Philip Wilby - 2012

Philip WilbyWelcome to our website!

It is a great honour to be asked to serve a term as President of the Bristol and District Organists’ Association.  Equally the prospect being asked to join the illustrious ranks of previous occupants of this post is daunting.  Fortunately, my predecessor Tim Forder has set me an excellent example for the year’s programme, and I hope to emulate the creative variety of his provision during my own term of office.

Since its founding in 1949, the Association has aimed to serve its large and enthusiastic membership with energy and enterprise, and to provide local organists with a network of likeminded musicians, as well as a forum at home, and affiliation to national bodies at large.

Like many other members of the Society, my own interest in the organ began as a child, singing in a church choir and admiring the ‘king of Instruments’ from afar. That sense of joy and wonder has never deserted me, and I am pleased to count myself among the ranks of those that are always thrilled to be able to visit the many wonderful instruments available in the South West.

For over thirty years I taught Composition in the Music Department at Leeds University. However, when my wife Wendy was appointed Canon Precentor at Bristol Cathedral we were pleased to relocate, and have been delighted to join the musical community that thrives here. Perhaps I may be permitted to confess to one north country weakness which has persisted in my musical outlook. In addition to a passion for the organ, I am a lifelong advocate of the culture of the British Brass Band. I continue to serve as Musical Associate to the Black Dyke Band .

The programme for the year is now published, and available both on this website’s Calendar, and in the Members Bulletin. It includes a farewell recital by our Patron Dame Gillian Weir at St Mary Redcliffe, our annual Organ Gala at the Colston Hall,  our Annual Dinner where the speaker will be Simon Lindley, and the Bristol Organ Festival, to be held over the May Bank Holiday weekend in 2013.

One of the jewels in the crown of the Association remains its efforts to encourage young organists, and we hope to extend our outreach during my tenure by offering members the chance to encourage pianists to try the organ for the first time. With a half of Bristol’s many churches having no musical provision, this side of our wider work is an essential prerequisite for the future.

Last but not least, the Association continues to be hugely enjoyable. Our ‘Open Console’ visits remain very popular, and an organ crawl to the City of London appears on our itinerary in the spring.

My own particular ambition for the year ahead will be to widen public awareness of our activities, and to enhance the reputation of the local organist as a valued member of a wider  society. To this end, I am issuing a ‘Play Bach’ challenge, to all 160 members of the Society. This will take place on Sunday May 5th, and is open to all. Simply tell us what you will play, the time, and the place, and we will publicise our combined efforts to the world at large.

Do look out for details of all our monthly events, and if you would like to have emails sent to you directly of our, and many other, musical events taking place in our area, do drop us an email and we will add you to our regular e-mailing listings.

If this is your first visit then let me encourage you to browse, explore and enjoy our site. You will see that the B&DOA is a very active association which arranges a variety of events for its Members and those interested in playing or listening to the organ. If you would like to have more information about us and a Membership Application Form, please let us know. We have about 160 Members of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and some who do not play the organ but enjoy its music, so whatever your interest, we would be delighted to have you join us in the Association. We are a friendly bunch; our yearly programme always includes many interesting events; and, you will also receive the full colour, 100 page quarterly magazine Organists’ Review, which is full of interesting articles and news.

I look forward to meeting you soon at one of our events.

With best wishes to you all.

Philip Wilby

Bristol and District Organists' Association

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