Nationally, fewer people are learning the organ and churches are having problems finding organists. It is a fine musical instrument, with a kaleidoscope of different sounds and contrasting repertoire. No two organs are quite the same.
Two major outreach events take place in March as part of the Scheme’s launch, supported by Surrey, North Hampshire and the national Organists’ Associations:
‘PLAY THE ORGAN!’ Day for Schools on Friday 14 March at Guildford United Reformed Church GU2 4BS with separate sessions morning and afternoon led by Simon Williams from the Royal College of Organists. He has experience of doing this all over the country.
‘PLAY THE ORGAN!’ Day for All on Saturday 15 March 11am-4pm at St Mary’s Church, Guildford GU1 3UA. Mini-recitals by students on the hour. Demo model pipe organ. Demo pipeless organ. Refreshments. Organists on hand to chat to. FINALE RECITAL 4-4.45 pm by international organist, Philip Scriven. Admission free to Organ Day; £5 (Students free) to recital.
These events are part of the Guildford Spring Music Festival Organ Series – four days of concerts showcasing the organ from Handel Organ Concertos with strings to Romantic and modern works.
There will be a further event in October to emphasise the ongoing legacy of support to the outreach. Experience from schemes that are up and running shows how advertising them can recruit pianists from unexpected sources to learn this marvellous instrument and play it to accompany services.
For more information go to www.gsmf.org.uk or www.surreyorganistsassociation.org