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Special service will mark 40 years playing church organ
HE’S worked with five vicars, played for countless choristers and watched hundreds of weddings, but now all eyes are on a church’s longstanding organist.
It’s been 40 years since Andrew Dyer first sat down to play the organ for the St Michael’s church in Cumnor, and his parish will celebrate his work in a special service on Sunday, September 29.
About 20 former choristers will sing English choral music with the current choir and a full three-hour peal of bells will also mark the occasion.
The 66-year-old said: “It might be emotional for me.
“Playing the organ has been my hobby – my fun – and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“Music has been my church over the past 40 years.”
Mr Dyer, a chartered quantity surveyor, said he has probably only missed a couple of services each year during his career.
It means he has likely played the organ on Sunday mornings about 2,000 times.
He met his future wife Jenny Barson in the church’s bell tower in 1973 when she was doing service work for her Duke of Edinburgh award.
They have two children, Clare, 29, and James, 26, and live in Cumnor where Mr Dyer has lived since he was eight years old.
He was born in Oxford and initially lived in George Street where his mother, Kathleen, worked in Norman’s lingerie shop, and his father, Eddie, worked as a library assistant at Rhodes College, Oxford.
Diocese organs adviser Barry Williams said there were no records on who the longest-serving organists in the county were but believed Mr Dyer must be one of them.
He said he would like to congratulate Mr Dyer, who has no plans to retire.
Choir member Jean Entwhistle has known the organist for as long as he has played for the church, and has sung in the choir since 1984. She said: “It’s remarkable how dedicated he is. He can improvise well and he deserves recognition.”
“St Michael’s is a lovely church. Everyone is all in it together.”
Mrs Entwistle said the choir would bake cakes ahead of the service, which was also on St Michael’s paternal day.
Rev Geoff Maughan, who has served the church since 2007, said: “Lots of people remember Andrew playing at their wedding.
“He’s been a choir director as well as an organist and many choristers have learnt their trade from him. “He’s important to many people.”
The songs at the September 29 service include A Clare Benediction by British composer John Rutter and Te Deum in B-Flat by Charles Villiers Stanford.
Visitors are welcome from 11am.
Previous choristers at the church who would like to take part also also invited to contact Mrs Entwistle on 01865 863380.
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