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This enquiry goes back some time, and the name Fergus O'Connor is perhaps familiar to mature aged organists! My elderly father - also an organist - was a chorister at Queens College Oxford under (L) Fergus O'Connor, a man of considerable skill, and who apparently turned the standard of the chapel choir from unspeakable to one of broadcast quality. He was also my fathers first organ teacher. Later I am led to believe that he was probably Organist/Choirmaster at All Saints Kingston in the 1950s after which there seems to be no further record of him. He was very encouraging to young musicians, who respected him greatly, as recalled by my father. I imagine that O'Connor died some years ago, but partly for general interest sake and partly for my father I wonder if anyone knows what happend to O'Connor after his last known tenure at All Saints Kingston? He was probably aged around late forties to mid fifties at that time. Sadly my father tells me that his parents last recollection of O'Connor is his appearing at their Sth London home one day "in a state" and asking to be put up for a few days; which they did, after which he seems to have disappeared . . .

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  • 5 months later...
Thanks, Peter - that is indeed the man. Not easy to find out much more. Given his date of birth I can't imagine many will recall or know of him.

Well I'm pleased to tell you there are one of two people around who do remember him and indeed knew him. I have been a chorister at All Saints, Kingston Parish Church for 50+ years, and Fergus was the choirmaster when I joined in 1958. He was a hard taskmaster, hard drinker, but devoted to music. I'm sorry to have to tell you that he died in August 1960. He committed suicide by taking an overdose of tablets in the belfy. He had a shotgun with him just in case the tablets didn't work, so was clearly determined to do it. No-one really knows why. He had psoriasis very badly, and speculation at the time was that that was a contributory factor. It was also school/choir holidays, so depression may have set in. The Surrey Comet reported it at the time.

Very recently, some recordings from his time came to light - it's not clear whether they are from a record, or tapes. Either way, for the time, the standard was very good. KPC has always had a very good choral reputation and Fergus certainly maintained and probably improved on that. I didn't know his previous history, so was interested to read about that.

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Well I'm pleased to tell you there are one of two people around who do remember him and indeed knew him. I have been a chorister at All Saints, Kingston Parish Church for 50+ years, and Fergus was the choirmaster when I joined in 1958. He was a hard taskmaster, hard drinker, but devoted to music. I'm sorry to have to tell you that he died in August 1960. He committed suicide by taking an overdose of tablets in the belfy. He had a shotgun with him just in case the tablets didn't work, so was clearly determined to do it. No-one really knows why. He had psoriasis very badly, and speculation at the time was that that was a contributory factor. It was also school/choir holidays, so depression may have set in. The Surrey Comet reported it at the time.

Very recently, some recordings from his time came to light - it's not clear whether they are from a record, or tapes. Either way, for the time, the standard was very good. KPC has always had a very good choral reputation and Fergus certainly maintained and probably improved on that. I didn't know his previous history, so was interested to read about that.

 

 

Thanks, Sputnik.

 

I have sent you a personal message which elaborates a little more on Fergus.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Forgot to mention: would there be any possibilty of obtaining a copy of the recordings?

Hello JOR

It may be my unfamiliarity with the workings of the forum, but I couldn't see your personal message. If you would like to repost, please &/or explain how to pick up the previous one? I have access to some of the recording as email attachments; if you give me your email address, I'll forward them on.

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Hello JOR

It may be my unfamiliarity with the workings of the forum, but I couldn't see your personal message. If you would like to repost, please &/or explain how to pick up the previous one? I have access to some of the recording as email attachments; if you give me your email address, I'll forward them on.

 

Hello Sputnik,

 

Another message has been sent, so hope this one gets through.

 

Best,

 

JOR

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  • 1 year later...

Hello again JOR. Due to a computer glitch, I lost some archived material, including (y)our previous correspondence. On the offchance you still have it, could you email it to me? Included in the lost material was the recordings, which I believe I emailed to you separately? If you have those, I'd appreciate a copy too. Please remind me how to acces the 'personal' messages as I've totally forgotten!

Many thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good morning Sputnik: apologies for the delay in replying as I have had all manner of problems recently with email, and moving house into the bargain. I will reply again very soon with further information.

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