Cumbrian Society of Organists

Review : Village Organists Workshop : 29 September 2018

Eight members assembled in Crosthwaite Church, Keswick, for a joint CSO – RCO (Royal College of Organists) workshop, led by Tom Bell, who is the RCO’s Director for the North of England. Tom explained the ways in which the RCO has changed in recent years so that it is no longer simply providing professional qualify-cations and diplomas for top organists but has become much more interested in assisting amateur organists and beginners. The RCO now provides online resources to help those requiring advice on a wide range of techniques. Launched at the beginning of 2016, the new ‘virtual campus’ ”iRCO” contains a growing body of learning materials for organists and choral directors of all ages, levels of attainment and ambition. These video master-classes include guides to hymn playing and transposition, as well as preparing for a recital and others. There then followed a discussion on a whole range of topics, mostly focused around playing for services and attracting new organists.

After a lunch break, several members volunteered to play pieces of music on the organ, including hymns, worship songs and voluntaries. Tom discussed many playing issues and made plenty of constructive suggestions to enhance the impact of our playing on our churches and congregations.