Organ virtuoso returns to St Wilfrid’s Church for celebrations

Richard Toms
Richard Toms

St Wilfrid’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations offer an ambitious organ recital by its former director of music, on Saturday, August 22.

Following the great success and critical acclaim of its first two 150th anniversary concerts this summer – a classical guitar recital by Paul Gregory and an evening of jazz with the Chris Morgan Quintet – St Wilfrid’s Church, Haywards Heath, welcomes back Sussex based organ virtuoso Richard Toms at 7pm.

Richard is very familiar with the instrument, which was built by Kenneth Tickell in 1998 and has attracted world famous players, including Wayne Marshall and Dame Gillian Weir.

St Wilfrid’s organist and director of music from 2001 to 2009, Richard is a former Organ Scholar at Oriel College, Oxford.

He is well-known in London and the South East.

In Sussex, his reputation has been enhanced through the Brighton Festival and his performances at Ardingly College Chapel; St Bartholomew’s, Brighton; St John’s, Hove; and elsewhere.

Richard aims to show off the wide-ranging qualities of the Tickell organ, which was designed for the fine acoustic of St Wilfrid’s. His programme includes Bossi’s Scherzo in G minor, Beethoven’s Allegro for Mechanical Organ, Mushel’s Toccata, Sweelinck’s Variations on Under the Linden Tree Green and the seasonally appropriate Song of Sunshine by Hollins.

Richard also plays an engaging and challenging showpiece – the rarely heard Pastorale by Roger-Ducasse (his only piece for organ) written in 1909.

This is balanced by the magisterial Prelude and Fugue on BACH by Liszt.

The programme ends with the uplifting Chant de joie (Song of Joy) by Naji Hakim.

Hakim’s Song of Joy is a ‘moto perpetuo’ of organ writing inspired by Psalm 150; it follows a rondo form and includes several folkloric tunes.

Tickets are available at £10 (accompanied under-18s, £2). People can buy tickets on the night, at services at St Wilfrid’s, or from the Parish Office, St Wilfrid’s Way (open 9.30am to 11am, Tuesday to Friday, 01444 412339). Tickets are also available for the final St Wilfrid’s 150th Anniversary concert, which features the New Sussex Singers, on Saturday, September 19 (7pm).

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