RCO celebrates 150 years with Conferment & Anniversary Evensong

RCO celebrates 150 years with Conferment & Anniversary Evensong

The Royal College of Organists marked its 150th anniversary with a full day of events at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 8th March.

Coinciding almost to the day with the anniversary of the foundation of the College in 1864, the celebrations began with the annual Conferment of Diplomas ceremony, at which Diplomas and Certificates were awarded to 57 Members of the College.

The Medal of the Royal College of Organists was awarded to two of the most celebrated names in the organ world: Dr Simon Preston CBE, in recognition of distinguished achievement in organ performance and choral conducting; and Dr John Rutter CBE, in recognition of distinguished achievement in choral arrangement, composition, and conducting.

The Ede and Ravenscroft Recital, featuring music by Reger, JS Bach, Franck and Medal recipient Simon Preston, was then performed by Daniel Hyde.

Leading into a special Choral Evensong, Stephen Disley played Voluntaries including pieces by RCO student composition competition winner Richard Gowers and runner-up Bertie Baignent, and a specially commissioned piece by Bryan Kelly.

And the day concluded with a special Choral Evensong including an address by former Archbishop of Canterbury Baron Williams of Oystermouth.

Music for the service was drawn from compositions by RCO luminaries, researched by Past President Peter Wright, organist of Southwark Cathedral, and RCO Director of Academic Development Andrew McCrea.

Speaking during the Conferment ceremony, RCO President Catherine Ennis said: “It is almost to the day 150 years since The College of Organists was founded, the brainchild of a group of organists spearheaded by Richard Limpus, Organist of St. Michael’s, Cornhill, just across the river from here.

“Since those earliest days, choir training and techniques of composition have always been central to the College, so it is appropriate that the second major celebration of our anniversary is Choral Evensong, which follows this Conferment ceremony.

“From here on, as our anniversary year unfolds, I am delighted to say that the celebrations continue wherever the College has members and friends.

“In fact, with so many happy events to mark the anniversary – and all this on top of the usual crammed schedule of education, examination, membership services and governance which is the day-to-day programme of the college – it’s going to be a very busy year!”

The successful examination candidates and prize winners were:


Summer 2013
Louisa Denby (Petersfield)
David Dewar (Chippenham)
Dr Lorraine Everett (Southend-on-Sea)
Matthew Merrett (Grantham)

Winter 2014

Peter Hayward (London)
The Revd Howard Munro (St Lucia, Queensland, Australia)
Nigel Poole (Palmerston, ACT, Australia)
John Ross (Eastbourne)
Michał Szostak (Lichen Stary, Poland)
Alexander Tucker (Sevenoaks)
Rosemary Vinter (Chichester)
John Warren (Harlow)


Summer 2013
Mark Bromley (Tonbridge)
Anthony Daly (Bromley)
William Fox (Wells)
Nicolas Haigh (York)
Jonathan Hope (Winchester)
Chon Lam (Northampton)
Ronan Murray (Killiney, Eire)
Martyn Noble (Leicester)
James Orford (Bromley)
Kris Thomsett (Norwich)
David Todd (Solihull)
Edward Turner (Southwell)
Wayne Weaver (Edinburgh)
Benedict Wilson (Bourne)

Winter 2014
Karen Au (Blackburn)
Christopher Burrows (Newbury)
Stephen Craig (Mölndal, Sweden)
Jacob Ewens (London)
Nicky Fraser (Edinburgh)
Alexander Hamilton (Northwood)
James Hardie (Prestonpans)
Sina Lari (London)
David Lawson (Ross-on-Wye)
Nicholas Miller (Liverpool)
David Quinn (Durham)
Robert Scamardella (Hailsham)
Tiffany Vong (Hong Kong, China)
Alexander West (Exeter)


Autumn 2013
Dr Tim Williams (Grantham)


Summer 2013
Thomas Allery (Oxford)
Benjamin Bloor (Oxford)
Andrew Cantrill (Bures St Mary)
David Hall (Eastleigh)
David Hardie (Altrincham)
Dorothea Harris (Detmold, Germany)
Michael Papadopoulos (London)
Owain Park (Bristol)
Edward Symington (High Wycombe)

Winter 2014
Ben Comeau (Cambridge)
Charles Hubbard (Cambridge)
John Mountford (Reading)
Alexander Pott (Watford)
Jonathan Stamp (Hockley)
William Vann (London)
Henry Websdale (Winchester)
Dr Tim Williams (Grantham)

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