Organist celebrates a half-century at Holy Trinity
Richard Cockaday has reached 50 years as organist at Holy Trinity, easily the longest-serving keyboard player in the church’s 159-year history.
Richard was appointed on September 1, 1970 by Canon Charles T. Sharland as ‘Organist and Partner in Ministry’.
He had been a member of Holy Trinity since 1958, together with his mother and grandmother. He was converted as a teenager and confirmed in 1959. He had served the church as a Boy Chorister, Bell Ringer, Pathfinder Leader, Adult Choir Member, Sunday School Teacher and Assistant Organist before his appointment as Organist of the church.
He has served under six rectors: Rev. John B. Weller, Canon Charles T. Sharland, Canon Gordon F. Bridger, Rev. Keith White, Canon Alan Strange and Rev. Dr Richard James; he has worked alongside 16 curates and nine Music Directors.
There have been many changes in worship styles in these years, including four Hymn Books: Hymns Ancient & Modern, Anglican Hymn Book, Mission Praise and Sing Glory. The liturgy has followed the Book of Common Prayer with Morning and Evening Prayer with Anglican Chant used for Psalms and Canticles and sung responses.
The church in the 1970s had a large four-part Choir and some highlights included anthems sung at all Festivals, Annual Choir Services, Holy Week Meditations of Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’, Handel’s ‘St. John Passion’ and Somervell’s Passion amongst other Sacred Works.
In the 1970s the Choir and Organist were invited on several occasions to lead the Service of Evensong at Norwich Cathedral, with Canon C. T. Sharland preaching, Richard playing the Cathedral organ and Choir leading the hymns and anthem.
Other highlights included a Morning Service for Bible Sunday in 1982 led by Canon Gordon Bridger which was broadcast on national television and in 1993 a Radio Broadcast of ‘Sunday Half Hour’ with Canon Roger Royle and Rev. Keith White was made.
He was also the resident Organist of St. Faith’s Crematorium for 20 years, playing for 3,500 to 4,000 Services every year.
Richard believes it has been a great privilege over the past 50 years to lead the Lord’s people at Holy Trinity in sung worship to celebrate in hundreds of Sunday Services, Marriages and to help to choose Music that brings comfort to many families in bereavement in their loss of loved ones, pointing to the Saviour who watches over and cares for each one of us.
‘Soli Deo Gloria’ – ‘To God alone the Glory’
His favourite hymn is recorded here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECdvv6b3Fdo&t=9s
Pictured above is Richard Cockaday (photo: Rosamund O'Donnell)