Wednesday, 31st July - 7.30 pm : Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone
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. From 1990 to 2019 he was Conductor of the Nottingham Bach Choir. Paul is a diploma Examiner for the Royal College of Organists, and 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.
Tuesday 9th July
Anne and I have just spent a very happy few days on the Isle of Wight, where I played a recital on the beautiful Mutin / Cavaillé-Coll (restored by Andrew Cooper) in Quarr Abbey and gave some organ advice at Holy Trinity, Cowes. Wonderful weather and the Island was as delightful as ever: we managed two serious walks and rather more serious meals. Let's hope the former balance out the latter.
Sunday 23rd June
Well, that's it: all good things come to an end! Last night the wonderful Nottingham Bach Choir sang their hearts out in my final concert as their Musical Director - after 29 years at the helm. From the VW Mystical Songs, Parry's Blest pair of Sirens to Haydn's Little Organ Mass and Bach's exceptionally challenging Singet dem Herrn - all were sung accurately and stylishly, with expression in the romantic pieces, elegance in the Haydn and sparkling vivacity in the Bach. No conductor could have wished for more - nor for a more enjoyable and stimulating three decades with a choir. I wish all my friends in NBC the very best wishes for an exciting future with my popular and talented successor, Dr Peter Siepmann, to whom I - literally - passed the baton at the end of the evening. Au revoir, NBC!
Sunday 16th June
It has been a challenging week for our family. My lovely mother died, aged 93, on the same day that Notre Dame, Paris, burnt, my father having died (aged 98) at the end of 2017. On Thursday June 13th (their 72nd Wedding Anniversary) we buried their combined ashes in the peaceful Arboretum Cemetery here in Bingham, following a beautiful service in Southwell Minster, conducted by my old friend and colleague Canon Nigel Coates. Family and friends came together from all over the UK, from the USA and from Italy, so it was an amazing and enriching gathering. All went well, though we do now feel emotionally and physically drained, and it's odd - even at our age - being without parents.