excerpt from 'I remember! Reminiscences of a Cobbler's Son' pp. 78-79 (347 words)

excerpt from 'I remember! Reminiscences of a Cobbler's Son' pp. 78-79 (347 words)

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I remember! Reminiscences of a Cobbler's Son

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[Arthur Gill recalls musical concerts around 1908 ‘in a background of Christian fellowship and good company’ at Belgrave Central Hall, Leeds, on Saturday evenings in autumn and winter]


I specially remember one Celebrity Concert when David Clegg, the Organist came to Belgrave for the week-end, and in addition to his Saturday appearance, he played the Organ for the Sunday Services, and gave a Sunday Afternoon Session in the Chapel which he called “The Possibilities of a Modern Organ”. I went to this afternoon session and was well repaid. To illustrate what he could do on the Organ, he chose a few well known simple hymns, such as “We are out on the ocean sailing”etc. He played each verse of these hymns in different combinations of stops and variations, and made them sound like masterpieces, it was simply fantastic. I also went to the Sunday Evening Service and sat as near to the Organ as possible in order to see him fingering the keys. One of the hymns was “All hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”. I never heard, before or since, such a fine interpretation of each verse, and the last verse, “O that with yonder sacred throng” was played with a lovely combination of quiet stops that gave an atmosphere of serenity, such as I had never before experienced. The organist at “The CARR” [Woodhouse Carr Wesleyan Chapel] at this time was Harry Akers, a grand chap, a few years older than myself. I asked him one day, what he thought about David Clegg. He said “Well Arthur, the orthodox Organists of the present time don’t acknowledge him, but I think he’s a wizard on the organ”. 


I remember David Clegg playing a composition of his own on the Belgrave Organ “A storm in Switzerland”. I’ve never been out in such a storm!—talk about realistic—a watering can was all that was needed! After the storm, he played a lovely quiet theme representing peasants singing a hymn of thankfulness, this melody was superb. I look back on these experiences with great pleasure. 

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