Reginald Frank Spencer Adams ARCM
17th March 1917 – 20th February 2009
Sadly, we have to record the death, at the age of 92, of our President Emeritus Reg Adams, as we all knew him. He was held in the highest regard by members of the KCOA and all his many friends and admirers throughout the musical world of Kent and beyond.
On 6th March a Requiem Service of Thanksgiving for his life was held at Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs, where he was Organist and Choirmaster until he was 85, a fall then sadly preventing him from climbing the stairs to the organ loft. Before the service, which was conducted by the Rev Canon David Roper, Adrian Perkins, organist of Holy Trinity, played Jean Langlais – Incantation pour un jour saint. The KCOA was well represented by some 14 members, including our President, Secretary, and four Past Presidents. The hymns chosen were Praise my soul, Love divine, and Thine be the glory. The choir sang the anthem My eyes for beauty pine by Herbert Howells, and the service ended with Widor – Toccata from Symphony No 5.
A profile of Reg appeared in the KCOA Journal of July 1996. He was born in South London and after joining a local church choir moved on to Westminster Abbey in 1928, becoming Head Chorister, and writing about his time there in our January 1999 Journal. At the age of 15 he was appointed Assistant Organist of St. James’, Piccadilly, and other London posts followed. Reg studied at the Royal College of Music 1934-38, gained the Walter Parratt Organ Prize, and was the first winner jointly with Hubert Dawkes of the Arthur Normand Prize for extemporisation.
Celebration concert at St. Mary and St. Eanswuthe, Folkstone
Nicholas King, one of Reg’s choristers and pupils, has collected much detail about his life and career. Those who take the Organists’ Review will already have read Mr King’s tribute in the May issue. Reg was a sergeant in REME during the war, and then became organist of Acton Parish Church and St.Thomas’s Church, Southborough, before moving to St Mary and St Eanswythe, Folkestone, in 1950. It was shortly after this, in 1951, when Brian Moore as a sixth former and Deputy School Organist at Dover Grammar School for Boys, helped arrange a KCOA meeting there. His only experience of extemporisation at that time was of a few quiet chords before evensong, so it was a complete and unforgettable revelation to hear Reg improvise a Toccata on Darwell’s 148th Ye holy angels bright.
It was from this time that Reg became closely involved with the KCOA, serving as President 1954-55, 1964-65, 1979-80, and 1993-95. He was Head of Music at the Harvey Grammar School. Folkestone, and Borough Organist of Dover for 35 years, and in 1972 became Director of Music at The Duke of York’s Military School, Dover, and organist of St Andrew-in-Buckland, Dover. On retirement from teaching he became organist of Holy Trinity, Broadstairs.
Reg arranged and took part in many meetings over the years, playing the organ of course, but also entertaining us at the piano. When he was President he invited us to London in November 1994, first to the Odeon, Leicester Square, where he had been assistant organist 1948-50, then to Westminster Central Hall, evensong at the Abbey, followed by a visit to the organ loft. David Brock wrote a full report of this wonderful occasion, which appeared in our first Journal dated July 1995.
In our January 1997 Journal Charles Skingle reported on the RSCM Diocesan Festival, 2nd November 1996, when Harry Bramma presented Reg with Honorary Membership of the Royal School of Church Music. Reg also played for the service, and his brilliant and exciting improvisation after the service will always be remembered by those privileged to hear it.
A Celebration for the life of Reg was held at St Mary and St Eanswythe on 9th May. It was organised by Nicholas King and Ian Gordon, with singers from the church choir past and present and others who had been associated with Reg over the years. The full programme is reproduced by kind permission of Nicholas King. At the end of the afternoon the choir was joined by anyone who wished to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. Roger Gentry and a number of members were able to attend, and in his words “it was a wonderful tribute to a great man. Although Reg is no longer with us his contribution to the musical world and to the kcoa will live on”. A celebratory booklet written by Nicholas King, Organist and Choirmaster, Folkestone Parish Church 1973-79 is available, and includes photographs of Reg and his family, with a tribute from David Leeke, also Organist 1979-90. It is being sold for a £2 donation towards the Organ Fund of Holy Trinity, Broadstairs.
To return to the Requiem Service, in his Eulogy Reg’s son-in-law Allan Eadle, quoted the closing words from the profile of Reg in our July 1996 Journal: “This genial raconteur, a gentleman of outstanding wit and good humour, always quick to illuminate the talents of others rather than his own, has been admired and respected by all who over the many years have had the most good fortune to make his acquaintance”.
(Booklet designed and produced by Michael Gilbert, Reg’s nephew Tel: 020 8407 4450 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Funeral Service and Thanksgiving for the life of Robert Myles Cripps was held on 16th February at the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Leybourne. He was held in high regard by the many who remembered his long and devoted service to the church as organist and churchwarden, and it was packed for the occasion. He died unexpectedly on 2nd February, having been at church the previous day, a great shock to his family and friends.
Bob, as we knew him, was born in Trottiscliffe and lived all his life in the Malling and Leybourne area, apart from National Service in the RAMC. He was a Freemason and had many interests, including amateur dramatics, ornithology and lepidoptery. Both he and his wife Beryl, who died in 1989, were founder members of the West Kent Bach Choir. His professional life was spent with the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.
Members will recall that Bob, who joined the KCOA some thirty years ago, attended our meetings regularly with his friend Jean Wallis, and he particularly enjoyed and appreciated our coach trips. We will miss his kindly presence.
The Association was represented at the service by Andrew Cesana, Brian Moore, and Rosemary and Chris Clemence.
It is with sadness that the Association learned of Tom Stocksley’s passing on 31st January 2009 at the Kirkcudbright Cottage Hospital, Dumfries and Galloway.
Tom started his career as a church musician at the age of fifteen. During the 1950’s he was assistant organist at the Holy Rood Church in Stirling which houses a fine four manual Rushworth and Dreaper organ. In 1960, Tom and his wife Olwyn moved to the Medway Towns where Tom took up the position of Head of Music (and later business studies) at Highfield Secondary School in Chatham. He held four organist’s positions whilst in the Medway area: St Andrews Presbyterian Church, from 1960 till 1967, then at Ebenezer United Reformed Church, Chatham; The Royal Dockyard Church, Chatham and St Mary Magdalene, Gillingham Green where he completed 50 years as a church musician in 1985.
In 1988 Tom and Olwyn moved to Hitchin in Hertfordshire and they worshipped at Hitchin Parish Church where Tom also joined the Bedfordshire Organists’ Association. In 2007 they moved to a large family house at Kirkcudbright in Dumfries which they shared with their son Michael and his partner, Suzanne. Sadly in 2008 Tom suffered a massive heart attack and his health from that point declined. He passed away peacefully on 31st January 2009 at the Kirkcudbright Cottage Hospital. Tom and Olwyn were married for sixty-two years (all but one week) and our sympathy is with Olwyn his widow,
Michael and Suzanne.
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