John Meager  (1938-2020)

In this tribute, we give thanks for the life of John Meager, a former Cathedral Choir Tenor Lay Clerk, who sadly died on Wednesday 17th June at the Sue Ryder hospice in Reading after a period of ill health.

John lived in Mortimer, near Reading, Berkshire with his wife Margaret.  John and Margaret have a daughter, Jane and two sons, Jeremy and Simon, both of whom were Cathedral Choristers.

John’s career was as a Manager for Barclays Bank International and his professionalism has been evident by his softly spoken and sensitive character.

John was a Decani Lay Clerk during the Hurford, Darlington and Walsh eras from 1975 to 1987 and sang alongside fellow tenor colleagues, Tony Edwards and Paul Turner.

John joined the ECA committee in 2011 and was Honorary Treasurer and Vice-Chairman between 2013 and 2017.  He was also Honorary Treasurer for the International Organ Festival.

John was a great fan of Choir Camp and helped with its administration, including looking after the chorister’s pocket money in the field ‘bank’.  Both he and Margaret enjoyed the outdoors and the various daily walks in Somerset.  He enjoyed his pipe (“It kept the midges away”) and was known to sample the occasional glass of ale!

He liked to reminisce about his audition with Peter Hurford which was a testing time and later succumbed to Peter’s wicked sense of humour when challenged at rehearsal:
“Did you just make a mistake Mr Meager?”
“I don’t think so, Sir” was John’s reply (we all saw it coming!)
“I don’t appreciate tenors who don’t think!” was the withering response.

John, who died peacefully with his close family around him and listening to his beloved music, will be remembered as a lovely, caring man who always saw the upside opportunity of every day.

Richard Lilley

Should members wish to have written tributes passed to his family please inform Simon Trott by e-mail to

Message from George Corbett (1991-95)

I have just published an edited volume

‘Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century’

which might be of interest to ex-choristers of St Albans, and which is dedicated to the Cathedral Choir of St Albans Abbey.

The book can be freely downloaded as a PDF online, and is also available as a paperback or hardback copy, at the following website, which also gives some more information about the volume.

I am also directing a new MLitt in Sacred Music at the University of St Andrews, a collaboration between the School of Divinity and the Music Centre, which will open for applications in September this year (with the first cohort of students beginning in September 2020).

With best wishes,

George Corbett

ECA AGM 15 June

Saturday 15th June 2019, 1.30pm

Our AGM will now coincide with the memorial service for Peter Hurford. The meeting itself will be held at 1.30pm (prompt) in the Chapter Room of the Deanery.

The building works for the new visitors centre will be nearing completion although there is unlikely to be any parking available within the environs of the Cathedral or Deanery.


Peter Hurford OBE MA(Cantab) DMus. FRCO (1930-2019)

Dr Peter Hurford OBE
Dr Peter Hurford OBE

It is with great sadness I share with you all the news that our President and friend, Peter Hurford, passed away last night.

Peter had been quite unwell over recent years with dementia, but was very well cared for by family and staff at a local nursing home.

I have been in touch with his daughter, Heather, expressing our condolences to her and her brothers, Mike and Richard.  I know you will join me in thinking of, and praying for them at this difficult time.

Peter was Master of the Music at the Cathedral from 1958 until he retired in 1978 to pursue a distinguished international career as a recitalist and recording artist in his own right. He started the infamous Choir Camp in Luccombe, Somerset, in 1958 where the 60th anniversary was celebrated last summer.  In 1963 he founded the International Organ Festival and has been its President since he retired.   In 1984 Peter was honoured with the O.B.E.  He became our President in 2007 and has been very supportive of the ECA and events since.

Many of our younger members, who perhaps never had the opportunity to meet him, will have enjoyed on many occasions singing Peter’s music and taking part in the Three Choirs Concert at the start of each International Organ Festival.

I am advised there will be a private family funeral, with a memorial service of thanksgiving at a later date.  Once details are known I shall share them with you.

Should members wish to have written tributes passed to his family please inform Simon Trott by e-mail to

Richard Lilley