Organist and choirmaster celebrates 50 years of music
17 July 2023
At the beginning of June, Arthur Barrett celebrated his 50th year of being the organist and Choirmaster at St John's, Lakenham and Tuckswood.
On Sunday 4 June, the church celebrated Arthur’s achievement with a special ‘Songs of Praise’ service.
A varied programme including choir items, congregational hymns and both piano and organ music took us on a joyful journey through the music which has a personal place in Arthur’s heart.
His selection of hymns gave everyone the chance to have a ‘right good sing’! It was lovely to see so many old friends in church, some of whom had sung in the church choir during those 50 years, join the celebrations.
The choir was boosted by friends and musicians from Arthur’s other passion, Gilbert & Sullivan. Not surprisingly, Arthur Sullivan made a number of musical appearances throughout the service!
Afterward, Pimms, strawberries, cake, and happy memories were shared and enjoyed by all those who had come together to make it such a wonderful occasion. Arthur was also delighted to receive a personal message of congratulations from Bishop Graham.
Speaking about his 50 years of service, Arthur said: “There have been many highlights in my 50 plus years…one being that in 1988 our
PCC Secretary contacted the B.B.C. mentioning that we had strong links with the Diocese of Sekondi in Ghana, and wondered if they would be interested in recording an Advent Act of Worship for the World Service. Much planning took place, an augmented ‘Lakenham’ choir was formed, and eventually we recorded a broadcast in November that year. Another highlight is our Annual Carol Service. We love singing ‘traditional’ carols, but I always enjoy finding some slightly ‘different’ ones.
“It was a lovely occasion to have a ‘Songs of Praise’ in our Church and we sang a number of my favourite (and I hope everybody’s) hymns – what better one to finish with than ‘ Lord for the Years’. For many years I have belonged to the Hymn Society, and in a recent bulletin, there was a fascinating article about an organist who had served 69 years at his church. He is quoted as saying the following, and I think his comments are so very appropriate:’Thank God for beautiful hymns and the power of appreciation of them.· They are a source of comfort and strength in all aspects of life.’. I certainly enjoy my playing, and I believe we all appreciate and enjoy our singing here in Lakenham and Tuckswood.”
A collection of £180 was given to the charity, Musical Keys.