Tuesday, 1st August - 12.30 pm : Selby Abbey
Paul is a former cathedral organist, most of whose time is now spent as a professional organ consultant and recitalist.
Paul was Rector Chori and Cathedral Organist at Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire, from 1989 to 2016, having previously been Assistant Organist of Rochester Cathedral, Assistant Director of Music at Tonbridge School and Organ Scholar of New College, Oxford, where he studied with Sir David Lumsden and Professor Nicholas Danby, gaining an MA in Music. He is Conductor of the Nottingham Bach Choir and a diploma Examiner for the Royal College of Organists. He is also Organ Adviser to the dioceses of Southwell & Nottingham and of Lincoln.
Independent Organ Adviser
As an Accredited Member of the Association of Independent Organ Advisers Paul is in great demand throughout the UK and beyond as an organ consultant. New or restored instruments for which he currently has, or has had responsibility can be found in thirteen cathedrals, in universities such as Glasgow, Manchester and Sussex, great churches such as Bridlington Priory and Selby Abbey, schools such as Glenalmond, Repton and Marlborough, concert halls such as Leicester’s De Montfort Hall and a large number of churches of all denominations.
He teaches the organ and trained a stream of organ scholars at Southwell, Rochester and Tonbridge—many of whom have gone on to have distinguished careers. He holds the FRCO and ARCM organ performance diplomas, has been elected an FRSA and has been awarded an Honorary FGCM and an Honorary FRCSM for “distinguished services to Church Music”. Paul was President of the Cathedral Organists Association 1999–2001, is Secretary of the annual Diocesan Organ Advisers’ Conference, has twice been President of the Nottingham & District Society of Organists, and has been a Trustee of the Royal College of Organists, the Nottingham Albert Hall Binns Trust, the East Midlands Choirs Trust and the Percy Whitlock Trust, also having served as Chairman of the RSCM Southwell & Nottinghamshire Area for many years.
Paul is a regular guest choral conductor in the UK and abroad (Europe and USA) for festivals, choral workshops and summer schools, having done much work for the RSCM over the years. As a player he has performed in most of the major venues in the UK, also playing abroad (2005 Brussels Cathedral, 2007 St-Sulpice, Paris; 2008 Norway; 2010 Altenberg, 2013 Weingarten, 2015 Madgeburg, etc), as well as appearing on television and radio. His organ and Southwell Minster Choir recordings have been warmly received in the musical press.
Paul is well known for his writings on the organ (he is a consultant and author for The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians) and for reviews in the international journal Organists’ Review, of which he was Editor from 1992–2005. His published books include historical accounts of the organs of Tonbridge School, Rochester Cathedral, Southwell Cathedral, and, most recently, New College Oxford (Positif Press, Oxford, 2015).
On the 9th of June at Lambeth Palace the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred upon Paul the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship.
The citation read:
For his distinguished service as Rector Chori and Cathedral Organist at Southwell Minster and as one of the UK’s foremost organ consultants.
Paul Hale has given Southwell Minster and the Diocese immense and devoted service over 27 years - an outworking of his own strong faith. In his time the Cathedral’s musical tradition has been developed and enhanced, with generations of choristers, lay clerks and organ scholars benefiting from his expertise in conducting, playing and teaching. He founded the Southwell Minster Choir Association, the Minster Chorale and the Girls’ Choir and established an annual St Cecilia concert. Such is the outstanding level of interest and support for music of the highest quality, which Paul has fostered, that Southwell now has an Annual Music Festival centred in the Minster.
As one of the UK’s foremost organ consultants, Paul has contributed to the installation and renovation of important large instruments in cathedrals and churches and the design of new ones.
Monday 17th July
Most enjoyable day yesterday, revisiting St Mary's, Kidlington, where in 1974-6 I helped Richard Vendome build an organ at the west end, based on the Fr Willis previously in the north transept. It has choruswork made for us by Giesecke, who also made the spectacular horizontal trumpet. The late Martin Goetze and Kenneth Tickell did most of the voicing. David Hewett, Richard and I played, as did George Inscoe, who gave the world premiere of Richard' "Eclats", specially composed for the event. Amazing to think that forty years has past - my entire working life. The organ sounds as good as ever and works well. Very happy about that!
Friday 14th July
Just back from a highly enjoyable couple of days at Aylsham in Norfolk, where last night I gave the third recital in the re-opening series on a remarkable 1911 Norman & Beard. Henry Willis & Co has recently completed an immaculate restoration, including its complex pneumatic action and its rare push stop/button console, as designed by the blind Alfred Hollins. It sounds a treat.
Tuesday 4th July
Thanks to the enormous help of Jonathan and Paul of Henry Groves & Son, our Nottingham organ-builders, my house organ is installed in our new music room. It is now playing and almost complete, with just the piston system to install now; more updates when all is done.
Saturday 1st July
This past week I have surveyed and written up two fine Edwardian three-manual organs by first-class Northern makers: one by Albert Keates of Sheffield, the other by Ernest Wadsworth of Manchester. Both are under threat, one for financial reasons and one through congregational apathy. Nothing new there, of course, but in looking at the quality of materials and construction of these organs and thinking just how many like them are threatened with removal, I felt I must do all I possibly can to inspire the churches to keep them. But you can't win them all.