Are you yourself an organist in financial difficulties?
Being an organist is a vocation. Exciting and uplifting performances of the magnificent music of Bach, Franck and Messiaen are the result of years of training and hard work. Keeping in practice is time-consuming. And yet organists of all ages - and all levels of competence - dedicate themselves to serving their churches, their congregations and their audiences through their music, year after year, and often with little financial reward.
How often do we stop to consider the musician at the console? Would we know if that person was suffering hardship? Might your treasured organist be too proud to admit that help is needed? Are you yourself an organist, or perhaps an organist’s widow, who is unable to make ends meet, maybe as a result of accident or illness?
The Organists Charitable Trust will try to provide assistance when it is most needed, as it has been doing for over a century. The help usually takes the form of either a small lump sum or quarterly payments. There is no minimum or maximum age for beneficiaries.
Applications are dealt with in complete confidence and, if necessary, with speed.
Recent recipients of grants (with names and key facts changed to avoid any possibility of identification) include the following:
Angela, 77, an organist for 46 years, was wheelchair-bound at home with severe sight loss but an active mind. Her greatest wish was to stay in her home, but the cost of carers was high. The OCT made a contribution.
Tragedy struck Peter, 43, self-employed organist and piano teacher, when his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her earnings as an IT consultant ceased, and Peter was left to look after their four children. The OCT was able to pay for a car repair which enabled Peter and the family to visit his wife in hospital.
Anne, the elderly widow of a lifelong organist in the north of England, needed a handrail to be installed outside her house, to enable her to negotiate a steep path safely. A one-off grant was given to pay for this work.
A well-known retired concert organist suffered a personal and financial crisis. His younger partner had died. Bills were piling up. The OCT paid the urgent bills and helped him re-organise his affairs.
A 21-year-old organ student at a music conservatoire, who came from a one-parent family and was seriously encumbered by debt, needed to attend an important masterclass in Paris for young organists. A grant from the OCT made this possible.
Clergy and church officials may well know of loyal organists in similar positions, but it is the Organists Charitable Trust which needs to be told, if we are to help.