I realise this post will probably be of little interest to those who visit here primarily for the quality of the political analysis (!) but this is my online diary as well as my political blog and I could not let today go by without noting the passing of my former choirmaster and music teacher Colin Howard, who has died in Cape Town aged 63.
As this obituary from the Cape Town Opera website reveals, Colin died on 26 May after a battle with cancer. His death was only brought to my notice earlier today.
Colin was organist and choirmaster of St Mary's Church, Hitchin and Director of Music at Hitchin Boys' School in the 1970s, and one of the greatest men I have ever met. He taught me moreorless all I know about classical and choral music and being a part of the choir in his time was one of the most important and formative experiences in my life.
Alhough he did bring to the role a huge sense of fun, he never forgot that the work of a church choir was primarily about glorifying God. I cannot improve on this description of him that appears in his Cape Town Opera obituary.
"He believed there was a place in church for a wide spectrum of music, performed to the highest standards, to the glory of God. He also felt strongly that church musicians should be people concerned with spiritual growth, willing to be team players in helping to realise the multifaceted demands of being involved in the church."
Colin was one of two or three teachers to whom I owe a very great debt. I regret I never got the chance to tell him so to his face.