Eighty years young!


Evensong at the Cathedral was special tonight…. the choir numbered 50, of present and past choristers who had gathered together to celebrate. The music was selected by Bernard Porter, a previous organist who was 80 years old this weekend, but certainly does not look it!

He was a pleasure to sing under, with gentle criticism and much praise, a wonderful musical knowledge, but who used and practised his skill and craft with a wonderful under-stating. The youngest and most inexperienced chorister gained from being with him, and even those of who have sung for many years still came away knowing a little more about the works we were singing.

Heavens….this seems terribly like an obituary! No, he is still alive and kicking, with an impish grin. I asked him what he will do for the next 20 years, and he said that it will all seem a bit ‘downhill from now on’. So different from those musicians are so full of themselves, with a puffed-out ego.

So let me add my congratulations…well done Bernard!

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5 thoughts on “Eighty years young!

  1. I didn’t think it sounded like an obituary at all, I thought it sounded like lots of well earned praise being heeped onto someone very deserving!
    Well Done Bernard!
    A lovely entry Harry.

  2. Dear Daffy and Flighty…thanks for your comments. Age does not seem a problem for conductors or organists. One of ther most wonderful organists I had when conducting a performance at a church was over 83, played the organ like a young thing, and was in great demand,so we were lucky to get him.

    Maybe the physical exercise and fitness you need to have, has something to do with it. With both feet, and hands moving, the reading of the music, turning over the music at the appropriate time, and operating the stops, without drtamatic mistakes can be physically draining…so maybe that explains the youthfulness…..

  3. I first came across Bernard at a G&GDMA day at Holy Trinity, Ayr in the 1970’s. This was renewed when I started to regularly attend St Mary’s in 1985. A highlight of his time as Director of Music has to be the Choir Tour in June 1990 when the choir sang in all seven Scottish Mainland Episcopal Cathedrals in one day. Bernard guided that choir through the whole day and was still fresh for Sunday services the following day. The most emotionally bit was singing “The Day thou gavest, Lord is ended” at the end of Compline in St Mary’s Glasgow under the scaffolding at the crossing. The final hymn on Sunday night was this same hymn and the memories of that fanstastic day came back to myself and many of those who were singing (who were participants of the tour).

  4. Stewart…thanks for that memory, we must have been about at the same time, when I was helping at the organ at St Marg’s Newlands.

    The same hymn was sung when I was at the English-speaking congregation in Copenhagen over 30 years ago. Away from family on business for a couple of weeks, and I suddenly felt very alone. The soaring tune worked its magic and I must admit to a tear. The same emotion welled-up on Sunday evening.

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