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New Year's Honours


Martin Cooke
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Anybody spotted an organist in the lists?

Martin

 

A quick trawl through the list produces the usual sad lack of recognition for serious musicians of any kind. These are the ones I found, there may well be some I missed!

 

Knighthood: Nicholas Kenyon, C.B.E., Managing Director, Barbican Centre and lately Director, BBC Proms. For services to Classical Music.

 

MBE's for: Richard Leslie Burnett, Concert Pianist and Founder, Finchcocks Museum of Early Music, Goudhurst, Kent.

 

Damian St. George Cranmer, lately Director of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama. For services to Music Education.

 

Francis Egerton, lately Opera Singer. For services to Music.

 

Of course there are also quite a few for services to pop music etc! Quite sad really I think!

 

Jonathan

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Spotted one or two others:

 

It may not mean much to many here, but I was pleased to see Meg Bent getting an CBE - surely well deserved.

 

Also an OBE for Ian Harwood, president of the Lute Society - ditto.

 

And an OBE for Robert Morgan, Chairman of the British Federation of Brass Bands.

 

But, yes, the usual pathetic level of recognition, with most of the higher honours snaffled up as usual by civil servants merely for doing what they're paid to do (and who decides who gets what honours? Guess...)

 

So who should have got what?

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I'm bound to say that, to some extent, at least, a lot of folk don't receive honours and awards because they are not formally put forward. I did on one occasion attenpt to nominate someone who had served as an organist in the church where my father was Rector for 25 years before serving a further 20 elsewhere. He became ill and I hoped to do something in timel. Sadly, I wasn't successful but largely because I didn't get started in time. The Lord Lieutenant supported the idea totally but our man died before it could all be accomplished. I am sorry to report that try as I could, I could not get the Vicar of the parish where my friend served after moving from my father's church to respond to my request to act as a referee despite writing twice. Odd that, really, as Sir David Willcocks found time to reply by return.

 

There is a difference here in that Dr Jackson has been appointed CBE and I do not know whether mere mortals like us can actually suggest the level of recognition we feel apt. I suspect they've decided that he's "just an organist" and a CBE is about right. Things have changed over the years - Christopher Dearnley only got an LVO when he finished at St Paul's. Dykes Bower was made CVO very soon after he arrived there, Harry Gabb was MVO for most of the time he was there at at St James's Chapel Royal, but D-B was knighted on his retirement and Gabb was appointed CVO when he finally left St Paul's. Mind you, I don't think Douglas Guest got anything at all when he left the Abbey. Personally, I feel the LVO awarded to John Scott when he left St Paul's was derisory -it should have been at least a CVO - but I amp leased to see that he was awarded an honorary DMus by Nashohta House Seminary earlier this month so he is now Dr Scott.

 

Big-wigs aside, I honestly think that if we feel there is someone within our local area, perhaps in the local organists' association, who has clearly given great service, the chair or secretary of the association could be prevailed upon to make a nomination to the Lord Lieutenant.

 

I am not in a position to play in a church any longer on a regular basis as I am committed at weekends by work, but I do feel that organists are often unsung heroes, very poorly remunerated and that an award is the appropriate way in which to recognise what is often unstinting and devoted service. It would certainly have meant a huge amount to the gentleman cited above, and to his widow and friends. He played a huge part in the amateur music-making scene right across the county both in church and out of it, and an OBE could not have been more appropriately awarded.

 

There must be an awful lot of good people involved in the organ world in the UK both as musicians and organ builders who deserve recognition every bit as much as the other apparently successful and important people whose names we find in today's paper. The more I think about it the hotter under the collar I become!

 

What can we do?

 

Martin

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Guest Barry Williams

"but I still think Francis Jackson deserves a knighthood"

 

I agree - totally and unreservedly. But so many of us have already tried.

 

Barry Williams

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Guest Barry Williams

"There must be an awful lot of good people involved in the organ world in the UK both as musicians and organ builders who deserve recognition every bit as much as the other apparently successful and important people whose names we find in today's paper. The more I think about it the hotter under the collar I become!

 

Martin "

 

 

 

An award that is sometimes given to church organists is the Cross of Saint Augustine, awarded by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It may be that the gentleman you mention would have received that rather than one of the national awards. Last year David and Hazel Gedge (Brecon Cathedral) were award the Cross of Saint Augustine in recognition of their services to church music.

 

Barry Williams

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There is a difference here in that Dr Jackson has been appointed CBE and I do not know whether mere mortals like us can actually suggest the level of recognition we feel apt. I suspect they've decided that he's "just an organist" and a CBE is about right. Things have changed over the years - Christopher Dearnley only got an LVO when he finished at St Paul's. Dykes Bower was made CVO very soon after he arrived there, Harry Gabb was MVO for most of the time he was there at at St James's Chapel Royal, but D-B was knighted on his retirement and Gabb was appointed CVO when he finally left St Paul's. Mind you, I don't think Douglas Guest got anything at all when he left the Abbey.

Dr Jackson was promoted - rather than appointed - to CBE.

 

The public have been able to nominate people for a national honour since 1993, and the criteria for the different classes of honour are explained at the link given.

 

Honours in the Royal Victorian Order, however, are in the Queen's gift. The LVO, which just precedes the OBE, is the usual honour today for organists at St Paul's and Westminster Abbey who have performed personal service to the Sovereign, viz. Christopher Dearnley, John Scott and Martin Neary. Organists at other royal peculiars are usually honoured by the Queen in due time.

 

Sir John Dykes Bower was Organist at St Paul's from 1936-1967; he was appointed CVO in 1953 [the year is perhaps significant] and knighted in 1963. I am unable to ascertain though whether he was a Knight Bachelor or a KCVO.

 

Harry Gabb (Sub-Organist at St Paul's 1946-74 and also Organist, Chapel Royal, St James's Palace 1953-1974) was appointed MVO in 1961 and promoted to CVO in 1974.

 

Douglas Guest (Westminster Abbey 1963-1981) was appointed CVO in 1975 and Organist Emeritus in 1981.

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Sorry, I'm unclear why you are splitting hairs about "appointment" or "promotion" to CBE. The correct term appears to be "appointed CBE." Try google. If, perhaps it is the case that someone is an OBE or MBE and then becomes a CBE, the word "promotion" might be used, but it doesn't follow that "appointed CBE" is incorrect terminology. Afterall, if, say, a teacher becomes a Head of Department in their own school that is both a promotion and an appointment.

Martin.

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Thank you for those useful facts - DB wasn't knighted in 1963 - more like 67/68 when he left St Paul's. He was a Knight Bachelor, not a KCVO.

There is an error in Enid Bird's book 20th Century English Cathedral Organists. It was indeed 1968.

Sorry, I'm unclear why you are splitting hairs about "appointment" or "promotion" to CBE.

As Dr Jackson was an OBE, the CBE is regarded as promotion within the Order. Neither of us should lose any sleep over it though.

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Honours in the Royal Victorian Order, however, are in the Queen's gift. The LVO, which just precedes the OBE, is the usual honour today for organists at St Paul's and Westminster Abbey who have performed personal service to the Sovereign, viz. Christopher Dearnley, John Scott and Martin Neary. Organists at other royal peculiars are usually honoured by the Queen in due time.

Thank you for highlighting this; I had not appreciated it before. It holds at Windsor too, of course. Sidney Campbell was made MVO (4th class) in 1972 and Christopher Robinson a CVO in 1992.

 

Without the royal connection you would possibly get more recognition by parading the streets with a monkey and a barrel organ.

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Thank you for highlighting this; I had not appreciated it before. It holds at Windsor too, of course. Sidney Campbell was made MVO (4th class) in 1972 and Christopher Robinson a CVO in 1992.

 

Without the royal connection you would possibly get more recognition by parading the streets with a monkey and a barrel organ.

 

 

I'm afraid it's worse than that. To get major 'honours' recognition, you seem to need to be involved either in a popular art-form (at its lowest level to be in the cast of a soap opera!) or, of course a mandarin in The Civil Service. The unfairness of this is that civil servants and diplomats are, after all, only doing what they're paid for. The point with church musicians is that they frequently do not have lavish salaries, decent funding etc. and they still maintain the glories of a tradition that is the envy of every civilized country in the world.

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Nigel ALLCOAT

Dr Roger Williams (University Organist and Director of Chapel Music at Kings College) is also in the list this morning. I forgot to mention it yesterday.

 

All best wishes and New Year greetings,

Nigel

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There is an error in Enid Bird's book 20th Century English Cathedral Organists. It was indeed 1968.

 

As Dr Jackson was an OBE, the CBE is regarded as promotion within the Order. Neither of us should lose any sleep over it though.

 

 

Herrick Bunney, Organist & Master of Music, St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh was made MVO 1964, LVO 1984 and CVO 1996 before dying December 1998

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  • 1 month later...

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