Who are we?
The Gloucestershire Organists’ Association has over a hundred members consisting of both players and non-players. Our membership includes those who play in cathedrals and large parish churches as well as smaller churches and chapels, organ enthusiasts and several organ builders.
Our President is international recitalist David Briggs who became Artist in Residence at St James Cathedral, Toronto, Canada on 1 September 2012. David’s responsibilities there include giving celebrity recitals, playing regularly at services, composing liturgical music for the Cathedral, and working on the establishment of a vision for the music program including the design and installation of a new organ or organs and relevant acoustical enhancements.
David is a frequent visitor to the UK and regularly renews his acquaintance with the GOA and its members. He is very active on Facebook.
Click here for names and details of members of the Committee.
We exist to promote the organ as an instrument of practical music making both in church or concert hall. In about ten meetings per year, we visit notable organs, some not normally accessible, both in and outside Gloucestershire. We also enjoy talks, presentations, demonstrations and recitals and an annual shared meal. Our meetings are open to anyone who wishes to come along, whether a member of the GOA or not. We are keen to encourage enthusiastic members of any age and endeavour to foster their continued interest and skills in playing, in Mozart’s words, “The King of Instruments.” Our meetings are made more memorable by a teatime feast!
The Association was founded on 15th February 1947 by Frederick Gaydon, the Manager of Messrs Price organ builders in Cheltenham. The Association was originally called the Cheltenham & District Organists’ Association, but the name was changed to the Gloucestershire Organists’ Association in 1958. The first President was Huskisson Stubington, Organist of Tewkesbury Abbey, who held the post until 1966. The first Treasurer was Reg. Morris, who held the post for 21 years.
The tiny handful of organ enthusiasts, eight in all, that formed the first committee of this Association in 1947 could be forgiven for having no idea of how their efforts would be rewarded. Today the Association is flourishing with 121 members, who have meetings, social events, outings, and indeed cover almost every aspect of the Organ World, all of which take place as a result of the long hours of preparation by an extremely hard-working and dedicated Committee.
Paul Derrett (Chairman 1995 – 1996) was the prime mover in initiating the revision of the Rules & Constitution, and in forming the Young Organists’ Scheme of this Association.
The Secretary (Brian Basham) regularly attended the committee meetings of the Midlands Region of the IAO, as at that time we were in the Midlands Region. This enabled us to know what was being planned there, as the Midlands was the only Region at that time that was active, so we were able to join in the functions each year. In addition, it gave our Secretary very useful information that enabled him to launch events in the West of England & S.E Wales Region of the IAO, when it was formed, and of which we are now members.
Annual Dinners have been enjoyed most years since the Association was founded. Guests of Honour have included organists Herbert Sumsion, Melville Cook (twice), Douglas Guest (twice), Ernest Bullock, Susi Jeans, Brian Runnett, Michael Peterson, Christopher Robinson, Roy Massey (twice), Willis Grant, John Sanders, Francis Jackson, Anne Marsden Thomas, Lionel Dakers, Kerry Beaumont and Trevor Tipple plus vicars, Deans, Precentors and Bishops.
Visits to organs have included many local instruments, Gloucester and other cathedrals, Oxford colleges and trips to Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, Truro and other organs in Cornwall, London and Paris.
Recitalists and lecturers invited by the GOA over the years have included Watkins Shaw, John Sanders, Leonard Blake, Cecil Adams, Jonathan Varcoe, Richard Latham, Jennifer Bate, Peter Hurford, John Beck, James Parsons, Roger Fisher, Andrew Millington, Paul Derrett, Margaret Phillips, Douglas Hawkridge, Keith John, Nicholas Danby, Roy Massey, Simon Preston, Barry Rose, Gillian Weir, Wayne Marshall, Arthur Wills, Paul Hale, Carleton Etherington, Christopher Boodle, Andrew Nethsingha, Geraint Bowen, David Briggs and Michael Peterson.
Brian Basham has also given a number of talks; he joined the GOA in 1961 and was elected onto the Committee two years later. Brian has been our Secretary (on and off) since these early days, getting on for fifty years ago.