About the RCCO Niagara Centre

Welcome to the Royal Canadian College of Organists Niagara Centre website. Our centre covers all parts of the peninsula from St. Catharines to Niagara Falls, Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie and all points between.

We seek to enrich the lives of Canadians by engaging the public in our country’s rich and vibrant organ culture.

We support the local communities in our centre by providing services and resources for organists, choir directors, and those who are interested in the organ and choral genres. We offer public programmes and educational events for all ages as well as being a social outlet to our members.

Recent examples of our work:

Presented to  children, teens and their families, a program called “Pedals, Pipes and Pizza” educating those in attendance on the history of the organ, its construction, it’s sounds, while providing creative time for those in attendance to experiment with the “King of Instruments.”

A Professional Development workshop for musicians on historical Baroque performance practices and its use in choral and organ repertoire led by an authority on early music.

Hosting of area professional and amateur choristers in a new choral music reading session with food and fellowship under the direction of a skilled choral director.

Providing financial scholarships for emerging organists to study and build their musicianship

Offering regular and substitute organists to area institutions.

Serving as a community portal for promoting events highlighting organ and choral music.

The 4 year old Casavant Frères pipe organ at Maison Symphonique, Montréal, QC. Photo by Jean-Luc Hébert and courtesy of Casavant Frères.

The History of the RCCO NIagara Centre

The Niagara Peninsula Centre of the Royal Canadian College of Organists began life as the St. Catharines Centre of the Canadian College of Organists in 1940. Eric Dowling arrived here late in the summer of that year as organist of St. Paul Street United Church, and very soon set the wheels turning to establish a centre of the college here. He had just arrived from Galt where he had been responsible for establishing a centre in about 1937. In 1947—49 he was national president of the college.

The inaugural meeting took place on Monday, November 25 and began with a dinner (price 40 cents per plate) at St. Thomas Church Parish Hall. The gathering later adjourned to Knox Presbyterian Church for a recital at 8:15 p.m. by Charles Peaker, Mus.Doc., F.R.C.O. Dr. Peaker provided his usual concise and interesting programme notes. It would appear that a number of members of other centres had been invited to attend.

Our Core Values

These guidelines apply across our organization and underpin how our work is carried out in the community to ensure public trust in our ability to carry out our mission, be good stewards, and uphold rigorous standards of conduct.

We value the ability of the organ and its music to inspire and enrich our lives

We value artistic excellence in the art of the organ and its music

We value outstanding service and commitment to our members.

We value the standards and traditions that we have inherited form our predecessors.

We value the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and responsible stewardship.

We value inclusivity and embrace diversity.

We value life-long learning.

RCCO Niagara Inuagural Meeting

Meet our leadership team

Our membership is an inclusive and vibrant community ranging in age from 13 to 80+ and led by these people: