Landmark for popular lockdown organ concert

A wildly successful online organ recital delighting members of a Bellshill church and far beyond it during lockdown will soon reach the landmark of its 50th concert.

Alan is the organist at Bellshill Central Parish Church

Bellshill Central Parish Church may be shut, but the means by which members are banding together in the digital world revolves around specially organised events like The Organist Entertains with the church’s own Maestro Alan Mathew doing the honours.

The ‘Golden’ recital will take place on Wednesday, February 24 and a large audience for this could be reasonably expected as the previous recitals have notched up more than 24,000 views to date!

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Deciding that raising its online profile was the way forward for the church during the pandemic, Alan was determined to harness the power of music through his recitals via the parish website in a move that grew because, quite simply, it cheered people up.

Alan (42) said: "From the earliest videos of just a couple of songs, requests grew and viewers grew.

"It went from 10 minutes to 20 minutes to where we are now, at over an hour each week.

“It makes me feel like I'm part of the BCPC team, who are all having to do things differently during this time to keep people busy, having a focus, and connected with their church. I know that Wednesday is sacred in lots of homes, and at 8pm the TV or iPad comes on and they settle down for the next episode.

“For this special occasion I have invited people to join me on screen, virtually of course, to say how they've enjoyed the videos and how they've helped people keep a focus and connected.”

Pastor Kevin de Beer said: “We are blessed with a truly committed and creative organist with Alan.

“He started this in a bid to offer a little musical inspiration during the lockdown and simply asked for requests from people connected to Bellshill Central Parish.

"It’s now grown to a ministry that reaches well beyond our borders and inspired many ‘to sing for joy on their couches’ during a challenging time in our community and country.

“We hope for an easing in lockdown restrictions, but we are always grateful for the ways in which people have sought creative ways to reach out to wider society during a very stressful time.”