Ulster Society of
Organists and Choirmasters

Est. 1918.

News Items, Appointments, Achievements etc.


A Society Formed Receives Another Favourable Review

In a recent review article in The Irish Times, Paul Clements commented:

a society formed cover“The little celebrated work of church organists and choirmasters is recognised in A SOCIETY FORMED by Alasdair MacLaughlin, a publication marking the group’s centenary in 2017. This meticulously researched history brings an insight into cultural life at a time of social and political change. Many remarkable personalities emerge and while the book concentrates on Ulster, the connections and friendships with the Leinster Society are explored.

One of the founder members of the Ulster Society, Dr Norman Hay, a talented orchestral conductor and organist of Bangor Abbey, once applied to be secretary of Trinity College of Music London. A delegation came from London to interview him and were puzzled that although he lived in Belfast he was organist in Bangor (20km away). After pointing out their geographical ignorance, Dr Hay reportedly informed them that Bangor Co Down was ‘ handing out world – class education hundreds of years before they were painting their backsides red, white and blue’. He did not get the job.”

You can read the full text by following this link:


Members are reminded that A Society Formed is available to order online.

In Other News…

David Stevens – to become Assistant Organist, Wells Cathedral, Somerset

Ian Keatley – to become Director of Music, Southwark Cathedral

Ian began his career as a cathedral musician as a Vicar Choral at Wells Cathedral, and has served at Westminster Abbey, the Chapels Royal and the Tower of London, as well as being a former Organ Scholar at Southwark Cathedral. Ian is also a Trustee of the Charles Wood Festival and the Founding Director of the New Charles Wood Girls’ Choir.

Members will recall Ian’s involvement with USOC, including the recent Choral Workshop at St Michael’s Enniskillen in partnership with the RSCM Ireland. We wish Ian, who will be installed as Director of Music on September 8th hearty congratulations!

USOC Committee 2019

Posts vacant

McCracken Memorial Presbyterian Church, Belfast – Organist & Choir Director; fine robed choir with excellent repertoire, music library, choir-room. Organ (2mn 29 stops) by Charles Smethhurst, maintained by Wells Kennedy. Contact mccrackenmemorial@gmail.com if interested.

New Members 2019

We extend a very warm welcome to our newest members who have joined us since last year.

They are:

  • Ken Martin,
  • Ronan McQuade,
  • Kate Duffy,
  • Jason Poots,
  • Helen Long,
  • Colin Ferguson,
  • Natalie Bell and
  • Christopher Jenkins.

We wish them all a long and fruitful membership with the Society!

Other News

Mr David McElderry

Message from the President: It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of our highly esteemed Honorary Member and former President, Mr David McElderry. David’s life-long contribution to organ and choral music in Ulster is immeasurable. The Ulster Society...

RSCM Voice for Life Taster Session

Our Friends at RSCM Ireland are holding a Voice for Life taster session on Saturday 28 September between 2 and 4PM in Holywood Parish Hall. Blánaid Murphy, Director of Music at St Mary's Pro Cathedral, Dublin will be leading this...

Psalms Online with Church Music Dublin

Church Music Dublin has commenced an ambitious project to put the Psalm(s) for each Sunday of the liturgical year online, with an accompanying chant. This follows the very successful seminar, led by Ian Keatley, at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin in March 2019, which...

Latest Newsletter

Download the latest edition of our newsletter from October 2021.

Coffee Morning at St Peter's Cathedral; Programme of Events; Summary of Past Events; Advertisements of Interest

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Ulster Society for
Organists and Choirmasters

Est. 1918.