Welcome to the website for Saltcoats St Cuthbert’s Church. Our pages contains information on all our organisations, our church services and the church history.
The May edition of our magazine is now available to view by clicking here.
The end of an era has been reached with the retiral of our much-loved organist and choir mistress – Joan Gordon.
At the organ for over thirty-five years – one third of the life of this beautiful place of worship – Joan was already involved in the music of St. Cuthbert’s as a much-valued member of the alto section of our choir. Her remarkable prowess at the organ became apparent in 1969 when she accompanied the then current organist, Lex Dunlop, while he conducted the congregation during a number of Songs of Praise recordings. Some of the senior members may recall her playing in Landsborough Trinity Church prior to taking up her position here.
She was appointed in 1979 near the end of the ministry of Rev. George Balls and continued to serve in her role for Rev. John Johnston, Rev. Brian Oxburgh and Rev. Arthur Sherratt.
Until this recent period of ill health, Joan rarely has been absent from her seat at the organ, and days off and holidays were few and far between.
During her reign, the tradition of musical excellence associated with St. Cuthbert’s Church has been maintained and sustained and, with the continued support of the choir, she has presented the regular Sunday anthems and occasional introits.
One of her lasting legacies will be the memorable Annual Charity Concerts produced in association with the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Rotary Club. With her numerous musical contacts in the Three Towns area, Joan was able to recruit additional singers to augment our choir for these large and popular events. A considerable number of her former students, many of whom have made professional careers at home and abroad, have returned to perform to support Joan’s efforts and express their gratitude for her instruction and guidance in their early years. Four years ago many of these individuals and choristers reassembled to present a “surprise” concert to celebrate her 80th birthday. Rotary recognised and honoured her contribution towards their charity fund-raising by making her a Paul Harris Fellow.
Over the years, choir members have, with Joan’s encouragement, taken part in musical occasions in Glasgow Cathedral, St. Giles, Paisley Abbey and Ayr organised by the Royal School of Church Music, as well as smaller, less formal presentations in South Beach House and in the locality.
During her teaching career she has introduced many young people to singing, piano and organ-playing and we in St. Cuthbert’s have been privileged to benefit from the fruits of her labour with performances at concerts or little afternoon recitals.
Joan became an accomplished organist at an early age and has often recalled cycling for many years from Skelmorlie to play at morning service in Fairlie Church. Can’t imagine many youngsters finding that too appealing nowadays! This would suggest that she has been organ-playing for well in excess of sixty years.
Her infectious passion for music has been spread far and wide and, on occasions during morning service, the congregation has experienced her in full teacher mode exhorting them to “give it laldy” while encouraging the Sunday School to sing it again – “I’m sure you can sing much louder than that!”
Although the organist is partially hidden, gathering on Sunday mornings, members immediately knew who was playing as few can quite make the rafters ring like Joan can with the sound from that marvellous instrument.
There cannot be many more loyal and devoted servants to our church, and Joan will be a hugely difficult and near-impossible act to follow.
We send her our thanks, our prayers, and our love and best wishes in her retirement.
The April edition of our magazine is now available to view by clicking here.
He/she will be required to prepare with the choir the praise list provided by the minister and an anthem/introit to lead the congregation in their Sunday worship.
The service, which is a traditional one, commences at 10.45am and is ordinarily concluded by 11.45am. The organ is played while the congregation gathers and retires and for hymns and anthems.
The church was built in 1908 and a three manual pipe organ was installed in 1912 by Hilsdon & Company, Organ Builders Glasgow. The organ has been well maintained with changes over the years being made to the original blowing apparatus from hydraulic power as well as various console adjustments.
Colonel Winn’s “Interim list of Scottish Organ’s” records that it was built in 1912 by Hilsdon and rebuilt in 1966 by Rushworth & Dreaper. The entry confirms that after the rebuild it has 3 manuals and pedals and a total of 23 stops. It is played every Sunday, and is believed to be one of the finest organs of this type still in regular use.
Within the church and adjacent to the organ is a clavinova which can be played on smaller more informal occasions or when it is deemed more appropriate for the particular item of praise. This can be moved through to the main hall for organisation displays or in the event of a last minute heating malfunction in the church!
There is also a further piano in the choir rehearsal room which is routinely tuned along with the organ.
Unless the weather is particularly inclement, the choir usually meets between September and June on an evening at 7.30pm to prepare the Sunday praise list and forthcoming anthems.
The choir, most of whom have been members for many years, have an extensive repertoire of anthems and look forward to expanding that with any new music and challenges that a new enthusiastic director might bring to the position.
Although the much preferred option is for one individual to fill this role it is realised that in practical terms for someone to commit themselves for every Sunday will be too much.
It may be that to fill this vacancy a job share may have to be considered. Anyone interested but who is unavailable for the sole post should still apply indicating their availability and their wish to be considered if it is found necessary to pursue that option.
Standard Church of Scotland contract and salary scales.
Interested parties requiring further information should contact:
Mrs. Rosemary Smith, 01294 465877
Applications, including details of current or previous experience should be made by 15 April.
The March edition of our magazine is now available to view by clicking here