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Harry Grindle RIP


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Church music in Ireland has suffered a sad loss in the death of W.H. (Harry) Grindle at the age of 77 after a short illness. Apart from a short period teaching in London, Harry spent all of his professional life in his native Northern Ireland and was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Belfast Cathedral from 1964-1976. When he came to the Cathedral, he inherited an aging choir and an outmoded repertoire. His work to establish a real 'cathedral' choir took determination, tact and time, but the result was outstanding. There was a rumour that he burned most of the existing choir repertoire, but that wasn't true. He painstakingly extracted what was useable from the old books and stored the rest - it was still in the cupboards when I went to the Cathedral in 1988 and a few of the pieces were resurrected over the years, fashions being what they are. (Another of my tasks was to replace many sets of 'standard' settings and anthems which Harry had bought and which, after over twenty years' heavy use, were beyond repair.)

Harry's achievement at Belfast would be amazing enough, but the fact that he did it during the worst period of the Troubles makes it even more so.

Harry was a true Christian gentleman and many in Ireland and elsewhere have reason to be grateful for his friendship and his erudition. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

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