Hi and welcome to the Norwich Organists Club, or actually our new name THE NORWICH ELECTRONIC ORGAN & KEYBOARD CLUB. As a club we have been around for over 30 years but like a lot of clubs have had a few hard times in the past few years. However in 2010 we moved from the Royal British Legion premises to a lovely new venue at Drayton Village Hall and our numbers have been steadily increasing ever since. The hall is situated next to the Drayton Red Lion Pub on the A1067 road out of Nowich, it's about 3 miles out from Asda.
We always meet on the last Tuesday of the month starting at 7.30pm and to encourage new members we only charge £6 on the door with no additional membership fee to pay. We are a friendly bunch and just want you to come and join us for a light hearted evening of excellent music and entertainment provided by one of the many leading professional organists this country has to offer, occasionally we have organists from further afield too!
As you will see from the concert list below we have some very good players lined up for you. So do come if you can, and if it's your first time please look me up (Martin, I'm the chairman) and lets have a mardle (sorry that's Norfolk for a chat).
Do come and join us - we are very friendly, our evenings are entertaining and varied, it's well worth £6.00 and you get tea or coffee with biscuits as well!
Our vibrant and friendly club has been in existence since 1972 and has been mostly successful, with monthly concerts by top visiting organists watched by a good crowd of enthusiasts. Hammond and jazz organ, traditional theatre style organ, modern orchestral arrangements and good old straight (electronic) piano playing – singing too – all have their place at our meetings.
However, a few years ago there had been a declining membership over a period of time, and ahead of the AGM in January 2010 the committee had regretfully agreed that the club would probably have to close due to lack of funds. Some staunch club members were reluctant to let this happen and amongst the suggestions to save the club was to try a change of venue. The idea of holding the club meetings at a village hall just outside of Norwich was put forward, so with support and encouragement from the members, barely any money in the kitty and no organists booked for the coming year the committee decided to make some changes and take a complete leap of faith.
Moving from an area close to the centre of the city the club re-opened in March 2010 at Drayton Village Hall on the west side of Norwich, a venue which suits us perfectly – size, location, parking in the close vicinity, and a more affordable hall rent. Some organists had been told of the club’s struggle and kindly agreed to ‘bend their fee slightly’ and came to play at very short notice during those first few wobbly months. Loyal members came along bringing their friends with them and because the hall is at the convergence of 4 large residential areas and quite a few surrounding villages, word soon got around locally that ‘The Organ Club is a good night out’ and it all started to gather pace again.
That initial local reaction was an indication that perhaps all was not lost and we were encouraged by the many new faces that were turning up each month. Previously we had an annual subscription but in order to encourage everybody to come along and discover what we are all about we decided to scrap that and now designate £1.00 from their first entrance fee each year as membership of the club; this way nobody feels they would be ‘losing money’ if they can’t get to every meeting due to the weather or health issues etc., which is especially relevant for those members who live several miles away.
To help us along the way, several local parish magazines were approached and now give us space each month to write a review of our previous concert plus a photo and some background information of our next organist, effectively giving us free advertising of our presence to young and old alike - some of these magazines are delivered free to every home, doctor’s surgery, library etc. in the parish.
Posters of the club are displayed in our local music shop and on our own notice board at the hall, plus posters and flyers are available on concert nights for anybody to take away and pin up wherever they feel is appropriate, or pass on to their friends. All members have a wallet-size membership card with the organists listed for the year so they know exactly what is happening. Added to that, a free ad on the local radio station and in the ‘What’s On’ page of the local Evening News gets our name out to the greater Norwich area and of course our page on OrganFax tells the whole world about us!
Six years on and the club is thriving again, even the raffle table offers better prizes and consequently brings in more revenue! A warm welcome greets everybody, we keep the atmosphere light-hearted and humorous and with the monthly succession of top organists and new names on the circuit providing an excellent variety of music, the audience numbers have swelled to near capacity at times; in addition to our members of many years we now have a whole new set of enthusiasts, not only those who were already aware of the ‘organ scene’ but also others who are converted to our hobby.
So, financially the club is secure for now - for some time we have been able to confidently fill our diary a couple of years ahead, including a duet concert once a year as a treat for all our supporters and visitors - but we shouldn’t become complacent. Membership numbers are good but the average age of our audience is not as young as it has been, plus committee members are hard to come by! Bums on seats and people able and willing to give up some of their time to organise the club are two necessities that have put the money back in the bank, but without both of these commodities the funds would be redundant unfortunately. Are we one of the lucky clubs that have managed to keep going? Yes, I think we are to a certain extent but there has also been a lot of thought, discussion and time spent getting to where we are today. The present committee work well together, meeting the following week after each concert. Obviously we don’t please everybody all the time so we take all comments - good and bad - seriously and try to react accordingly.
So, the changes we made plus the leap of faith have both paid off. As to the future? Well who knows, but we have our fingers crossed that the UK organ circuit map drives in the right direction because Norwich Organ and Keyboard Club is very firmly pinned on it!
Pam Barnard (Secretary)
Click on the map and drag around to get a better idea of where our venue is. You can also zoom in. Click on the marker to see address details.
|January 31st||David Last|
|February 28th||Mark Thompson|
|March 28th||David Ingley|
|April 25th||Penny Weedon|
|May 30th||Nicholas Martin B.E.M.|
|June 27th||Ryan Edwards|
|July 25th||Michael Wooldridge|
|August 29th||Chiho Sunamoto|
|August 29th||Jon Smith (more details)|
|September 26th||David Lobban|
|October 31st||Ian House|
|November 28th||Chris Powell|
|February 27th||Elizabeth Harrison|
|March 27th||John Cooper|
|April 24th||Ian Griffin|
|May 29th||David Thomas|
|July 31st||John Bowdler|
|August 28th||Tim Flint|
|September 25th||Steve Hubble|
|October 30th||Phil Brown|
|November 27th||DirkJan Ranzijn|