History of the TDOA

The Torbay and District Organists’ Association was formed in the 1950s as an association of church organists and those interested in church organ music, to enable them to meet together and visit other organs in the area. A second aim has been to further the interest in church organs and organ music, and to encourage all those with similar interests to enjoy their work, and to share their experiences with others who do likewise.

Two Honorary Life Members have been created. The first, Deryck Seymour, was the organist of St. Mary Magdalene, Upton, Torquay, between 1945 and 1975. He had an article on that organ published in “The Organ”, and wrote several books on organs and other subjects, for which he was well known in South Devon. He died in 2006.

Our second Honorary Life Member is John Hopwood. His honorary membership was created at the 2004 AGM, which, we understand, was the 50th. anniversary of his joining the association. John was the organist of Paignton Parish Church for approximately 35 years, and in his mid 80s still played as a relief organist in the Torbay area. He passed away on 1st April 2010.

The Association stopped meeting actively for a while, but in the early 1990s it was resurrected by some of the remaining members, and has, since that time, met on the third Saturday of most months to make a visit to one or two churches in the Devon area.

In some recent years, we have had an Annual Outing to somewhere further afield. Also, every second year we join with the Plymouth and District Organists’ Association, the Exeter and District Organists’ Association and the Cornwall Organists’ Association to create a joint event for members of the three associations to meet, often including a masterclass, visits to various local organs, and finishing with a recital in the evening. We call this our peninsular day and it usually occurs in May.