|THE SCHOOL OF ENGLISH CHURCH MUSIC
Sir Sydney Nicholson, organist of Westminster Abbey, inaugurated the School of English Church Music (SECM) at a meeting in the Jerusalem Chamber (right) of Westminster Abbey on 6 December 1927, the feast of St Nicolas (patron saint of choirboys and children), as a training college for church musicians (the College of St Nicolas), with an association of affiliated churches committed to high standards. The School operated from Buller's Wood (right) in Chislehurst, Kent from 1929 to 1939, but closed at the outbreak of war when most students were called up for military service. During those first ten years major choral festivals were held in London, in 1930 (Royal Albert Hall), 1933 and 1936 (Crystal Palace), and the number of affiliated churches reached 1300 worldwide. During the war Sir Sydney continued his itinerant teaching at diocesan and parish level from St Michael's College, Tenbury (right), and then from Leamington Spa.
THE ROYAL SCHOOL OF CHURCH MUSIC
In 1945, the SECM became the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), operating from within the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, and the College of St Nicolas re-opened there in January 1946. By 1952 over 3000 churches were affiliated.
In 1954 the RSCM and the College of St Nicolas moved to Addington Palace near Croydon, former country residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Gerald Knight was Director and Cyril Taylor was Warden in charge of education. In 1973 Lionel Dakers succeeded Gerald Knight as Director, followed by Harry Bramma in 1989. The College of St Nicolas closed in 1974, and the RSCM concentrated on short courses and work in the regions with a new structure of voluntary committees. By 1980 there were some 10,000 affiliates.
From 1996 to 2006 the RSCM's administrative headquarters was at Cleveland Lodge, near Dorking, the former home of the organist and musicologist Lady Susi Jeans. The Director General from 1998 to 2007 was Professor John Harper
In 2006 RSCM Headquarters moved once again to Salisbury, where it shares the facilities of Sarum College. Details. Our first Director there was Lindsay Gray; he has recently been succeeded by Andrew Reid, who comes to us from Peterborough cathedral.
St Michael's, Tenbury
Andrew Reid, the RSCM's new Director