Saturday, 27th April - 7.30 pm : Bridlington Priory
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.
Wednesday 24th April
On Monday 15th April all my friends were glued to their screens watching in horror as the medieval roof of Notre Dâme, Paris, burnt. For the Hale family, that came at the end of an already sad day in which my beloved mother, June, died. Aged 93, she had enjoyed 70 years of happy and fulfilling marriage to my father, Lawrie, who died at the end of 2017. Her last 16 months had been spent close to us in a Care Home, where it was a joy to have seen her regularly. She will be hugely missed but remembered with enormous affection.
Wednesday 3rd April
Nicholson & Co Ltd, organ-builders of Malvern, today put on a stimulating training day for Diocesan organ advisers. Attracting DOAs from all over England—Devon to Carlisle—the day was packed with sessions on all aspects of organ restoration and conservation, including how to approach assessing what work needs doing, actions, wind, soundboards, electrics, pipe restoration, voicing, casework restoration, and so on. Warm thanks are owed to Managing Director Andrew Caskie and his skilled team for giving up an entire day to this event.
Saturday 30th March
Today will long remain in my memory, for it was the last time I shall conduct the 'St Matthew Passion' with Nottingham Bach Choir. Everything came together so well on the day—Orchestra da Camera (since my youth my favourite chamber orchestra for choral society accompaniment) on top form, along with all soloists, Rogers Covey-Crump delivering a memorable interpretation of the Evangelist's core role. NBC sang as well as or better than they ever have—they really worked hard since January on this. The long silence at the end proclaimed the effect Bach's stupendous masterwork had on everybody in Southwell Minster. And now on with preparing for my final concert with NBC, after 29 years conducting them, on June 22—Bach, Vaughan Williams, Haydn and Parry: yummy!