Young organists to feature in autumn concert programme

The impressive Skrabl organ at St Michael's Parish Church

THE annual series of autumn concerts at St Michael’s Parish Church in Lyme Regis will start on Sunday, September 16.

The focus this year is on young organists, some of whom have developed their talents through the Diocese of Salisbury’s PipeUp scheme. Four of the performers are still in their teens.

All the concerts are on Sunday afternoons at 3pm. Katie Ninham will open the series on September 16, in her second solo appearance at the console of the church’s marvellous Skrabl organ, giving local music lovers a chance to hear her play before she moves on to Durham University.

On September 23, established pianist Duncan Honeybourne will give a concert to mark the centenary of the end of the first world war. Duncan has put together a programme called ‘Echoes of the Great War’, which promises to be both moving and memorable.

The popular combined PipeUp students’ concert is on September 30, when players aged between 10 and 18, and at different stages of learning the organ, will show off their skills.

Then on October 7 it’s the turn of Arthur Pallecaros, a Salisbury Cathedral student who demonstrated his excellent mastery of the organ in the combined students’ concert last year.

PipeUp coordinator Richard Godfrey, who teaches several of the young players, will give a concert himself on October 14, and Alexander Palotai – the new organ scholar at Salisbury Cathedral and already a virtuoso of the highest order – will bring the series to a close on October 21.

All concerts are free, with a retiring collection.

The PipeUp scheme is in its 11th year and trains young organists through Saturday morning lessons at centres in Dorset and Wiltshire, with financial support from the Diocese of Salisbury’s Tindall Trust.

PipeUp centres include St Michael’s Church in Lyme Regis and St Mary’s Church in Dorchester. The Dorchester centre has trained more than a dozen new organists over the past five years; currently six young people are training there, and another three in Lyme Regis.

The South Wessex Organ Society – the successor to the well-established Lyme Regis Organ School – 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.

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 as well as priority booking for other society events and a regular newsletter. Members will also take part in electing the board of trustees who manage and direct the society.

Woodmead Halls

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