An evening with our President, Catherine Ennis, at St Mary-Le-Bow on 12/11/2014 by David Sutton
Our much beloved and honoured president Catherine gave us all an evening to remember. The church of St Mary-Le-Bow, Cheapside has not been visited by CLESO before and that, coupled with Catherine’s ‘conversations’ both formal and informal, made the event all the more memorable.
When she asked what was envisaged for the evening, it was suggested she talked about herself to give us a chance to find out ‘what made her tick’ and to have a party at the same time. That all happened – and more. Catherine gave us a short recital on the organ coupled with a “Desert Island Discs” presentation – her life represented in anecdote and music. This revealed her Irish heritage with tracks of Irish jigs played on the violin and folksong from the Emerald Isle and many other items. There was an unforgettable moment when she got caught up with the music and began an impromptu jig as she listened! Her schooldays at Christ’s Hospital Hertford were illustrated by a track from a carol service at which she accompanied. She was one of the illustrious few who were elevated to learning the instrument at school.
After all the formal side of things, we got down to the socialising which CLESO is so good at. The nibbles were consumed and the wine flowed and friendships were renewed, refreshed and made.
I for one managed to have a play on the lovely new Kenneth Tickell organ. As the church was open with the lights on we had one or two ‘extras’ in the form of members of the public who had dropped in to see what was going on. One (a young lad who was at the Italia Conti Drama School) seemed to be absolutely fascinated with the organ and was asking question after question. I invited him to have a closer look at the console to show him it all worked. Who knows if this has sparked an interest that he will want to develop in the future?
Thanks were expressed to Matthew Powers of St Mary’s (a one time member of CLESO) who looked after us. As far as I could see, everyone went home with a smile fixed on their faces indicating a good time had been had by all - this was also evidenced by a substantial cash donation collected from the attendees for the work of the church.
Lastly, we have to thank Catherine for giving up her valuable time to be with us, (she is currently president of the Royal College of Organists and holds many other posts of responsibility which make considerable demands on her time and energy), and for making our evening so warm and welcoming as well as being instructive at the same time. She is extremely supportive of the work of the society and CLESO is most fortunate to have her “on board”.