrants prior to the Fellowship examinations. Although I don't suppose it would have bothered him (he was reputed to be a very modest and shy man) it's a pity they didn't see fit to endow him with an honourary FRCO. Although on reflection it may have done his reputation no good, it might have shut up the lobby who continue today to protest that he was inferior to the also very popular Reginald Foort simply on the grounds that Foort held an FRCO.

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Then there is another chap who was once an assistant at some noble pile or other, and was connected with the choir school, but apparently he is very difficult to track down due to the fact that he drives a truck.  B)

MM

 

So which noble pile formerly employed you, mm?

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Before this thread is hi-jacked by Sentamu's drums .... :P

 

Having considered the difficulties that the venerable old institution has undergone in recent years, it would be a tremendous calamity if one day there was no RCO. I sincerely hope that the less threatening comments  B) in this thread will be noted and that a change in fortunes will take place.  ... If the RCO has no physical HQ, and if that is not now perceived to be what the organisation is about in any case, then why not go for local centres and encourage a whole new generation of musicians to strive for the excellence which is/was an RCO diploma? I am positive that a move such as this would be a public relations triumph. B)

 

Mander Organs has received a written complaint from the highest level of the RCO about this thread. John Mander is overseas at the moment so, for the time being and until he can instruct us further, I have had to delete one post by MusingMuso (whom I have also e-mailed, to explain why).

 

I'd be grateful if everyone could try to remain on the side of the angels - ie on the side of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, moderation, constructiveness - certainly, threats of violence (facetious or not) are out of place on a forum like this.

 

Many thanks.

Rachel Mawhood

Webmaster, Mander Organs

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So which noble pile formerly employed you, mm?

 

 

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

 

Paul O'Grady as "Lily Savage" (note the epualettes) said it was the worst town in England, and I agree with him/her.

 

MM

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My son is a student member of the RCO, and proud of it.

 

Earlier this year he did a one day workshop that they organized in Oxford. I didn't count but I guess there were about 40 kids aged 11 to 18, split into various ability groups. They all got to play the GDB at New College and a few other college chapel organs - good experience for them, I'm sure. Lawrence had 15 minutes individual transposition training which was a great help in preparation for the Oxford organ scholarship awards competition (which he took in September) and we all heard David Briggs give a lunchtime recital at Christ Church.

 

Lawrence also had 10 minutes of improvising with David Briggs on the organ at St Mary Magdalene. It was magical and that, alone, was worth the fee and the subscription, several times over.

 

It seems to me that the RCO does a good job of encouraging young organists, giving them the opportunity to meet others who share their interests, play historic intruments they might otherwise never get anywhere near, and something to aim for beyond grade eight with their certificates and diplomas which, I think, help to maintain high standards.

 

I have had occasion to e-mail or phone various RCO officials from time to time and have always had prompt and helpful replies.

 

Justadad

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Guest drd

Then you, as a family, have a genuine interest in the services the RCO provides. Others of us are merely required to pay.

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Then you, as a family, have a genuine interest in the services the RCO provides.    Others of us are merely required to pay.

 

I have to agree with this.

 

Whilst I am happy that 'justadad' has good experiences of the RCO, he will, on reading carefully the many posts in this thread, realise that a number of us are less than happy with the RCO - and for good reason, too. To expect qualified and professional members merely to subsidise the training and encouragement of students and young people, is to assume a level of altruism which I for one would not claim to possess.

 

However, I wish his son well in his studies and I am pleased that his experience has been of a more positive nature than my own.

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My son is a student member of the RCO, and proud of it.

 

Earlier this year he did a one day workshop that they organized in Oxford. I didn't count but I guess there were about 40 kids aged 11 to 18, split into various ability groups. They all got to play the GDB at New College and a few other college chapel organs - good experience for them, I'm sure. Lawrence had 15 minutes individual transposition training which was a great help in preparation for the Oxford organ scholarship awards competition (which he took in September) and we all heard David Briggs give a lunchtime recital at Christ Church.

 

Lawrence also had 10 minutes of improvising with David Briggs on the organ at St Mary Magdalene. It was magical and that, alone, was worth the fee and the subscription, several times over.

 

It seems to me that the RCO does a good job of encouraging young organists, giving them the opportunity to meet others who share their interests, play historic intruments they might otherwise never get anywhere near, and something to aim for beyond grade eight with their certificates and diplomas which, I think, help to maintain high standards.

 

I have had occasion to e-mail or phone various RCO officials from time to time and have always had prompt and helpful replies.

 

Justadad

 

I too am pleased to hear of a positive experience of the RCO. The first I have heard for quite some time!

 

The RCO website states its purpose as follows:

 

"Today, the College is a multi-faceted membership organisation whose professional and educational work is aimed at all who have interests in the organ and choral music. "

 

Now maybe there are certain segments of membership the college is serving in a fine way - but I have heard so many complaints from so many people over the last few years that I cannot believe the college is effectively serving its broader membership. Communications are particularly poor, and whatever the reality, the impression is given that the views of subscribing members are not important.

 

If the college gave up the pretence of appealing to such a broad audience, and for instance simply asked me for £68 each year to support organ outreach for youngsters, then I would actually be happier about paying it!

 

JJK

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I'd be grateful if everyone could try to remain on the side of the angels - ie on the side of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, moderation, constructiveness - certainly, threats of violence (facetious or not) are out of place on a forum like this.

 

 

 

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

 

 

I have now taken to being a flagellant and breast-beater.

 

Is this allowed?

 

:(

 

MM

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Guest Lee Blick

I have to agree. It is good the RCO is helping young students (if only a relatively small number compared to the dire need of organists to fill posts in our local parish churches) but for general value for money, I would not bother joining because the organisation doesn't seem to offer much for the parish organist. £60+ is far too much.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Mander Organs has received a written complaint from the highest level of the RCO about this thread.  John Mander is overseas at the moment so, for the time being and until he can instruct us further, I have had to delete one post by MusingMuso (whom I have also e-mailed, to explain why).

 

I'd be grateful if everyone could try to remain on the side of the angels - ie on the side of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, moderation, constructiveness - certainly, threats of violence (facetious or not) are out of place on a forum like this.

 

Many thanks.

Rachel Mawhood

Webmaster, Mander Organs

 

I'm not sure if I have read the so-called offending posting from MusingMuso, but it's good to learn that the RCO has been reading this thread. Many of the comments passed would seem to be fair and they may hurt. But providing they fairly address what are seen as legitimate failings of the RCO, then as an organisation they would be unwise not to heed them.

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Mander Organs has received a written complaint from the highest level of the RCO about this thread. ....

 

SNIP!!!

 

 

So then, who or what is the highest level of the RCO - God? The Queen? El Presidento??? And what are they threatening? Excommunication? Banishment from the Empire - and every church and cathedral organ loft in Christendom? To sue us for daring to ask a question?

 

We are not here to be bullied....

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Guest drd
Mander Organs has received a written complaint from the highest level of the RCO about this thread. ....

 

SNIP!!!

So then, who or what is the highest level of the RCO - God? The Queen? El Presidento??? And what are they threatening? Excommunication? Banishment from the Empire - and every church and cathedral organ loft in Christendom? To sue us for daring to ask a question?

 

We are not here to be bullied....

 

 

Completely agree.

 

I can understand Manders' position.

 

However, for the RCO to be seeking to suppress the comments of colleagues, some of whom are members of the college, is indicative of an overly defensive attitude. Which brings its own questions to mind ...

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Guest Lee Blick

I agree too. The rather high-handed manner the representative of the RCO has expressed himself is not a good advert for the organisation and only confirms my own personal fears. On the whole people have responded constructively and positively in this thread and it would be sad if this was all erased.

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I agree too.  The rather high-handed manner the representative of the RCO has expressed himself is not a good advert for the organisation and only confirms my own personal fears.  On the whole people have responded constructively and positively in this thread and it would be sad if this was all erased.

 

 

Indeed - in my opinion Mr. Saint came across variously as hectoring, petulant and precipitous in his desire to reply.

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Mander Organs has received a written complaint from the highest level of the RCO about this thread.  John Mander is overseas at the moment so, for the time being and until he can instruct us further, I have had to delete one post by MusingMuso (whom I have also e-mailed, to explain why).

 

I'd be grateful if everyone could try to remain on the side of the angels - ie on the side of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, moderation, constructiveness - certainly, threats of violence (facetious or not) are out of place on a forum like this.

 

Many thanks.

Rachel Mawhood

Webmaster, Mander Organs

 

Let's stay on the side of the angels and not the saint!

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I agree too.  The rather high-handed manner the representative of the RCO has expressed himself is not a good advert for the organisation and only confirms my own personal fears.  On the whole people have responded constructively and positively in this thread and it would be sad if this was all erased.

 

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

 

In absolute fairness to our hosts, we all have to be very careful about the sort of lnaguage we use; myself included.

 

Business is business, and image is important; not to mention good relations with well respected and established organists, so I am the first to understand why the post should have been deleted upon receipt of such a request from the RCO.

 

To that end, I offer an unequivocal apology to Mander Organs.

 

That said, there is a tremendous difference between a properly worded and courteous "collection letter" and a "veiled threat," and I regret that some people cannot make the distinction.

 

My response was merelya tongue-in-cheek one, which represented a more extreme form of discourtesy!

 

I don't know whether it was the chicken or the egg which came first (even though I am "more stupid than chicken" according to Marek), and I'll be darned if I know whether the RCO pre-dates the principle of "free speech," but of one thing I am certain, and that is the fact that "freedom" requires a certain responsibility.

 

Sadly, if the RCO scrutineers wish to follow the thread back, they would discover that I have not been issuing death-threats, even though I know how to read a balance-sheet.

 

On the contrary, I have until now, been very supportive and constructive in the majority of my comments.

 

MM

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

 

In absolute fairness to our hosts, we all have to be very careful about the sort of lnaguage we use; myself included.

 

Business is business, and image is important; not to mention good relations with well respected and established organists, so I am the first to understand why the post should have been deleted upon receipt of such a request from the RCO.

 

To that end, I offer an unequivocal apology to Mander Organs.

 

That said, there is a tremendous difference between a properly worded and courteous "collection letter" and a "veiled threat," and I regret that some people cannot make the distinction.

 

My response was merelya tongue-in-cheek one, which represented a more extreme form of discourtesy!

 

I don't know whether it was the chicken or the egg which came first (even though I am "more stupid than chicken" according to Marek), and I'll be darned if I know whether the RCO pre-dates the principle of "free speech," but of one thing I am certain, and that is the fact that "freedom" requires a certain responsibility.

 

Sadly, if the RCO scrutineers wish to follow the thread back, they would discover that I have not been issuing death-threats, even though I know how to read a balance-sheet. 

 

On the contrary, I have until now, been very supportive and constructive in the majority of my comments.

 

MM

 

A very honest and courteous reply, MM.*

 

:(

 

*Without epaulettes.

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Guest drd

I feel inclined to withhold my subscription. At least until a proper reply has been made by the college authorities.

 

I fear, though, that the likeliest response may be to invoke a constitution and suspend or revoke my membership. If that fear is realised, then so be it.

 

A constitution, though, exists to serve the membership, and a more imaginative response would surely be for the college to listen to the ideas and feelings expressed on this thread, take appropriate, comprehensive, and transparent soundings, and then positively to react and adapt to the benefit of the whole membership however geographically dispersed and wide-ranging in experience and motivation.

 

I know this is putting my head above the parapet, but, the more this thread has progressed, the more strongly I feel about the underlying issue - value for money. The responses so far are not likely to induce my compliance with what appears to be the current philsophy: pay up and put up.

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It is suprising that the RCO aren't happy that a wider (more representative?) UK organ audience actually give a damn about their existence.

 

The RCO is important, it MUST be helped to get out of its current difficulties and continue, otherwise organ playing itself will lose more credibility, and continue to be sidelined even more in the minds of the public and the BBC, amongst others.

 

But the present signs are not good. What does it say about an organisation, if it doesn't even like being talked about!

 

(And as an edit to that....):

 

Quite separate from the topic of the thread, the mere existence of it is a public-relations inconvenience for the RCO. What would Ali Campbell do..... :(

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