Several years ago someone asked me in a lovely way, “Who is Dr. Barry Rose? and how did we meet him? what is our history together?” which inspired me to write this little story, I’ve been sharing it with our families for the past several years.
Thank you for asking……
I first became acquainted with Dr. Rose’s work watching the “Royal Wedding” of Diana and Charles while I was an undergraduate in Tallahassee, Florida. Those of you who saw that broadcast may remember how beautiful everything was and how magnificent the choir of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London sounded under his direction.
Years later I met and heard him speak at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists held in Houston, Texas. It was the summer of 1988. I was there to play in the finals of the American Guild of Organists National Open Organ Playing Competition and had just finished my doctorate at the Eastman School of Music. At that convention I was so impressed with the passion of Dr. Rose’s address and still remember the beauty of his choir. At that same meeting I met for the first time Dr. Gerre Hancock of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Stephen Cleobury of King’s College, Cambridge. It was an amazing musical experience and who ever thought I’d be riding a tour bus out of Houston to a Rodeo with these men. It was quite a week. So Dr. Rose and I began our friendship all those years ago and at a moment that was quite fertile in my formation and musical growth.
Then…..we went into the Army together!
Yes, that’s right. I next saw Dr. Rose in the early 90’s along with his wife Buffie and two daughters at the Valley Forge Military Academy in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. We had assembled there with 120 or so choristers from around the country and some 30 adults for a weeklong “choir camp” offered by the Royal School of Church Music. It was quite an experience and through it all Dr. Rose led us with passion, unlimited energy and his amazing musical intuition.
Since that time we have gone “choir camping” several times and then while I was the Associate to Gerre Hancock at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue we worked again together for the annual course for Choirmasters.
Throughout all of this I have been impressed with Dr. Rose’s passion for education, love of children and extra ordinary musicianship – all combined with common sense!
He gave his last New York City Concert with the Choir of St. Alban’s prior to his retirement at Grace Church and even then was beginning a relationship with our choirs.
For the past twenty plus years he has been coming regularly to work with our choristers and when we re structured the chorister-training program and the Novice and Junior Choristers were created we decided to build this special intense training week for them, one that climaxes with the Novices moving to Junior and the offering of their annual special concert of music for treble voices.
Perhaps you now know more than you wish.
All this is to say that it is an honor to welcome Dr. Rose home to Grace again, to anticipate the inspiration and musical growth of the week to come and to enjoy his friendship and fellowship once again.
Please take time to greet him during the week and enjoy him at the lovely reception following the concert on the 12th.
Here are two links to information about Dr. Rose:
With all my best, Patrick