Annual organ festival promises a weekend of musical treats

Timothy Noon, organist and director of music at Exeter Cathedral, will feature in the South Wessex Organ Society’s second annual organ festival

THE South Wessex Organ Society (SWOS) presents its second annual festival in June, with three musical events at venues in East Devon.

On Friday, June 14 there will be an organ recital by Timothy Noon, who has been director of music at Exeter Cathedral since January 2016.

Timothy’s eclectic programme includes Prelude and Fugue in C by JS Bach, ‘Hornpipe’ from ‘The Water Music’ by Handel, ‘Carillon de Westminster’ by Louis Vierne, ‘Chant de Mai’ by Joseph Jongen and ‘Carillon on Orientis Partibus’ by Arthur Wills.

The recital will be held at the Minster Church in Axminster from 7.30pm and tickets are £10.

The society joins forces with Axminster Choral Society for the festival’s second event on Saturday, June 15, also at the Minster Church.

Directed by Peter Parshall – who is also artistic director of SWOS – the choir will sing ‘Acis and Galatea’ by Handel. This work, which the composer described as a ‘little opera’, has words by poet John Gay and tells the story of the mortal shepherd Acis and the goddess Galatea, and how their love is thwarted by the jealous cyclops Polyphemus.

The concert will be held at 7.30pm and tickets start from £12.

The third and final event is a Bach Vespers service on Sunday, June 16 at Colyton Parish Church. Local singers will join professional soloists to sing JS Bach’s Cantata no. 176, ‘Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding’ in its proper liturgical context on Trinity Sunday. The musicians will be directed by renowned Bach expert Peter Lea-Cox, who is an artistic adviser to SWOS.

The free service will be held 6.30pm and will also include chorale preludes, orchestral music and a motet sung by a choir from Colyton Grammar School.

Tickets for the organ recital and concert are available in advance from Archway Bookshop in Axminster, as well as on the door. All events are open to SWOS members and non-members alike.

Encouraging a love of organ music

The South Wessex Organ Society was founded in 2017 and aims to encourage organ playing and the appreciation of sacred and secular organ music across the region. It works towards this purpose both through recitals and concerts and through practical courses that encourage existing organists on their musical path.

The society grew out of the Lyme Regis Organ School and is continuing the annual winter course that has been a valuable learning experience for organists of all ages over the last decade.

Membership of the society is open to all, organists and non-organists alike, costing £15 for a single and £25 for a couple. Members’ subscriptions provide a vital source of income, but equally important is their involvement in helping the society to achieve its aims.

The benefits of membership include special members’ events and a twice-yearly newsletter. Members also take part in electing the board of trustees who manage and direct the society.

For further details visit

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About Francesca Evans 1547 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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