Founded in 1964...
Founded in 1964, our Association has been thriving now for more than half a century. Membership numbers usually average over ninety, but we are actively recruiting and would be delighted to welcome new members - and new ideas.
The Association is governed by constitution, ultimately controlled in practice by the whole membership, and managed (according to that mandate) by an elected committee.
Members are kept regularly informed via a Newsletter which is published every two months and by email circulars between each edition of the Newsletter. Every effort is made to involve the membership in forward planning and current organisation. Many aspects of the Association's activities (such as Education, Communications, and all major events) are administered by informal working parties with a flexible structure that can include ordinary members, committee members, and outside consultants.
The regular management of the Association is carried out by a committee of elected representatives, comprising professionally qualified musicians and enthusiastic amateurs - who bring other relevant expertise from their professions in education, engineering, accountancy, and other fields.
In 2021 Michael Jones celebrates fifty years as a professional musician. He is also a historian, lecturer, and musicologist: he has catalogued the manuscripts of several Midlands-based composers and is the biographer and music executor of Edgar Bainton (1880 - 1956) - of 'And I Saw a New Heaven' fame.
Samuel HudsonHonorary President
Samuel Hudson took up the post of Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral in September 2019, where he also conducts the Worcester Festival Choral Society, and is the Artistic Director of the Worcester Three Choirs Festival, next taking place in summer 2020. Samuel’s move to Worcester follows eight years as Organist & Director of Music at Blackburn Cathedral, during which time Samuel directed several radio and television broadcasts, led several tours with the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Girls’ Choir, recorded a CD of music for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, and conducted the music at the Office of the Royal Maundy, held at the Cathedral in the presence of HM The Queen in April 2014. (Photograph by Michael Whitefoot)
Marion Tunwell studied piano from an early age, later 'cello, and began practising the organ in her mid-teens. After a BSc in chemistry, she moved to Worcestershire on marriage. She began work for Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance in 1994, where her role has included learning about charity accounting. Marion is now senior Finance Administrator. Since 1986, she has been an organist at Broadway United Reformed Church. At an organists' course at Addington Palace in 1993, she was inspired by Anne Marsden-Thomas: she then worked with Trevor Tipple for about five years, achieving Grade VIII in 2004. Marion hopes to do further organ study in retirement.
Having spent a working life as a mechanical engineer in the lifting equipment industry, and chain making in particular, in retirement James Coupe continues to work as a part-time consultant and also as President of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association. Having an organist as a father and singing in a church choir gave him a love for organ and choral music. A long-standing member of the Oldham, Rochdale and Thameside Organists' Association, he was directly involved in the restoration of the 1913 JJ Binns organ in Rochdale town hall in 1979 and was at the time on the IAO council.
Paul CarrCommittee Member
Paul Carr spends a large part of his time playing the organ. He plays between thirty and forty recitals and concerts each year, in addition to playing for services at a number of churches. Paul is Musician in Residence at Holy Trinity Wordsley, near Stourbridge, where his series ‘Sunday Afternoon Organ Music’ takes place each month. His recital series ‘Thursday Live’, hosted at St Chad’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Birmingham, began in 2008 at St Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter, where Paul was Director of Music from 2003 until 2016. He continues to enjoy choral direction in a freelance capacity. Paul is a Past President of Birmingham Organists’ Association.
Christopher AllsopCommittee Member
Christopher Allsop, born and educated in London, held the Organ Scholarship at St. Martin-in-the-Fields before spending a gap-year as Organ Scholar at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. He graduated in music from Trinity College, Cambridge after three years as Organ Scholar. He then moved to Birmingham as Assistant Organist of the Cathedral and Organist of the Blue Coat School, teaching organ, piano, and class music. In 2004 Christopher took up the post of Assistant DoM at Worcester Cathedral, both accompanying, and sharing in the direction of, the Cathedral Choirs, as well as giving individual organ lessons. His first solo CD (The English Cathedral Series Volume XVII) was released in 2018. In September 2018 Chris left Worcester Cathedral to become the Assistant Director of Music at the King’s School Worcester.
Andrew CaskieCommittee Member
Andrew Caskie is managing director of the Malvern-based organ builders Nicholson & Co. He was previously director of music at Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh for over twelve years and is a past president of the Edinburgh Society of Organists. Andrew sings in the choir at Great Malvern Priory and in his spare time gives organ recitals around the UK.
James BradleyCommittee Member
James Bradley is Director of Music at St Mary's church, Old Swinford. He was previously the Director of Music at Kidderminster Parish Church for seven years and he served on the Worcestershire Area Committee of the Royal School of Church Music for eight years. He was one of the founding directors of The Kidderminster Festival Orchestra (now The Sinfonia Stellaris), and is still its official audition accompanist. He holds an MEng (Hons) (Computing) from Imperial College London and he gained an MA (Mus) (Open) in 2020 with Distinction.
Elizabeth WatkinsCommittee Member
Born in Colchester, Essex, her father was an organist and bell ringer. She had piano lessons from age 5 and organ from 11, with her first Church appointment (with an Harmonium!) at the age of 12. Achieving Grade 7 piano and Grade 8 organ - Trinity College exams - aged 17, she left home and Essex at 18 to come to Worcester Royal Infirmary to train as a Radiographer in 1968. Subsequently working in Hereford, Kidderminster and Worcester hospitals - specializing in Nuclear Medicine. She Joined WOA in February 1969, and was magazine secretary and secretary in the 1970’s. She had organ lessons with Rodney Baldwyn at Pershore Abbey, and latterly with Trevor Tipple, and was deputy organist at Worcester City Parish in the late 80's and a relief organist around Worcestershire for many years. In 1987 she embarked on a second career as Manager for Worcester and District
Crossroads care Attendant Scheme, retiring in 1995. Following retirement she has spent a great deal of time with her husband Peter, travelling in Britain, France and in Europe by Motor home since 2013. Her favourite music to play is Bach, but she describes herself as a complete "organ nut" as she loves Cinema and theatre organs too! Elizabeth re-joined the committee in 2018 and was granted honorary life membership at the AGM in 2019, in recognition of her 50 years membership of the Association.
Nicholas J FreestoneCommittee Member
Nicholas Freestone is Assistant Director of Music and Assistant Organist of Worcester Cathedral, where he is the principal accompanist of the Cathedral Choir and directs the cathedral’s Girls’ Choir. Between September 2017 and August 2018, Nicholas was Organ Scholar of St Paul’s Cathedral, including a six-month period as Acting Sub Organist. He accompanied and directed the world-renowned Cathedral Choir in their regular services and in concert, and performed at services of national significance, including the Grenfell Tower Memorial Service and the installation of the Bishop of London. As a solo recitalist, Nicholas has performed at venues including Westminster Cathedral and the St Albans International Organ Festival. As accompanist, he has collaborated with the National Youth Choir, performed in the Aldeburgh Festival and worked as continuo player with the City of London Sinfonia. Nicholas has broadcast on BBC Television and Radio both as organist and conductor and has accompanied the Choir of Worcester College, Oxford on two recordings that were awarded the accolade of BBC Music Magazine ‘Christmas Choice’. Prior to moving to Worcester, Nicholas has held Organ Scholarships at Tewkesbury Abbey, Wells Cathedral, St Albans Cathedral and Worcester College, Oxford, from where he graduated with a degree in Music in 2014.
Gus OrchardCommittee Member
Gus started playing the organ while at school many years ago. He became a chartered accountant working in London, Paris and the USA but all the while keeping up an active interest as an organist and singer. While in Paris, he joined the choir at Notre Dame and also ran a choir at St Denis du St Sacrement where his major achievement was to get the choir to sing English Christmas carols, albeit with a French twang. Back in the UK, he worked as finance director of a number of start-up companies and finally retired from the business world 3 years ago. Since then, he has obtained his ARCO and is still mulling over whether to pursue the FRCO whilst trying in vain to reduce his golf handicap. He plays the organ on a regular basis at Holy Redeemer RC Church in Pershore.