Today I played the organ for the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, Romford which I really enjoyed doing. During the Communion of the People the choir sang a setting of Faber’s wonderful hymn “There’s a wideness in God’ mercy” based on the the tune Corvedale by Maurice Bevan which fitted in really well with today’s Gospel on which I preached. Prior to ordination I had been an Organist & Choirmaster for some 23 years.When I went for interviews at Salisbury & Wells Theological College the then Principal the late Canon Reggie Askew had pointed out to me that I might miss the role of Organist. I thought that meant I wouldn’t have the chance to play very much, if ever, in the future. How wrong can you be ! I accompanied many services at College and played for several at Salisbury Cathedral as well.
During my Curacy in Bristol I helped the parish organist of one of the two churches I was at get an excellent two manual organ installed in place of the totally inadequate instrument already there. As this was a church which had orchestral concerts I designed the portable organ for use with orchestras in conjunction with the organ builders for occasions when the organist needed to be part of the orchestra rather than use the super detached console. I took part in the opening recital on that instrument and also took part in recitals at the other church with it’s massive three manual instrument and also played for a number of service. I had a new organ installed when I was Vicar of St. Francis to replace the gallery instrument which was totally inadequate for the building and had started life as a one manual barrel organ of very dubious quality and had a second manual an pedals added poorly.
Over the years I have played for many services at various churches. My love of the organ reached its apotheosis when I took part in a Lunch Time Recital on the organ at the Royal Albert Hall with other clergy members of SSC.