An 80th birthday celebration concert

A church full of an enthusiastic audience came together in St Paul’s Church to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of our organists, Ian Thompson.  Ian was born in Bradford and became Assistant Organist at the Cathedral Church of St Peter while still at school.  He was an Organ Scholar at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and later became a Vicar-Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral, which included singing at the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.  He then went on to become an opera and oratorio singer, performing at Covent Garden and La Scala, Milan, as well as opera houses in Paris, Lyons and Los Angeles.  Recently retired from a busy and varied career as a professional musician Ian and his wife have come to live in Grange.

To celebrate his special birthday Ian had brought with him friends, Julian Cann (violin) and Robert Bell and Alice Rosser (piano).  His friend Christopher Steele (tenor) was ill unfortunately and unable to attend.

Ian began the concert with organ works by Sweelinck and Bach, followed by violin solos by Dvorak and Elgar, played by Julian Cann.   Schubert’s Rondo in A for piano duet formed the centrepiece of the programme, and was performed by Alice Rosser and Robert Bell.  In the absence of Christopher Steele, Ian played two further organ solos, by John Stanley and George Thalben-Ball respectively.  The concert ended with Liszt’s superb Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto.

The whole concert was brilliant and musicians in the congregation appreciated the awesome talent provided by Ian and his friends to mark such a happy occasion.

We were honoured to be able to share such music in our church on this special occasion.