Essex Organists’ Association

for Organists and Organ Enthusiasts

​Formerly the Chelmsford and District Organists’ Association
Affiliated to The Incorporated Association of Organists

Forthcoming events


There may be members who would like to join us but have transport difficulties. If this is the case for you, please do email the Association at so that we can try to put you in touch with members attending events who may be able to help you with this.

EOA events in the pipeline for your diaries include:


Saturday 23rd March 2024 2pm-4pm – “Bring & Share Organ music for Lent & Easter at St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Rd, Bocking, Braintree, CM7 9AR

You are invited to bring along a couple of pieces with a Lenten or Eastertide theme to share. Be prepared to talk about them to the other participants (for example, why did you choose this piece of music, what does it mean to you, who composed it and when, what should we listen out for) before playing. Feel free to bring along any music suitable for Lent or Easter that you can play reasonably well, that you think may be of interest to others and which you are prepared to talk about. Hopefully participants will encounter some new seasonal pieces, or be reminded of some old favourites, that you can add to your repertoire and usefully include in services.

The church’s electric action pipe organ was originally built by Auguste Gern (who was Cavaille-Coll’s foreman) and enlarged to 3 manuals and pedals in 1957 by Cedric Arnold (with a new console). It was overhauled in 2001 by Peter Wood (who fitted a new system), and most recently rebuilt by Andrew Stevens (added Pedal Violone 16ft, and Swell 16ft Reed & 4ft Pedal Reed).

The church is situated in St Peter’s Road, Bocking, very close to the centre of Braintree for those looking to use public transport. There is also a church carpark behind St Peter’s, reached down the road to the right-hand side of the church.

The cost of this event is £10 for players, and £5 for non-players or players under 18 years old. For further information, and to book a place, please contact EOA Committee member Michaela Cottee as soon as possible using

Saturday 20th April 2024 at 2pm-4pm – A Masterclass to celebrate the centenary of the death of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), at St Mary with St Leonard’s Church, Church Green, Broomfield, near Chelmsford, CM1 7BD

In this, the centenary year of the death of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, your committee are organising this event to celebrate this important figure in British Organ Music, which will encourage us all to explore Stanford’s organ music a bit more deeply. We are delighted that Dr Antony Gritten (Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the Royal Academy of Music) will lead a masterclass on Stanford’s organ music for us. Antony is very respected academic and international recitalist and will himself be performing all of Stanford’s organ sonatas this year in recitals: he is no stranger to the technical challenges that Stanford’s music brings for the player. We are looking for players to participate in the masterclass, offering pieces by Stanford written for the organ. Most likely, this will include pieces from any of the 2 sets of 6 Preludes and Postludes (published by Stainer and Bell), or other stand-alone short works from outside these collections, including individual movements from the sonatas, which can all be found online at We are pleased to be returning to the parish church of St Mary with St Leonard, Broomfield nr Chelmsford for this event, which has an excellent 2 manual and pedal 1926 Hill Norman and Beard pipe organ, recently restored by Andrew Stevens.

The cost of this event is £10 for players, and £5 for non-players or players under 18 years old. For more details and to book a place at this event, please email EOA Committee Member Jonathan Lilley using

4th May – All day visit to organs in Hertford and at Haileybury College

We will visit three very fine and very different organs in and around Hertford:
1015am St Andrew’s Parish Church, Hertford,
12 noon All Saints’ Parish Church, Hertford
and finally, at 2pm, the Klais organ in Haileybury School Chapel.

Travel will be in members’ cars, and you will need to bring a packed lunch with you as it is a tight schedule, with sadly no time for the usual pub lunch. The cost of this event is £10 for players, and £5 for non-players or players under 18 years old. For more details and to book a place at this event, please email EOA Committee Member, Andrew Stevens, on 

Saturday 15th June – The 74th AGM of the Association, followed by an organ recital

Saturday 27th July – All day visit to organs in Southend

Saturday 21st September – All day visit to organs in Suffolk

Saturday 1st November – Afternoon Composite recital in Northwest Essex

​Further details about these events and future EOA events for 2024 will be found in the next newsletter.


Non-EOA Events

Events Promoted by Members

Please send your contributions to the list of organ recitals and concerts that you or your church are going to perform to the EOA email address:

Now in its 5th year, the Royal College of Organists’ International Organ Day takes place once again on 24th April 2024, encouraging new people to explore and enjoy organ music. More information can be found here:

Here is a list of organ recitals and members’ concerts in our area (don’t forget to check with the venue before you travel that the event is still happening!):

Saturday 6th April 2024 at 6pm, St George’s Lutheran Church, Allie Street, E1 8EB – Jonathan Lilley (Waltham Abbey Church)

Friday 12th April 2024 12 noon, Chelmsford Cathedral – Sam Bristow (Chelmsford Cathedral)

Wednesday 17th April 2024 1pm, Brentwood RC Cathedral – Chingyan Lo (Royal College of Music)

Wednesday 1st May 2024 1pm, Brentwood RC Cathedral – Barnaby Silverstone (Royal College of Music)

Saturday 4th May 2024 1230-230pm, All Saints, Springfield – Beacon Hill Trio &Singers (led by Paul Strong)

Saturday 25th May 2024, 12 noon, Waltham Abbey Church Glen Dempsey (Ely Cathedral)

Wednesday 5th June 2024, 1pm, Brentwood RC Cathedral – Jake Scicinski (Royal College of Music)

Saturday 8th June 2024 at 730pm, St Michael & All Angels, Galleywood, nr Chelmsford – Philip Prior (St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester)

Sunday 23rd June 2024 at 4pm, St Lawrence Church, Ridgewell, CO9 4SA – James Davy (St Mary’s Woodbridge, formerly Master of Music at Chelmsford Cathedral)
Tickets £10 (including refreshments after the recital) will be available on the door or can be reserved in advance by emailing Michaela Cottee ( Under 16s free. Big screen projection will be provided by Lyndon Ford. Please email Michaela with any queries.


Recent Events

Saturday 14th January 2023 – An illustrated talk on organ & choral music by women composers past and present, by Katherine Dienes-Williams in Brentwood RC Cathedral

Your President and Committee were very pleased to be able to welcome Katherine Dienes Williams (Organist & Master of the Music at Guildford Cathedral) to give an illustrated talk on the organ and choral music of women composers, in the lovely surroundings of St Mary & St Helen’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Brentwood. Katherine is a very experienced cathedral organist, and enthusiastic ambassador of both cathedral music and encouraging more performances of organ and choral music by female composers, something which became very apparent to all those who listened to her fantastic presentation. Katherine covered many composers from across the centuries in her talk, and explained that it was this interest that spurred her to programme a whole month’s music by women composers at Guildford Cathedral some years ago, and also in her planning for the cathedral choir to sing on Wednesday 1st March 2023 BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong for International Women’s Day. Katherine had also prepared a very comprehensive hand-out for the event – do contact your President, Philip Prior, if you want a copy of this, as he has the spares.

Saturday 4th February 2023 – An all-day visit to see, hear and play organs in Romford

A handful of members were able to enjoy a very good day’s playing and friendship in the market town of Romford, in the London side of our county.We visited three organs in the large market town of Romford, in East London. In the morning we visited St Edward the Confessor Parish Church, Romford, then St Andrew’s Church, Romford, before a very good lunch at the Golden Lion. In the afternoon we visited Trinity Methodist Church, Romford. Many thanks to Stephen King for organising the day out!

Saturday 25th March 2023 – A lecture-recital on North German organ music before J S Bach by Dr Gillian Ward Russell at St Mary’s Church, Maldon

Members will all be aware of the phenomenal importance of the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach and I’m sure that many members will play some of it themselves. But what happened in North Germany prior to Bach’s incredible appearance on the organ scene in around 1700, when the names of Buxtehude and Pachelbel are only those most people are able to recall? And where were the influences on North German music at that time coming from? All these and other questions were answered in former EOA President, Dr Gillian Ward Russell’s well-researched lecture-recital.

Saturday 22nd April 2023 – All day visit to organs near Gt Bromley & St Osyth

A party of just about 10 EOA members and guests enjoyed a superb day’s playing in the far eastern extremities of Essex, as EOA Committee Member, Dr Fiona Bodmer, very kindly arranged a full day’s outing to four very different village organs, including both the churches she plays at regularly on a Sunday. We began at our day at St Peter & St Paul, in St Osyth where the very pleasant 2 manual and pedal 18 stop tracker action pipe organ, had been built in 1907 by W E Richardson & Sons of Manchester. Our second venue, before lunch, was the beautifully sited church of St Mary the Virgin in Great Bentley, with features including a beautiful doorway dating from Norman times. After a fantastic group lunch just across the largest village green in the country at Restaurant 43 in Great Bentley, we journeyed to St Mary Magdalene in Thorrington, where EOA Member Peter Clayton, is the organist. Our final venue for the day was the church of St George in Great Bromley, where Gregory Frostick, welcomed us and gave us a demonstration of the very beautiful 1 manual and pedals 1867 J W Walker organ.  Our thanks must be reiterated to Dr Fiona Bodmer for all her work in planning and organising such a great event for us to enjoy!

Saturday 27th May 2023 – IAO Eastern Regional Day, Chelmsford Cathedral – studying the music of Couperin and de Grigny

This event promised to be an exciting all-day joint event with members of the other Associations in the IAO London & Eastern region, based around French organ music in the liturgy, with artistic directors Philip Prior (EOA) & James Davy (Chelmsford Cathedral) and those who attended were certainly not disappointed. James Davy and Philip Prior had put together a programme based around the music of Francois Couperin and Nicholas de Grigny, where the uniqueness of Chelmsford Cathedral’s two organs could really be shown off within the context and liturgy of French Baroque music. William Whitehead gave an excellent presentation on the two composers’ music and dealt with stylistic performance questions, whilst illustrating points with a wide range of recordings from French organs and organists. After lunch, three players took part in a masterclass on the two Couperin Masses and the de Grigny Office Hymn Veni Creator: Dr Gillian Ward Russell (from Essex), Tim Patient (from Norfolk) and Edward Dodge (from Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Association). After this, participants could either listen to a presentation by Richard Brasier on editing a new Franck edition or attend a rehearsal to learn the music for the concluding service. Following a break for tea and coffee, came the service of sung plainsong vespers for the eve of the Feast of Pentecost, including organ music from the masterclass players, in the context of the service and as voluntaries, using the chancel organ to accompany the choir, whilst the organ pieces were played on the nave organ, in true French style. It was an inspirational day in many ways, and everyone who came will have taken away something from it. Our thanks to James Davy and Philip Prior for masterminding the day unusually focusing on this style of music for such an event.

Saturday 10th June 2023 – The 73rd AGM of the Association and an illustrated presentation by Jonathan Lilley on the life and music of Joseph Jongen at Waltham Abbey Church

We were delighted to be able to return to Waltham Abbey Church for our 73rd AGM this year, where EOA Committee member Jonathan Lilley is the Director of Music. Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place in the church, and, although only 9 members of the Association attended, it was very positive occasion to celebrate and review the year past. We were sorry to say goodbye to our Minutes Secretary, Stephen King and Vice-Chairman, Hon. Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Richard Nott who both have left our committee after several years of valuable service for the Association, and we welcome Lyndon Ford to the committee for the first time as an Ordinary Committee Member. After delicious refreshments provided by the church, Jonathan Lilley presented an Illustrated Presentation on the Belgian organist and composer, Joseph Jongen (1873-1953), who celebrates both the 150th anniversary of his birth as well as the 70th anniversary of his death in 2023. Our thanks go to Jonathan for hosting us once again, to the abbey for providing excellent refreshments, and to Jonathan for all his time in putting together a superb voyage of discovery through the music of a composer we should all know better!

Sunday 16th July 2023 – “A Byrd in the Hand” a lecture-recital by Dr Richard Overill on the life and music of William Byrd at St Nicholas

In this, the 400th anniversary year of the death of the Essex composer, William Byrd (1540-1623), for our July event, EOA members were very pleased to be able to support EOA Member Dr Richard Overill’s lecture-recital, “A Byrd in the Hand”, at St Nicholas Church in Witham.

Saturday 5th August 2023 – Summer Party in Colchester

We were very grateful to EOA President Philip Prior and his girlfriend, Emma, for hosting this year’s summer party at their house in central Colchester. 10 EOA members and friends joined together for what was a very enjoyable time of good food, drinking, chatting and friendship. In true tradition for a summer party it rained, precluding us from sitting outside. Nonetheless, Philip and Emma had provided a varied hot and cold buffet for us to consume and the G & Ts and wine flowed around the dining table as well. Some members also tried out Philip’s 3 manual & pedal Viscount electronic organ in the organ studio. There was also a chance to bring and buy second hand organ music in aid of our Christopher Kingsley Fund for Young Organists. Bargains were to be had, and so this is something which your committee has decided that will carry on at future events: see details in separate section below. Our thanks to Philip and Emma for their hospitality in hosting this year’s summer party.

Saturday 20th September 2023 – All day visit to organs in Basildon inc. St Martin’s

We visited two very different venues for this all-day visit to the Basildon area, which yielded unexpected surprises for all both musical and architectural! Eight members took part in the event. First was St Michael’s Fobbing which is a lovely medieval church, overlooking the modern Thames Gateway development by the River Thames. Daryl East hosted our visit here in the morning, and very kindly provided refreshments. After an excellent lunch at The White Lion in Fobbing we drove to the large modern church of St Martin of Tours, in central Basildon, designed as part of the development of the new town, by Sir Walter Tapper. Along with generous playing time, and more excellent refreshments, we were able to visit the chambers of the newly installed chancel organ with its interesting array of pipework. Our thanks to EOA Committee member Andrew Stevens for organising an excellent and fascinating day for players and non-players alike.

Tuesday 24th – Thursday 26th October 2023 – Extended visit to organs in the Portsmouth and Southampton area

A handful of intrepid EOA members booked into the Holiday Inn in Portsmouth for a few days of friendship together as part of visits to an extremely wide range of pipe organs in Portsmouth and Southampton, all organised by EOA Committee member Lyndon Ford. We began on the afternoon of Tuesday 24th October, at Southampton Guildhall, with its unique 1937 John Compton organ, complete with two consoles: (one classical of 127 stops and one theatre organ of 196 stops), creating two very different large instruments in the same hall. After the Guildhall, we headed to the rather unusual parish church of St Faith’s, Lee on the Solent. On Wednesday morning, after breakfast, we walked to Portsmouth Guildhall, which has one of the last organs that the John Compton Organ Company built in 1963. From there, we drove out to St Mark’s Church, North End, a modern Anglo-Catholic church keeping a weekly choral tradition during Sung Mass, and then to the church of All Saints, Denmead. For our last day in Portsmouth, Lyndon had fixed for us to play the organs in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John’s, and the Anglican Cathedral of St Thomas. Our sincere and very grateful thanks must go to EOA Committee Member (and Hampshire resident!) Lyndon Ford for the incredible amount of time that organising such a visit takes, and for the wonderful range of playing opportunities which he arranged for us over the three days, with organs both classical and theatrical!

Saturday 25th November 2023 – Members’ Composite Recital at St James the Great, Colchester

Four EOA members accepted the invitation to perform a wide variety of pieces of their own choice to an appreciative audience of 20 people at St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester. All four players sounded comfortable playing on the very fine organ there, originally built in 1872 by Morten and Taylor and then reduced in size to 2 manuals & pedals when it was installed in St James the Great by J W Walker in 1954, to be followed by later tonal additions and changes by Cedric Arnold in 1970. Our thanks to Philip Prior for organising this exciting event for us and to those others who performed so well for us.

Saturday 20th January 2024 – Music Quiz Night at Broomfield Church Hall

Under the excellent quiz mastering of EOA Committee member, Jonathan Lilley, two teams (one from the EOA and one from Broomfield church led by its organist Jill Parkin) fought a very competitive quiz night at Broomfield Church Hall. Jonathan’s carefully put together quiz combined aspects and styles of several quiz styles. Rounds were wide-ranging, all involving listening to recordings or Jonathan’s excellent piano playing. Our thanks must go to Jonathan for all the time he put into organising what was an excellent event, with lots of fun and laughter as well as music!

Saturday 24th February 2024 – All day visit to organs in Halstead and Earl’s Colne

Our day in visiting churches in the Colne Valley in North Essex, began at St Andrew’s Parish Church, Halstead, the medieval parish church of the town. We then moved to the next venue, just a few minutes away, St Francis RC Church, in Halstead. After lunch at the The Lion Pub, at Earls Colne, the party moved across the road to St Andrew’s Parish Church, Earls Colne. Everyone who participated enjoyed the day and the wide variety of organs we visited, and it was good to hear newer members taking to the organ bench as well.