Celebrity organ recital at Clitheroe parish church

James Lancelot. Photo courtesy of Colin Garfield.
James Lancelot. Photo courtesy of Colin Garfield.

With organ music returning to Clitheroe Parish Church a celebrity recital is due to take place next week.

The parish church has a long tradition of organ music which began in 1961 when the organ was extensively rebuilt.

The organist at the time, Charles Myers, and vicar, Canon Alan Clark, founded the Clitheroe Parish Church Organ Society which organised around eight recitals each year attracting organists from most of the UK’s cathedrals, concert organists, and international organists from Notre Dame, Paris, and St Peter’s, Rome. Over the course of the following 47 years the society hosted approximately 350 recitals.

Last year, the present director of music David Thornton introduced a series of monthly lunchtime organ recitals on the first Tuesday of the month from 1 to approximately 1-40pm.

These proved very popular and, as Tuesday is a market day with more people being in town, last year the average audience size was around 40 people.

As well as general programmes David also played some themed programmes. These included wedding music to celebrate the wedding of Megan and Harry, English music for the World Cup, an All Bach programme, an All French programme and, of course, Christmas Music.

And for those who missed the first recital in the 2019 series, there will be the opportunity to enjoy the first celebrity recital of the year with James Lancelot on Tuesday, February 19th.

A distinguished church musician and one of the country’s foremost organ recitalists, James began his musical career as a boy chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral, gaining his FRCO diploma whilst still at school.

An organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, under Sir David Wilcox, as well as sub organist at Winchester Cathedral, he has recently retired from Durham Cathedral where he was master of the choristers and organist for 32 years. This retirement was rather short lived as he is now acting director of music at Worcester Cathedral.

It is free admission to all the organ recitals, although donations are greatly appreciated.