Regular blog readers will know that Chris, a talented organist, celebrated 25 years of being a parish musician by giving this special silver service at St Bede’s in Basingstoke.
Currently Chris is Musical Co-ordinator at St Bede’s and Director of a London-based music group. A proficient accompanist, pianist and guitarist, Chris also composes organ and liturgical vocal music in both traditional and, increasingly, contemporary styles. He specialises in developing small choirs and music groups and encouraging reluctant congregations to sing.
Chris said, “When I started playing just one hymn at a Sunday evening service, I was unable to climb onto the organ bench unaided and it was several years before I could even reach the pedals. Little did I think that, 25 years later, I’d still be there!”
The programme included some of his favourite pieces and stories from his career as a parish musician. The concert also gave Chris the opportunity to play some larger organ works that are rarely played during church services and a piece of his own composition. Throwing caution to the wind, Chris also successfully improvised a piece of organ music without preparation, based on a tune chosen by the congregation.
Chris was joined by the St Bede’s Choir and soloists Natalie and Nathan, two of the church’s long-standing music-makers.
At the end of the night Chris received a special award on the night from Father Dominic Golding on behalf of the Bishop of Portsmouth. The Diocesan Medal was awarded to Chris in recognition of his service as organist or musical director at a number of parishes across Hampshire and London.
It was such a great evening! We were honoured to be invited to attend this special anniversary concert and we would like to thank Chris for all his support for CAFOD. The collection raised a massive £237.57 which is just fantastic! Chris even gave the concert on his birthday too and was surprised with a big cake during the interval! Our special thanks also go to Father Dominic and all the members of the fantastic choir who sang so beautifully on the night. Thank you all!