SIR,—I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr. Beswick's "few words" in your issue of July 7. May 1, in turn, make the following comments and suggestions? Congregations take for granted where there is singing there is "the organ". "The organ was playing softly" is the sort of statement one frequently reads and hears. But very few people think actively that organs imply organists; still lCis is it realised that an organist has had to go through a long, arduous and expensive training, and that in consequence he (or she) must be a person of all-round musical ability. No organ can play of itself—it has to be played, and played properly, and this is a rkilled job.
Obviously, then, the organ and
• is player represent the king-pin of parish church music. If anyone doubts this, let him think of a church without these. The congregational singing (if any) would be half-hearted, ragged and uninspiring. If there were a choir of sorts, they would get disheartened Sunday after Sunday with no instrumental support, and probably fade iway.
It follows, then, that a good .upply of Catholic trained organsts is a necessity, and will automatically lead on to adequate organs being installed in new churches. As Mr. Beswick points out, there is no excuse whatever for any church, new or old, not having a decent pipe organ. £1,000£2,000 (the cost of a small pipeorgan) is a very modest proportion of the cost of a new church, but it must be considered a vital indispensable part of church furnishing, not an item thrown in at the end "if there's enough money".
Well-trained church organists would overwhelmingly ensure the raising of church music standards, given encouragement by parish priests: (1 like to think our hardworked P.P.s would willingly leave the music side of parish administration to their qualified organists).
Finally, what is really needed urgently. I think, is a School of Catholic Church Music for the practical training of Catholic church organists in music to a modest hut adequate standard. Training could, perhaps, be arranged locally in towns in conjunction with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
The issue of a certificate after examination of a candidate would inform a parish priest that an applicant for organist's post could safely be entrusted with the music of his church. The P.P. would also know that the certificate carries the right to a certain salary agreed on by the School.
The SCCM would also be the authority for revising the Westminster Hymnal, and act as the Cardinal's mouthpiece for all matters connected with church music and church organs.