Michael was our music director and chairman for far more years than most us us can remember and sadly he passed away last month. Choir members were well represented at his funeral service this week at a packed St Leonard's, Shoreditch, a church where he was organist and lay reader for many years. We heard about his early life in Chipping Camden, his love of steam locomotives and music, his deep faith, and his studies at Trinity Music College in London. In retrospect it was no surprise to learn that he left college with a music degree to become a bus driver with LT, progressing (if that is the word) to a desk job and teaching and leading musicians at all levels. It was reckoned that he had conducted 'our' service at St Martin-in-the-Fields more than twenty times and we all felt part of his musical family.
We also heard about his family life and long-term friendships and sang some rousing hymns including The Lord is My Shepherd (Crimond) where suddenly some LTC sopranos and friends burst into a tuneful and exuberant descant.
I first met Michael in the rehearsals for the service at St Martin's in 2004 and according to my notes. last sang under his direction in October 2010 at St Nicholas, Poplar, when, I remember, we sang Bruckner's wonderful motet Locus Iste. His obvious musicality and strong faith was always accompanied by a kindness and patience which was such a help for those of us learning our parts and working together to sing as a choir.
Our forthcoming Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Wednesday 12 December, for which we are already rehearsing, will be dedicated to his memory. We will miss Michael but remember all the kindness and support he gave us.