Half a century at the same church for organist Malcolm Brown
AN 80-YEAR-OLD church organist has reached a milestone in his musical career after serving the same chapel every week for half a century.
At Sunday’s Harvest Festival, Malcolm Brown will have been accompanying the choir at Redruth Methodist Church for exactly 50 years.
Rodney Grigg, the chapel’s choir secretary, said he has served the church “unstintingly” in that time.
“He is a very committed and loyal man,” he said. “He is always there.
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“Even when he was unwell he was made the effort to fulfil his responsibilities.”
Mr Brown started piano lessons aged eight. He also sang soprano in the local choir.
But it was while listening to BBC Radio organists Sandy MacPherson and Reginald Fort in the 1940s that his life changed.
“I was absolutely fascinated with listening to them on the radio,” he said.
“I was very impressed by the ability and the scope of music they played.”
He started to learn the organ, aged 12, and never looked back.
“I could not keep away from it.”
The former construction company director has been accompanying choirs for 66 years as an organist, including the Four Lanes Male Voice Choir, which was founded by his father Wilfred Brown 70 years ago.
He first job as a church organist was at Forest Methodist Church in Redruth in 1947.
He then joined Redruth Methodist Church in 1963.
In 1973 the three local chapels amalgamated into one, forming the Redruth Methodist Church and its choir of the same name.
According to Mr Grigg, Mr Brown became the choir’s accompanying organist and someone who has played a vital role in its longevity.
“The choir is made up of 31 members today,” said Mr Grigg, “which is quite amazing these days.
“And it is only because of the leadership of Malcolm and his cousin, Ronald Brown, choir master.”
Some of Malcolm Brown’s most rewarding challenges include playing ‘oratorios’ – lengthy religious works, some of which require three hours of non-stop playing – which he describes as a “considerable experience.”
He has also played Gilbert and Sullivan operas such as Pirates of Penzance.
“It has been my passion and my leisure activity for the whole of my life,” he said.
“You begin to wonder when you will stop.
“Just as long as I am competent I will keep playing.”