The funeral of Mr Harry Anderson took place in Seagoe Parish Church on Thursday 26 February. Harry had a long career of over sixty years as a choral director, organist and teacher, particularly in the Banbridge and Portadown areas. Harry was born in Lurgan and had his first organ lessons from his father, who was organist in High Street Presbyterian church in the town, before continuing with lessons with Fred Carter in Armagh cathedral. Over the years, Harry served as organist in many churches- St Matthew’s, Shankill Road, Belfast, Mourne Presbyterian, Kilkeel, Bannside Presbyterian, Banbridge, Holy Trinity Parish, Banbridge, Seagoe Parish Church (twice), St Mark’s Parish, Portadown and St Mark’s, Armagh, before an accident forced him to retire.
Harry taught French and Spanish in Kilkeel High School, Banbridge Technical College and latterly in Banbridge Academy where he taught for 25 years.
Harry’s tenure as organist and choirmaster in Banbridge was particularly successful, where he directed a 40 strong choir. There were two choir practices weekly, including one for the younger members of the choir and choristers. Harry had a great love of the psalms and Anglican chant and was influenced by the King’s College Willcocks psalm recordings, then available for the first time on LP. His proudest moment may well have been when his choir participated in Blackpool Music festival in 1970 and won the Open Church Choir class, beating eight other choirs. The adjudicator for the festival commented that it was ironic that a Church of Ireland choir had shown Church of England choirs how to chant! Many other successes at local and national music festivals followed, in addition to radio broadcasts, and the choir recorded an LP recording in 1977, one of the first parish choirs in Northern Ireland to do so. Large-scale anthems, such as S S Wesley’s ‘Ascribe unto the Lord’ and Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest,’ featured regularly on the monthly music lists. Harry was also conductor of Banbridge Choral Society and the acclaimed local choir ‘Counterpoint’ which he directed for many years.
USOC continues to remember Louise, Janice and Estelle and the family circle in its thoughts and prayers.