Chris Manners - 2002/2003

Chris Manners (Organist All Saint's Weston-super-Mare)

2002 Chris MannersWelcome to the Bristol & District Organists’ Association web site.  It is a great privilege for me to be President at this time in the history of the Association.  Having been a member for some years it has been interesting to watch the Association develop into the exciting organisation it is today.

Like so many present-day organists, my interest in church music, and the organ in particular, began as a boy chorister.  Piano lessons with the church organist led me (having passed the obligatory Grade 5!) to progress to the organ, playing for choir practice, the occasional service, etc., until eventually I took on a post in my own right.  This was in my home town of Weston-super-Mare, but my connection with Bristol, about twenty miles away, really began when I had lessons with Garth Benson, the legendary organist of St. Mary Redcliffe.  That amazing instrument really opened my eyes to the wonders of the King of Instruments, and eventually led me to my present career in organ building.

Of course, the Redcliffe organ is only one of many fine instruments in the city.  Our web site contains details and photographs of many organs in the area, and I hope you will spend time exploring this part of the site.

The Association has worked hard for a number of years to encourage and assist the City Council in the maintenance of the large Harrison & Harrison concert organ in the Colston Hall, Bristol's premier concert venue.  In 2001 the console was upgraded, with modern Solid State registration aids, including a sequencer in conjunction with the use of the general pistons.  The completion of this work was celebrated by a well attended composite recital by past Presidents of the Association, and in September, 2002, four young local organists gave a joint recital as part of an ongoing series to bring this  particular instrument to the attention of a wider audience.

As well as arranging visits to instruments in this country, in recent years foreign trips have been arranged by the Association, a four day visit to Paris in 2001 under the expert guidance of David Briggs being particularly memorable.  Plans are currently in hand for a week’s visit to Switzerland in May, 2003.

I do hope you enjoy looking at our web site, and maybe this will encourage you to visit our area and see and hear some of the fine instruments in this corner of the United Kingdom.

Chris Manners

Bristol and District Organists' Association

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