Our Association

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.

We are delighted to have as our President Samuel Hudson, Organist and Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral.

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.

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Elizabeth Watkins

Chair

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 DistrictCrossroads 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.

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Michael Jones

Vice-Chair

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.

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Samuel Hudson

Honorary 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)

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Gus Orchard

Treasurer

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.

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James Coupe

Secretary

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.

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Marion Tunwell

Committee Member

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.

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James Bradley

Committee 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.

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Paul Trepte

Committee Member

Paul Trepte studied organ with Donald Hunt and Nicholas Danby, and composition with Herbert Howells. After an organ scholarship at New College, Oxford his professional career began in 1979 when he was appointed Assistant Organist at Worcester Cathedral.

Paul’s next moves were to St Mary’s, Warwick and then to St Edmundsbury Cathedral. In September 1990, he succeeded Dr Arthur Wills as Organist and Director of Music at Ely Cathedral. His appearances on CD include solo organ discs and choral collections.

As organ recitalist he has performed throughout the UK and in many European cathedrals and churches, as well as in Russia and The USA.  He holds Honorary Fellowships from both the Guild of Church Musicians and The Royal School of Church Music. In 2019 he was delighted to accept an invitation from Cambridge Organists Association to become their Patron in succession to Sir Stephen Cleobury.

Paul retired from his principal post at Ely Cathedral on Easter Day, 2019. He now lives in Worcester and spends his time performing, examining and composing. Much of his choral music is published, and in October 2020 he won the RCO composition competition for his Sacred Song, “Who alone is good” which has now been published by RSCM and professionally recorded on video in St Martin’s Church, Worcester.

Dr James (Jim) Berrow

Committee Member

Starting his working life as an apprentice organ builder at Nicholson & Co Ltd just before they left their Worcester premises, he somehow then became an executive producer for a major UK broadcaster, producing music, arts and religious programmes for ITV, Channel 4, US PBS, Polyphon/WDR Cologne and the Arts Council. He has been a lay assessor for the RIBA and AABC, an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Birmingham, and a director or trustee of many cultural and heritage organisations including the CBSO. As an independent researcher, he is active in musicological studies, architectural history, the conservation of historic pipe organs, and his latest publication ‘The making of an English organ builder – John Nicholson’ was published by the British Institute of Organ Builders (BIOS) in 2022 and is now in its second edition. He was a founder member of BIOS and its third honorary secretary. He was actively involved in promoting the restoration of the organ at St Swithun’s church in Worcester in 2009/10.

Michael Bacon

Committee Member

Michael has recently retired from the BBC where he was a Sound Engineer for Radio 3 in London. He worked on everything from huge orchestras at The Proms to unusual venues in the City of London and specialised in Chamber, Early Music and the occasional organ concert. His organ teachers were Thomas Trotter and Anne Marsden Thomas, and he was lucky enough to play to give a couple of recitals in Westminster Abbey and Cathedral as well as less exalted venues. Leaving the 3 manual Walker in The Church of King Charles the Martyr which he had played and nurtured for 35 years was a wrench but he and his wife Fi (also ex BBC and a singer and lapsed organist) are looking forward to more music making in Malvern.