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Fifty Years On


innate
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Today marks the 50th anniversary of my father, Peter Haslam, becoming organist at St Francis, Mackworth, Derby and he's still there. This morning he was presented with a cake and a cheque and he has not announced his retirement. What a life of service!

 

Any other candidates for long-service medals out there?

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Congratulations to your father, Michael.

 

Fr Sebastian Wolff has been organist at Buckfast Abbey for the last 40 years. Before that he was the assistant organist, but for how long he had served in that capacity I have no idea (he joined Buckfast in 1948 and acquired his FRCO in 1962).

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Congratulations added from here!

 

There must be many of these in local churches.

 

My father, John Campbell-Kelly, stands at about 50 years - he started playing here before I was born (1958). Much of it, astonishingly, without an assistant; there was a period in the 1960s when there were 3 services each Sunday - Communion, Mattins and Evensong.

 

The choir finances itself, mostly by carol singing (4 nights), a superb experience out in the countryside.

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Today marks the 50th anniversary of my father, Peter Haslam, becoming organist at St Francis, Mackworth, Derby and he's still there. This morning he was presented with a cake and a cheque and he has not announced his retirement. What a life of service!

 

Any other candidates for long-service medals out there?

 

 

====================================

 

 

I know that both Jonathan Bielby and Philip Tordoff (Wakefield Cathedral and Halifax PC respectively) have been at the same posts for about 40 years, which must deserve either a medal or a pint of "Bishop's Finger."

 

However, it wasn't many years since both of them were totally eclipsed by an old lady who had been organist of a church in the Yorkshire Dales for over 65 years, and had begun there after singing in the choir as a girl!

 

How many years has Dr Alan Spedding been at Beverley? It seems cover ions rather than years.

 

You know people have been there a long time when you can recall turning up to hear them play driving a Ford Anglia.

 

MM

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====================================

However, it wasn't many years since both of them were totally eclipsed by an old lady who had been organist of a church in the Yorkshire Dales for over 65 years, and had begun there after singing in the choir as a girl!

 

MM

 

Hi

 

I've been playing for over 40 years (but not all in the same church) - but that's eclipsed by our organist here at Heaton - 59 years (admittedly with 5 years when he was away at college and played elsewhere). He still plays 1 service a month. Mental note to self - remember to arrange some sort of celebration next year).

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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====================================

I know that both Jonathan Bielby and Philip Tordoff (Wakefield Cathedral and Halifax PC respectively) have been at the same posts for about 40 years, which must deserve either a medal or a pint of "Bishop's Finger."

 

However, it wasn't many years since both of them were totally eclipsed by an old lady who had been organist of a church in the Yorkshire Dales for over 65 years, and had begun there after singing in the choir as a girl!

 

How many years has Dr Alan Spedding been at Beverley? It seems cover ions rather than years.

 

You know people have been there a long time when you can recall turning up to hear them play driving a Ford Anglia.

 

MM

Dr Alan Spedding appointed in 1967.

 

I wonder what he was driving in those days?

 

A

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====================================

I know that both Jonathan Bielby and Philip Tordoff (Wakefield Cathedral and Halifax PC respectively) have been at the same posts for about 40 years, which must deserve either a medal or a pint of "Bishop's Finger."

 

MM

 

I do not know about Mr Tordoff but Jonathan Bielby was born, I believe, in 1945 and 22 is surely a little young to be DoM in a Cathedral even if it is one of the parish church cathedrals. If memory serves me right he was appointed in 1970, and became Kirklees Borough Organist in 1974, so he was hardly in his dotage even then. I was very fond of the LPs he made for Priory both at the Cathedral and Huddersfield Town Hall. Does anyone know why he has never, to my knowledge, produced a CD of the Cathedral organ ?

 

BAC

 

Dr Alan Spedding appointed in 1967.

 

I wonder what he was driving in those days?

 

A

 

 

Possibly a push bike ? In fact he hardly needed a car then since both the minster and the grammar school were but an easy stroll away from his house.

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I suspect the Wakefield Cathedral Compton is not regarded as being an instrument of note. However, a few years ago the then sub, Louise Marsh, recorded a disc of Messiaen

 

I have Ms Marsh's CD (La Nativite du Seigneur but I was hoping for something that played to the strengths of the instrument rather than tending to expose its weaknesses. I do not know Wakefield Cathedral at all really but I suspect that it may be a difficult building for the organ builder, as indeed have proved to be a number of the promoted parish church cathedrals, including my own, Chelmsford. The reason seems to be that the new status leads to the need to find more space to fulfil cathedral type functions than was previously necessary when the building was merely a parish church, and in doing this the organ tends to be crammed away in a side chapel under a low side roof where it experiences considerable difficulty in making any kind of impact in the building. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that such was the problem at Wakefield and that would certainly explain why Comptons were the preferred builder since their experience as cinema organ builders made them expert in fitting pipework into cramped and awkward locations and voicing it to overcome the effects of its unfavourable location in so far as possible. Perhaps someone with much greater knowledge of this particular organ could enlighten us ?

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Guest Barry Oakley
Today marks the 50th anniversary of my father, Peter Haslam, becoming organist at St Francis, Mackworth, Derby and he's still there. This morning he was presented with a cake and a cheque and he has not announced his retirement. What a life of service!

 

Any other candidates for long-service medals out there?

 

Well done to your father. This Easter will see the retirement of David Gedge as Master of Music at Brecon Cathedral who was appointed in 1966. Unfortunately, David suffered a stroke during last year which no doubt forced his retirement. He presently has the distinction of being the UK's longest serving cathedral organist. There will be many who wish him well in his retirement.

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Well done to your father. This Easter will see the retirement of David Gedge as Master of Music at Brecon Cathedral who was appointed in 1966. Unfortunately, David suffered a stroke during last year which no doubt forced his retirement. He presently has the distinction of being the UK's longest serving cathedral organist. There will be many who wish him well in his retirement.

 

And that of his wife and 'Assistant' - Hazel Davies.

 

AJJ

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