Organs for organists - RCO seeks partners for UK-wide practice instrument network

Organs for organists - RCO seeks partners for UK-wide practice instrument network

The RCO has launched a search for partners to help it establish a network of practice instruments as widely as possible throughout the UK.

The College is already able to offer its members access to instruments in London, thanks to a partnership with the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE).

Through this arrangement, practice time can be booked free of charge on the organs in the Grand Temple and in Room 10 at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ. The organ in the Grand Temple was built by Henry Willis III and restored and enlarged by Harrison & Harrison in 2015. It has five divisions spread over three manuals and pedal. Room 10 is home to a 2017 three-manual and pedal Regent Classic digital organ. Both organs can be booked during opening hours, subject to availability.

Now the College is hoping to extend this service with similar arrangements throughout the UK.

RCO Chief Executive Sir Andrew Parmley explained: “We know there are many excellent instruments around the country which are sadly under-used. We have already heard from a number of organisations who would love to make instruments like these available to more musicians.

“Conversely, RCO members are like most organists in having either regular or occasional need of access to practice instruments in different locations.

“We hope this network initiative can help bring organs and organists together wherever they may be, to the greatest possible advantage of all.”

The College is seeking 2-manual (or larger) instruments with fairly standard pedalboard, suitable for practising most organ repertoire. Instruments should be in good order, and can be high quality digital instruments as well as pipe organs.

Organisations which control access to the instruments need to be able to communicate reliably when the instrument is available for practice, to be able to respond promptly to requests, and have a reliable contact and booking system available. Access to the building and instrument need to be reliable (preferably within a staffed building), and there needs to be clear instructions available as to access, power, lights and any special requirements for using the organ.

Anyone with an instrument they think may be suitable for this initiative should contact the College with details via email in the first instance, via

For more information on the terms and conditions of the existing UGLE arrangements, RCO members should visit the RCO website at, sign in, and visit the Member Benefits page in the Membership section.

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