Council

Professor Dr Maurice Merrell

KStG DLitt DMus FISOB FGMS FSCO FCCM FIGOC FHCO FGCO HonFNCM FIAL(Lond) CompCIL FMCM FRSA
Master and Chairman of Council

Maurice Merrell has had a life-long involvement with all aspects of organ and church music. He is an organist of much experience, and was for thirty years Organist and Director of Music at the Central London church of St. George, Bloomsbury. There he played for a wide range of services, bringing him into contact with choirs and soloists, and also planning and organising many prestigious recitals and concerts. He is Managing Director of the well-known and long-established firm of organ-builders Bishop and Son, a position he has held for many years. Besides being a Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Organ Builders (also serving on the Council) he is a past President of the London Organists’ Guild and President of the Society of Crematorium Organists.

Maurice Merrell is a Founder Member of the Guild of Musicians and Singers and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1981.

Dr Michael Walsh

DMus ThD GTCL FTCL HonFNCM HonFGCM FGMS
Secretary-General and Magazine Editor

Michael Walsh studied singing and organ at the RSCM and Trinity College of Music where he was awarded prizes for choir training, conducting and research. His main performing interest has always been in sacred music and, after eighteen years as Head of Music at a large comprehensive school and nearly thirty years as a Lay Clerk in Chichester and Portsmouth Cathedral Choirs, he now divides his time between working as a freelance musician and as the owner of The Better Book Company, a publishing company based in Chichester.

He was associated with the St. Richard Singers of Chichester for over 40 years (23 as Conductor), and currently sings with the chamber choir Chichester Voices, to whom he is chairman and composer-in-residence. He was Artistic Director and Conductor of the Chichester Symphony Orchestra and for almost 35 years was Musical Director of the Chichester Amateur Operatic Society. In 2016 he was appointed Principal of the National College of Music and Arts, London. He is the General Secretary of the Guild of Church Musicians and has been Editor of their magazine Laudate for over 60 issues.

John Balsdon

B.Ed Hon.MBA P.G.Dip.StratManag FVCM FGMS FIAL(Lond) FRSA
Secretary to the Council

John started his life in music with singing and piano lessons at the age of 6. Shortly after this he joined his local church choir in Portishead near Bristol. It was during these early years that he first sang in a cathedral – Wells – as part of an RSCM music festival. He won a choral scholarship to the cathedral choir at Gloucester where he was a chorister under Herbert Sumsion and John Sanders for four years.

Whilst at school there he continued with lessons in piano and ’cello. Throughout his life he has retained close contact with the life, work and music of the Cathedral at Gloucester which culminated last year with the publication of his book The Organ of Gloucester Cathedral – a story in Words, Pictures and Sound.

However John’s interest in music extends far beyond the world of the organ. He has a keen interest in making live recordings, sound engineering and production, having many historic recordings from Gloucester and the world of classical music in general.

Daniel Spencer

FGMS FCCM FISOB
Registrar

Daniel’s love of music began studying the Piano as a young teenager soon progressing to brass instruments, principally the Trumpet, sitting various examinations for both of these instruments. Later Daniel took the opportunity to take up the Violin, Clarinet, Guitar and the Bagpipes as the opportunities arose. Daniel has played for public performances in several of the large concert venues in London including The Royal Albert Hall and The Barbican and many other locations both as a soloist and with various orchestras and other groups.

Ultimately, Daniel settled with his passion for the organ and Church music, studying organ with Jonathan Melling. In his professional life, Daniel is employed by a long established firm of organbuilders where he has spent much of his working life and serves with them as Company Secretary and London Works Manager. Naturally, his working environment has kindled Daniel’s musical development and he has developed a special interest in tone colour and has been able to work on his organ playing and choral interests. Daniel has worked with several choirs, both as a singer and as Choirmaster. He has performed as a Soloist on many occasions but now sings between his other commitments with the London Ripieno Singers under the direction of Geoffrey Hanson.