The Chairman of FOMHM Writes

As of January 2013, I am taking over from Philip Tordoff in looking after the Friends of the Music and organising the recitals and concerts at the Minster. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Philip for all his work over the years in developing such a fine reputation for the organ music at the Minster. There is so much on which to build in the coming years. As a token of our appreciation, Philip has become the first President of the Friends.

A small committee – reporting to the Parochial Church Council – has been set up to help me develop the Friends as an institution that will organise:

  • The weekly organ recitals
  • Regular celebrity organ recitals
  • Other concerts and recitals within the Minster
  • Fund raising for the organ(s) and the choir(s)
  • Recruitment of new Friends
  • Promotion of the choir (including recruitment) and the organ
  • Friends’ events
  • A database of members
  • A database of performers
  • An online presence through the Minster website, social networking sites and other online services, as developed
  • Information and publicity relating to music making within the Minster

The weekly recitals for January to March 2013 have already been organised and we hope to continue planning the Thursday events three months in advance. Two celebrity organ recitals (both starting at 7.30pm) have been booked to take place during the Halifax Festival. On 6th July, Ian Tracey, Organist Titulaire of Liverpool Cathedral will be the recitalist, while on 13th July Darius Battiwalla will make a return visit to the Minster. We are hoping that his performance will include improvising to silent film.

As is well known, the Harrison organ requires a full restoration in the near future, and money raised from these and other events and activities will help to defray the costs. The Minster has been given a 1770/1860 Snetzler/Hill organ which will be very useful for both services and concerts, as well as supporting the work of the Halifax Organ Academy. While this instrument is playable, it also requires restoration and the Friends’ contribution will be vital in ensuring that we secure this rich piece of our heritage. The administration arrangements are now largely in place and we will be looking for two members of the Friends to join the organising committee in the New Year. Subscription rates remain unchanged for 2013 and renewal information will shortly be dispatched. We strongly encourage members to gift aid their subscriptions and any other donations that they care to make.

Professor David Baker,
Chairman, Friends of the Music of Halifax Minster