Ray Hillman - 2001/2002

Ray Hillman (Organist Thornbury Parish Church)

2001 Ray HillmanThis is now the second year of the Bristol & District Organists’ Association Web site and the information on the site has grown considerably. There are details and photographs of many local organs, both large and small, some internationally known, with a wide range of tonal qualities. I hope you will enjoy perusing these and also finding out about the activities of the Association.

I have been a member of the BDOA for nearly fifty years and have worked with many distinguished organists in the Bristol area, in particular Clifford Harker, three times President of this Association and Organist and Master of the Choristers at Bristol Cathedral for thirty-four years, 1949 – 1983. He died two years ago and a biography of his musical life in Newcastle, Cairo, Rugby and Bristol has now been written by Margaret Hilton – ‘Music Maker’ – which is available from booksellers at £18.75.

The Association has worked hard for a number of years to encourage and assist the City Council in the maintenance of the large Harrison and Harrison concert organ in the Colston Hall. In 2001 the console was upgraded, with modern electronic 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 present and past Presidents of the Association.

For the past twelve years I have had the privilege to be Organist at the fine mediaeval church of St Mary, Thornbury, just north of Bristol. The church is associated in organ and church music circles with Dr Basil Harwood, composer of the well-known hymn tune Thornbury and a quantity of organ and choral music, including the fine Sonata No 1 in C sharp minor. The church receives visitors from all over the world, many of them staying at Thornbury Castle, next to the church. I hope that this web site will also provide interest for organ enthusiasts worldwide, and perhaps encourage them to sample the excellent instruments in the area.

Ray Hillman

Bristol and District Organists' Association

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