AS a church organist, I was extremely disappointed to read the front page story "Organist walks out on wedding," (LET, October 4).

Having known Mr Guy Pomfret for some time, I know that he is an extremely committed, competent and professional church organist and freelance musician, well known in the locality for his work with many amateur and charitable groups.

While one cannot condone the fact that Mr Pomfret did storm out of St Luke's Church shortly before a wedding, obviously causing great distress to the families concerned, I think it is extremely important that he is not left to "carry the can" so to speak.

The article was very one sided and did not carry the full version of events and circumstances.

All clergy in the Church of England have, during the last few months, been made aware of organists' salaries and fees, as well as details of the Performers Protection Act/Copyright, Designs and Patent Acts 1988, which states categorically that a musician is entitled to an additional fee of 100 per cent if a video recording is made.

The acts also state quite clearly that the performer's consent must be obtained in writing, before any recording is made. It is obvious that the Rev Peter Grierson has handled the whole situation in an appalling way and he should not have let the situation get out of hand in the first place. The situation at St Luke's has highlighted the extremely poor relationships that exist between organists and clergy in the Church of England.

There is a desperate shortage of church organists, due to the extremely low pay, poor training and bad working conditions, combined with bitter disputes in some churches about the type of music used in services ("happy clappies" versus the "traditionalists" etc etc.

Some clergy have a lot to learn about working relationships with their musicians. It is about time that clergy got off their high horses and started to treat their musicians as colleagues instead of just a hired servant who can be trodden on at will.

During 15 years as a church organist in three parishes, I have been extremely lucky in having excellent working relationships with three fine clergymen, all of whom have supported me in every aspect of my ministry.

Good relationships do exist. If more church organists regarded what they do as a ministry instead of just a job, churches and church music would be in a far healthier state.

After this episode, I very much doubt that the Rev Peter Grierson will find another church organist, but if he does, I sincerely hope that he treats him or her with a little more courtesy than he has Guy Pomfret.

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