Jump to content
Mander Organs
D Quentin Bellamy

Royal College Of Organists

Recommended Posts

We are not here to be bullied....

I endorse this comment. Honest, constructive criticism doesn't hurt anyone.

 

NS

 

I think some in the RCO are still smarting from the wounds inflicted by the Birmingham Fiasco. A few views expressed here aren't going to change the world, but I think most people would agree that all has not been well. The article in Private Eye drew peoples attention to the mess and I think a new direction is emerging.

Despite David Saint's assertion that the RCO was not about buildings there was enormous enthusiasm for a building and an organ as it brought so many strands together. It promised a home and an organ of international quality at long last. What happened next was a calamity for the RCO. It is going to take time to recover, meanwhile all the members I know think that money, time and effort has been wasted.

Some cynic said to me "O god, not Birmingham, it'll be the death of the RCO" I thought at the time "how could she say this?"

 

It's understandable that people question what has been going on. The membership fee is high, the chief executive was paid well and then he left. The members however, are still there, and it is simply NOT good enough to suggest they resign if they don't like what has occurred.

It is not a wise move to attempt to stiffle debate. Often it's best for people to have their say in order for things to move ahead.

 

If the RCO had a lower subsciption rate, perhaps the value for money question would never have been raised.

 

There is a too big a gap between what it once was, what it could be, and what it actually is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

 

I feel much the same.

 

I have written to the RCO explaining my position. I also intend to include a copy of my post answering the statement made by David Saint, since I cannot assume that he has bothered to return in order to learn the effect of his words.

 

On balance, I will probably withhold my membership fee and instead, use some of the money to purchase a subscription to Big and Bouncy. At least it will probably be more entertaining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I feel much the same.

 

I have written to the RCO explaining my position. I also intend to include a copy of my post answering the statement made by David Saint, since I cannot assume that he has bothered to return in order to learn the effect of his words.

 

On balance, I will probably withhold my membership fee and instead, use some of the money to purchase a subscription to Big and Bouncy. At least it will probably be more entertaining.

Big and Bouncy huh? Are we talking of a double rise reservoir here? :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

 

I'm afraid I feel the same. I can't see what benefits I would get from paying £68 per year, except being allowed to take my ARCO, which I would like to do, but can't justify the cost.

 

I'm neither for nor against the RCO - I have no experience of them at all.

 

Could someone explain to me what I would, realistically, be purchasing for my £68 a year? Let's face it - if I was paying that much, then I'm a customer and I expect to get something for my money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Talking of which, how much should we charge the RCO for the benefit of our advice? After all, if they heed much of what has been said, they may survive yet another century! :(

 

Looking at recent 'joinings' to this list I see that their Administrator is now a member - this is good - maybe she's taking note.

 

AJJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot but consider that it is a thousand pities that apparently no-one on the RCO Council at the time had the wit to re-negotiate the terms of the lease on the old Kensington Gore property about twenty or thirty years before it expired and the peppercorn rent became considerably more costly.

 

I realise that hindsight is always '20-20' vision; neverthless, it still beggars belief that there was quite such short-sightedness at a time when it might have been possible to retain the building - perhaps for a rent, whilst not commensurate with business rates, at least commercially viable for the owners of the property.

 

Incidentally, does anyone know who actually owns the former home of the RCO?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I cannot but consider that it is a thousand pities that apparently no-one on the RCO Council at the time had the wit to re-negotiate the terms of the lease on the old Kensington Gore property about twenty or thirty years before it expired and the peppercorn rent became considerably more costly.

 

I realise that hindsight is always '20-20' vision; neverthless, it still beggars belief that there was quite such short-sightedness at a time when it might have been possible to retain the building - perhaps for a rent, whilst not commensurate with business rates, at least commercially viable for the owners of the property.

 

Incidentally, does anyone know who actually owns the former home of the RCO?

 

 

I think you've misunderstood the situation. The site was never for sale - Crown Property, Cadogen Estates..that sort of thing. What the RCO used to own was a long lease. They decided to sell the balance of this lease while it would still give a pretty good sum.

 

This might have helped a good way towards acquiring a cheaper home in a less fashionable district. This is the advice that some of the council wanted to go with.... others wanted to move 'up market' instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By contrast, look at what they get in the US..

 

http://www.agohq.org/docs/pdf/AGOCert.pdf

http://www.agohq.org/docs/pdf/2007Requirements.pdf

 

The first dozen or so pages of the former are particularly interesting (in terms of attitude), for example:

 

Guiding members through the certification process is one of the most valuable services a chapter can perform. Where does one find the resources, how does one set up such a program, and how does one enlist the interest and participation of the members? Some assistance with these matters will be found in this publication. THE COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION and the headquarters staff are ready and willing to help with further details and advice.

 

How is that in the UK, with far fewer organists, we've managed to come up with a hodgepodge of local Organists Associations, (which might equate to AGO Chapters) and the RCO with no local presence, while the US has managed a single, federated, national organisation, which - heaven forbid - encourages its Chapters to set up programmes to support and encourage its members through the qualifications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you've misunderstood the situation. The site was never for sale - Crown Property, Cadogen Estates..that sort of thing. What the RCO used to own was a long lease. They decided to sell the balance of this lease while it would still give a pretty good sum.

 

This might have helped a good way towards acquiring a cheaper home in a less fashionable district. This is the advice that some of the council wanted to go with.... others wanted to move 'up market' instead.

 

It crossed my mind that it might be Crown Property. It does seem a shame that the lease could not have been re-negotiated before the value of the site precluded such a decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It crossed my mind that it might be Crown Property. It does seem a shame that the lease could not have been re-negotiated before the value of the site precluded such a decision.

Was it not that building, approached by the steps up to the Royal Albert Hall that gave the RCO its awesome air of authority??? Was it not the building that filled us all with a certain terror??? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Was it not that building, approached by the steps up to the Royal Albert Hall that gave the RCO its awesome air of authority??? Was it not the building that filled us all with a certain terror??? ;)

 

Indeed - but not as much terror as that which might be experienced when caught without permission in the Organ Hall (or whatever it was called) by Barry Lyndon - the much-missed* former Registrar.

 

*I always found him to be polite (yet firm when the occasion arose), helpful, welcoming and extremely efficient. He also had a quiet authority which, as a student, I would never have dreamed of ignoring - except for that one time....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
By contrast, look at what they get in the US..

 

http://www.agohq.org/docs/pdf/AGOCert.pdf

http://www.agohq.org/docs/pdf/2007Requirements.pdf

 

The first dozen or so pages of the former are particularly interesting (in terms of attitude), for example:

How is that in the UK, with far fewer organists, we've managed to come up with a hodgepodge of local Organists Associations, (which might equate to AGO Chapters) and the RCO with no local presence, while the US has managed a single, federated, national organisation, which - heaven forbid - encourages its Chapters to set up programmes to support and encourage its members through the qualifications.

 

 

I agree with you that the AGO documents seem very well-considered and suited to their likely membership. What do we do next, apply to join them?!!

 

If the Church of England can have flying bishops where required, can we have a flying organists' organisation? I'm not being entirely facetious here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Nigel ALLCOAT
The Danish system is highly efficient also.

 

AJJ

 

Indeed it is. I think they have quite a number of monthly/bi-monthly magazine's too which highlight certain playing features, new organs etc. It is a two-tier system in Denmark with about 600 organists in the top (DOC) bracket. Many more belong to the lower level (PO) which embraces many of the smaller country churches and the Assistants at the larger. With yearly conferences for both plus other activities like a Union structure, I find the 'back-up' for a player most reassuring. Of course there are considerable amounts of my 3rd 'F' (see previous post). Denmark has a population of about 2 million people less than London. All names and address are circulated/published of everyone.

FPO Websitehttp://www.fpo.dk/start.htm Explore this site which is for the 2nd tier of organists. One link on the Homepage called Bladet provides you with the monthly magazine for a number of previous years. I will try to look out the top tier and their organization.

 

All good food for thought, which of course gives indigestion in some quarters of the UK. However, there are many good things to learn from all these posts concerning the RCO. For one (and I seem to join numerous others here, I think), I have thought long and very hard over many things since it all started here. One day I hope that I can formulate it all into something structured as a proper post not as a Fantaisie.

 

In the meantime, we must all actively and constructively work towards a lasting solution that provides for our organists in the UK for the next century or so. We might find that in liturgical circles, musical content will fluctuate as trends, fads and fashions come and go - a church-music parallel surely with High Street fashion. Good music will always flourish when appreciated as such. Good organs will always live when respected. Good tailored clothes will never date if dry cleaned! Knee-jerk reactions perhaps only provide instant satisfaction for the jerker.

 

All best wishes for a jolly Thursday.

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indeed it is. I think they have quite a number of monthly/bi-monthly magazine's too which highlight certain playing features, new organs etc. It is a two-tier system in Denmark with about 600 organists in the top (DOC) bracket. Many more belong to the lower level (PO) which embraces many of the smaller country churches and the Assistants at the larger. With yearly conferences for both plus other activities like a Union structure, I find the 'back-up' for a player most reassuring. Of course there are considerable amounts of my 3rd 'F' (see previous post). Denmark has a population of about 2 million people less than London. All names and address are circulated/published of everyone.

FPO Websitehttp://www.fpo.dk/start.htm  Explore this site which is for the 2nd tier of organists. One link on the Homepage called Bladet provides you with the monthly magazine for a number of previous years. I will try to look out the top tier and their organization.

 

All good food for thought, which of course gives indigestion in some quarters of the UK. However, there are many good things to learn from all these posts concerning the RCO. For one (and I seem to join numerous others here, I think), I have thought long and very hard over many things since it all started here. One day I hope that I can formulate it all into something structured as a proper post not as a Fantaisie.

 

In the meantime, we must all actively and constructively work towards a lasting solution that provides for our organists in the UK for the next century or so. We might find that in liturgical circles, musical content will fluctuate as trends, fads and fashions come and go - a church-music parallel surely with High Street fashion. Good  music will always flourish when appreciated as such. Good organs will always live when respected. Good tailored clothes will never date if dry cleaned! Knee-jerk reactions perhaps only provide instant satisfaction for the jerker.

 

All best wishes for a jolly Thursday.

Nigel

 

I agree Nigel

I must say your website is terrific, particulary the photos or organists away from the instrument and without ties. There seems to be a good mix of ages and wonderful surroundings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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)

 

 

Just been shopping and there's a special offer on something remarkably like the presidential robes, it's in red and white, full length and comes with a big white beard ...ho ho ho..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

RCO website........

 

Just been shopping and there's a special offer on something remarkably like the presidential robes, it's in red and white, full length and comes with a big white beard ...ho ho ho..

 

 

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

 

Just so long as we don't have to sit on strange-men's knees.

 

:)

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... strange-men ...

 

MM

 

 

OK, I promise not to moan about punctuation again - for at least a week.

 

(In return, can we avoid all the technical stuff about bandwidths, signals, compression and other radio jargon - please?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Lee Blick
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)
Just been shopping and there's a special offer on something remarkably like the presidential robes, it's in red and white, full length and comes with a big white beard ...ho ho ho..

 

:lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna fly in the face of forum opinion and have a bash at part of the FRCO syllabus next year. Problem is, finding a teacher for the paperwork bit. Especially one based in the South East, who has recent experience of preparing pupils (successfully) for the dreaded written work and can cope with my less-than-serious attitude....

 

Any ideas? Feel free to PM if you don't want to namecheck in this thread..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ask again ....

 

Why couldn't local FRCOs in good standing be allowed (on behalf of the RCO) to examine candidates in local centres a la ABRSM? After all - as the website advises:

 

Examination Fees July (Summer) 2006 - January (Winter) 2007

 

Certificate (CertRCO)

Whole Examination £155 inc VAT

Organ Playing only (Pieces and Keyboard Skills) £125 inc VAT

Subsequent Examination in Organ Pieces only £100 inc VAT

Subsequent Examination in Keyboard Skills only £50 inc VAT

Written Papers only £50 inc VAT

 

 

 

Associateship (ARCO)

Whole examination £225 inc VAT (£155 inc VAT )

Organ Playing (Pieces, Keyboard Skills, Aural) £170 inc VAT (£125 inc VAT )

Subsequent Examination in Organ Pieces only £145 inc VAT (£100 inc VAT )

Subsequent Examination in Keyboard Skills only £80 inc VAT (£50 inc VAT )

Written Papers only £115 inc VAT (£95 inc VAT )

Aural Tests only £50 inc VAT (£35 inc VAT )

 

 

Fellowship (FRCO)

Whole examination £350 inc VAT (£215 inc VAT )

Organ Playing only (Pieces and Keyboard Skills) £275 inc VAT (£165 inc VAT )

Subsequent Examination in Organ Pieces only £240 inc VAT (£140 inc VAT )

Subsequent Examination in Keyboard Skills only £115 inc VAT (£70 inc VAT )

Written Papers only £160 inc VAT (£115 inc VAT )

 

 

Choral Directing (DipCHD)

Whole examination £435 inc VAT

Practical only £360 inc VAT

Written only £115 inc VAT

 

 

Licentiateship in Teaching (LTRCO)

Portfolio only £60 inc VAT

Practical only £300 inc VAT

 

so it CERTAINLY ain't cheap!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...