Organ society continues series of Back Vespers services

Peter Lea-Cox, artistic director of SWOS and the musical director for this series of events

THE South Wessex Organ Society (SWOS) has a treat for lovers of Baroque music as it presents another in its ongoing series of Bach Vespers services.

The event will take place on Sunday, February 2 at 4pm at St Swithun’s Church, North Allington, Bridport, which is a new venue for the society.

The service is based around Bach’s cantata ’Ich habe genug’ (‘I have enough’), written for the Feast of the Purification (Candlemas) in 1727. Other music will include the Concerto in A for oboe d’amore, strings and continuo, also by Bach, and the motet ‘When to the Temple Mary Went’ by Johannes Eccard.

The service is modelled on that devised for use at the Lutheran Church in London. It was prepared in 1982 by the pastor, the Reverend Ronald Englund, and the cantor, Peter Lea-Cox, in consultation with Robin A. Leaver, the world-renowned expert on liturgical life in Leipzig at the time of J.S. Bach.

Peter Lea-Cox is now the artistic director of SWOS and the musical director for this series of events.

The soloists will be Jim Wills (bass) and Nicki Woods (oboe d’amore), and there will be a choir of mainly local singers and a small orchestra of professional musicians.

Lyme Regis-based musician Alex Davies will play the organ, and the Reverend Dan Shackell will lead the service.

SWOS has received a grant from the George Eyre Charitable Trust to help pay professional musicians for these events.

“The grant allows us to bring this wonderful music to a wider audience, something that lies at the very heart of the society’s ethos,” says Peter Lea-Cox.

Everyone is welcome and the service is free, although there will be a retiring collection.

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.

This year’s course takes place from February 17 to 19, and there are still a few places available. There are more details online at

Membership of the society is open to all, organists and non-organists alike. Annual membership is £15 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.

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About Francesca Evans 2537 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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