RCO interNational Organ Day 2021 to be the culmination of a week-long ‘festival of the organ’

RCO interNational Organ Day 2021 to be the culmination of a week-long ‘festival of the organ’

The Royal College of Organists (RCO) has announced a week-long festival for the King of Instruments, culminating in interNational Organ Day on Saturday 24 April 2021.

With 2020’s inaugural National Organ Day having been largely cancelled amid the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown, the 2021 celebrations are being designed for both live and online participation. An invitation has also been extended to organists around the world to make this an international event for the first time.

To further extend the scope and scale of activities, a week of themed days and events is being promoted by the RCO to create a full Organ Week starting from Sunday 18 April.

RCO Chief Executive Sir Andrew Parmley said: “The organ is a truly unique and wonderful musical instrument which is inspiring to hear and thrilling to play.

“Sadly, far too few people get the chance to experience this. Long-term trends such as the decline of music education in schools have been compounded dramatically over recent months by the pandemic restrictions which have seen so many instruments fall silent.

“We hope that interNational Organ Day 2021, together with of all the Organ Week events leading up to it, will help to put this right, inspiring a whole new generation of musicians and enthusiasts to embrace the King of Instruments.”

Organ Week will begin with RCO Choral Day on Sunday 18 April, with events including a special Choral Evensong.

On Wednesday 21 April, organists around the world are being encouraged to hold ‘organathons’ – fundraising performance marathons by one or more organists. RCO Chief Executive Sir Andrew Parmley will be leading the way with his own 12-hour performance at St. James Garlickhythe, City of London, to raise funds for the Lord Mayor's Appeal and the RCO's work with young people.

Friday 23 April will be RCO Children’s Day, with events in schools, conservatoires and universities.

On interNational Organ Day itself (Saturday 24 April), anyone with a passion for the organ and its music is being encouraged to take part, either by arranging events themselves or persuading nearby venues with organs to arrange recitals, workshops or demonstrations.

Organisers will be able to add their event to a global online diary, and download an information pack containing suggestions for activities, tips on organising events, and other resources including a poster template designed by competition winner and RCO member Agnes Ikuyo Nakajima CRCO.

Sir Andrew added: “The organ remains one of the true musical wonders of this, or indeed any, age. By encouraging the global organ community to pull together, we want to create opportunities for everyone, regardless of age or background or location, to find a local or online event at which they can hear, play and experience this for themselves.”

For more information and details on how to take part in Organ Week and interNational Organ Day, visit www.rco.org.uk/events/international-organ-day-2021

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