Former Head Chorister and Organ Student, now Assistant Director of Music and Organist at Dauntsey’s School, Wiltshire
I had been a chorister at St. Thomas’s Church in Stourbridge for about two years when Andrew arrived, but the little time it took him to take the choir to new heights was quite breathtaking. A major recruitment campaign took place to swell the treble ranks, allowing the choir’s contributions to services to be dramatically increased, and some eighty new choral works were introduced in the first year alone! Andrew is a musician in the truest sense of the word, and I know I am not alone in having enjoyed first-hand the richness of his harmonic vocabulary in his many compositions, last-verse descants and word-painting in hymns. I must also say that I have never come across anyone whose pointing of the psalms sheds more light on the words than Andrew’s. No matter what style of piece is being performed, his attention to detail, whether to do with accuracy, blend, tuning or expression, is obsessive. Don’t expect him to tolerate approximation! After my days in the treble ranks were done, I moved into the back rows and took up the organ with Andrew. He continued, using his own word, to “infect” me with his love of music and within two years the Friends of the Music Committee, which he had worked hard to set up on his arrival, funded an organ scholarship for me at St. Thomas’s. This experience enabled me to gain by ARCO diploma, followed by successive scholarships at University College, Durham, and Durham Cathedral, leading ultimately to the school and organ teaching in which I am currently occupied. I make no secret of the fact that I have a lot to be thankful for, and count myself lucky that one of the country’s most inspiring musicians was in the right place for me at the right time!