Here’s some very sad news from the UK. While they are in the midst of the “austerity” effort in many areas of their society, one does not normally associate cutting out organ concerts and removing organists with reducing a governmental deficit. The powers-that-be ignorantly tried this with Carol Williams, the beloved organist of the City of San Diego, and found much anger instead.
The long-established concert season at Huddersfield Town Hall has been under threat for some time now, but it was still something of a shock when borough organist Dr Gordon Stewart found a redundancy letter on his doormat. He is enormously saddened that, after 25 years of providing a popular programme of world-class music, his services will no longer be required when the current season ends.
Savage cuts to local government funding up and down the country are affecting arts provision and it was announced over a year ago that the public concert series in Kirklees’ town halls, which includes lunchtime recitals and evenings with the Orchestra of Opera North and other leading ensembles, would be affected.
While Gordon knew his concerts were at risk, he hoped he would be given time to prepare for a final farewell season. Instead, he had already drawn up the new season’s programme when he received his redundancy notice.