Saturday, 28th April - 7.30 pm : St James Church, Spilsby, Lincolnshire
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.
Sunday 8th April..
Just back from a satisfyingly busy weekend. Saturday was spent at Trinity Church in Leek, teaching twelve members of the highly commendable (and really motivated) Leek Churches Organ School. Smashing old 3-manual tracker Jardine, too. Then on to spend the night at an old friend's in Wilmslow before spending Sunday at St Philip & St James in Alderley Edge, attending their excellent Sung Eucharist (congregational singing superbly led by their choir and organist) and then climbing around the slightly ailing organ to assess what needs doing to it. The perfect Sunday!
Saturday 24th March..
I was so moved and thrilled by the Nottingham Bach Choir & Orchestra's St John Passion on the eve of Palm Sunday. The choir had been on tremendous form all term and to conduct a flowing and emotionally charged performance, with Ruairi Bowen on compelling form as Evangelist was a real treat for me, especially as it's my last with NBC before retiring after 30 years, in June 2019.
Sunday 4th March..
My birthday on 4th March was celebrated in grand style as I gave an organ recital at St Paul's cathedral. It's always a thrill and a challenge playing that colossal instrument - and that colossal acoustic - and I was determined to display as many of its colours as I could. Michael Broadway - who keeps the organ miraculously in perfect tune - was kind enough to say how much he enjoyed my registrations, particularly the prominent use of the Willis III Contra Bass in a pedal solo, the massed strings, and the Trompette Militaire. Despite the appalling weather there was a good turn-out, and my former organ scholar Peter Holder, now Sub Organist at Westminster Abbey, was good enough to turn pages for me despite a busy day at the Abbey. All in all, a memorable 66th birthday!
Saturday 17th February..
It is always an honour to be invited to give a recital on an organ for which I have had some responsibility, whether as a Diocesan Organ Adviser or acting as a professional consultant. Some organs, however, remain a challenge to play, especially when restored without alteration or modernisation. One such is Potterhanworth, in the middle of the Lincolnshire countryside, where today I shared the billing with the splendid John Campbell, Dean's Verger at Lincoln Cathedral, who spoke both amusingly and profoundly about his experiences over 40 years as a verger. The organ is a one-manual with a nightmare of a pedalboard; however, it sounds lovely and all at Potterhanworth were happy, which is all that matters.