Music master marks 30 years

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Derby Cathedral will this Saturday (January 12, 6.30pm) host a celebration to honour its Master of Music, Canon Peter Gould, who is celebrating 30 years of service.

Under his leadership and direction, Derby Cathedral has gained an excellent reputation locally for cathedral music and has touched the lives of many people across the region and further afield.

The Dean of Derby, Dr John Davies said: “When Peter came here 30 years ago, there was no Cathedral Choir as we now know it. What we see and hear today is his creation, with the help over many years of Tom Corfield and many volunteers and friends.”

He added: “An honorary degree from the University of Derby and a Lay Canonry at the Cathedral are marks of esteem and affection too. Peter’s sheer energy, his love of the music, his search for excellence, his total focus, his distinctive laugh, all this is a blessing to us.”

Peter Gould said: “I was initially appointed in the summer of 1982 but delayed my arrival for a term because I was involved in a prestigious concert conducting Carmina Burana in Huddersfield Town Hall to celebrate Honley High School’s anniversary.

“I therefore started here on a cold Friday night just after Christmas, rehearsing the choir for the following Sunday’s worship. The choir at that stage was practically all adults and I had made up my mind to revert to a traditional all-male choir here as soon as possible.

“I pronounced to the choir that they would soon become the voluntary choir, effectively sacking them from their present position. Unbeknown to me at the time, my future wife was one of those choristers but she obviously forgave me as I proposed to her two months later and we got married in October 1983.

“I was able to use my experience gained from other churches where I had been organist and choirmaster from 1970 student days, first at St Margaret, Putney, then at Bradford Cathedral as organ scholar, finally at Wakefield Cathedral, where I was assistant organist for nine years.”

He added: “Both my predecessors worked here for 25 years each and I have outlived them!”

Tickets to the celebratory event at the cathedeal are £12 (under 18s £8), available from the Vergers or the Cathedral Bookshop. The price includes refreshments.