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Celebrating contemporary
church music
with Colin Gibson



In 1997 The Dunedin Methodist Parish celebrated the substantial contribution of Professor Colin Gibson to Church music in general,  and to the music of Mornington Methodist Church in particular.

Choir secretary and historian Leah Taylor discovered the following passage from the choir annual report for 1956-7:

"We were pleased to welcome back to the organ Mr Colin Gibson;  his appointment has proved a happy one.   His work is of a high standard at all times and is done in a most modest and charming manner."

This meant that by 1997 Colin would have served the Church for 40 years as organist and choirmaster  -  a feat definitely worthy of celebration.   Encouraged by the Leaders' Meeting Leah convened a small working party and set in train meticulous planning and preparation for a weekend of fine music,  food and fellowship.

cake cutting

Jeanette and Colin
cut the Organ cake

Invitations were sent out to all present and former choir members to assemble in Dunedin for a concert,  preceded by a meal together,  and followed the next day with a service of thanksgiving.   The response to the invitations was spectacular.   People travelled from as far as Whangarei and Invercargill to attend the festivities.   The Church was packed for the concert with past and present choir members,  family,  and friends from the wider parish.   Many greetings were sent by those unable to attend,  and tributes from the Vice-President of the Methodist Church of Aotearoa New Zealand,  Ruth Bilverstone,  the Revd John Murray on behalf of the New Zealand Hymn Book Trust,  fellow song-writer Shirley Murray,  and Evan Lewis on behalf of the Dunedin Parish were interspersed with musical items.


    Colin and John Gibson play a duet

The current choir showed their versatility by singing two brackets of songs which varied from the ireverent to the sacred.   Donald Phillipps and Glenda West sang solos,  Judy Davies played the cello,  and piano duets were played by Malcolm Gould and Eli Gray-Smith and by Colin and his son John.   Music filled the Church,  especially during the congregational hymns and when the current and returned choir members sang together.   The celebrations continued on the Sunday morning with a service of thanksgiving led by former Minister Revd Tim Langley.

Forty years on and Colin is still going strong.   As prolific and dynamic as ever,  he continues to enrich our worship by providing relevant challenging texts set to tunes people want to,  and are able to,  sing.   For examples of Colin's hymns check out the Songs to sing page.

Richard Cannon



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