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I am very pleased to see that Michael Hoeg - assistant organist at Llandaff for more years than I (or probably he) care to remember - has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, as he embarks on his 34th season at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom, Phil Kelsall can also now add the letters MBE to his billing, as did his predecessor Reginald Dixon!

 

S

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  • 4 years later...

And from the 2015 list:

 

Anne Marsden Thomas. Head of the Royal College of Organists Academy Organ School. For services to Organ Music.

 

Dr William Huw John Harrison. Organist and Director of Music at St. Mary’s Church, Tenby. For services to Music in Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

 

Jeffrey Skidmore. Conductor and Artistic director Ex Cathedra. For services to Choral Music. (Lichfield, Staffordshire)

 

Mrs Dorothy Maria Oliver. For services to Choral Music in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

 

Congratulations all....

Ian CK

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  • 1 year later...

Yes, indeed - congratulations!

 

Also, Brian Hunter from Northern Ireland has been awarded the MBE. Brian is a person through whom music flows naturally, as singer, organist and conductor and it was always a pleasure to work with him. A really nice guy, too.

 

When I saw the thread title, I thought it was a reference to the saucepan-lid noise activated by a piston at Holy Rude, Stirling....

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When I saw the thread title, I thought it was a reference to the saucepan-lid noise activated by a piston at Holy Rude, Stirling....

I thought the same. The gong in question is strangly disappointing, but used to good effect by John Kitchen MBE in his recording of the Holy Rude organ.

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Sir George Thalben Ball 1982, I suppose. There's Dame Gillian Weir, of course, but she doesn't come into the "cathedral organist (or one of similar standing)" category.

 

Francis Jackson, in his autobiography 'Music for a Long While", says that he has never worried that a knighthood did not come his way - he certainly deserves one.

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Francis Jackson, in his autobiography 'Music for a Long While", says that he has never worried that a knighthood did not come his way - he certainly deserves one.

I completely agree.

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There's Sir Nicholas Jackson, of course, who in an illustrious career was organist at St. David's Cathedral for a while, but his title is a baronetcy (created for his grandfather, the architect Thomas Graham Jackson, whose works include a bevy of organ cases, especially in Oxford - Brasenose, Sheldonian, et al).

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When was the last time a cathedral organist (or one of similar standing) was knighted?

The tradition seems to have died out. :(

 

That's true.

 

I think the reason is that Cathedral organists, indeed organists in general, now have less influence on the national music scene than they did. There was a time when the Directors of the RCM and RAM and the 'lesser' colleges were organists. Professors at Oxbridge and, indeed in other Universities too, had a similar background and examiners for the Associated Board were also, very largely, inhabitants of an organ-loft!

 

Nowadays, doing Grade VIII, a student can request to have an examiner who plays their particular instrument. I was examined for my Grade VIII 'cello in 1963/4 by a well-known, long-since dead, Cathedral organist. He didn't know my instrument, asked all the 'wrong' scales (looking back I wouldn't have asked any of those!) and gave me a mark (144 out of 150) that, I'm certain I didn't deserve at the time! More importantly though, he wasn't able to make any truly constructive comments about my playing. He told me it was "very nice - well done"!!

 

I remember playing professionally and remember the comments from other players when we were to be directed, often in a choral work, by an organist. They, very often, weren't that happy - and, very often, just went into 'automatic pilot'! One of the most popular conductors of the 1960's was an organist and, whilst well-liked with audiences had many battles with his players. I never played under him but I knew lots of 'old guys' that did - and they told some epic stories!

 

Today standards of Cathedral music are higher than they have ever been. The job is different, the Cathedral organist runs a large department and has responsibilities, both pastoral and musical. He also is expected to produce, daily, excellent performances. In truth, there isn't time to be away examining, performing, conducting not least because the authorities that pay want him there doing the job - and, if he/she isn't, they can always get someone else just as good to take over!

 

Organists totally dominated the National Music scene - even up to forty years ago but nowadays it is different and, perhaps, that is the reason why a knighthood hasn't come the way of any of our Cathedral organists!

 

As for FJ! Against some of the other recipients of knighthoods, I think he, certainly, deserves one.

 

..................... well, that's my view on it all anyway!

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Has anybody from the public thought to nominate such organists or do they expect institutions to nominate their own as in the past? The system was changed to allow the public to nominate as well but what we don't get to see is the names of those nominated who did not make it through.

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For myself, I come from an employment background (not music) where most of those who reach a certain pay grade automatically get some sort of honour on retirement regardless of whether they actually deserve it against any reasonable measure of exceptional performance. In many cases it basically means nothing more than they managed to keep the public side of their noses clean. Those at the top of the tree get the K's. This sort of thing debases the currency of the whole business to my mind, making it meaningless. It's common practice among large organisations. Those I respect the most are those who turn down the proffered honour ...

 

A system like this doesn't help those who DO deserve recognition, such as some in the categories mentioned above. They have an uphilll struggle to even enter the competition against those from other employment areas which bulk out their submissions with, frankly, mediocrity.

 

CEP

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Has anybody from the public thought to nominate such organists or do they expect institutions to nominate their own as in the past? The system was changed to allow the public to nominate as well but what we don't get to see is the names of those nominated who did not make it through.

 

I would love to know the background to this one:

 

Dr Geoffrey Norman GIBBONS: [OBE] For services to Church Music in St Tudy, Cornwall.

 

St Tudy isn't exactly the centre of the universe (unless you live there, I suppose).

 

For myself, I come from an employment background (not music) where most of those who reach a certain pay grade automatically get some sort of honour on retirement regardless of whether they actually deserve it against any reasonable measure of exceptional performance. In many cases it basically means nothing more than they managed to keep the public side of their noses clean. Those at the top of the tree get the K's. This sort of thing debases the currency of the whole business to my mind, making it meaningless. It's common practice among large organisations. Those I respect the most are those who turn down the proffered honour ...

 

A system like this doesn't help those who DO deserve recognition, such as some in the categories mentioned above. They have an uphilll struggle to even enter the competition against those from other employment areas which bulk out their submissions with, frankly, mediocrity.

 

CEP

 

I couldn't agree more, Colin. I have seen several instances of this myself, one or two of them really quite risible. If people deserve gongs simply for doing the job they are paid to do then a majority of the working population probably qualifies. I don't doubt at all that awards for services to music are routinely well deserved, but more generally speaking the "honours" system has become so tawdry that I find it impossible to treat it seriously. I prefer to respect people for who they are, not for the appendages before or after their names.

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