It’s the hymn again! 86-year-old chorister who joined Perth Church Choir at the age of six celebrates his 80th birthday by singing for the congregation
- Bob McFarlane ‘joined St John’s Church Choir in Perth in 1941 at the age of just six
- The 86-year-old has no plans to retire and says it brings him happiness and joy
- He remembers bench light bulbs had canned shades for power outages during WWII
His backing vocals now cover pants instead of shorts, and the soprano voice has long given way to a rich bass, but 80 years in the same choir have not tarnished Bob McFarlane’s love for the music.
The 86-year-old joined the choir at St John’s Church in Perth in 1941 when he was six, and only national service and a home stint prevented him from taking his place in the stalls.
Mr McFarlane insists he has no plans to retire, adding: “It keeps you in shape and it’s a great way to mingle with like-minded and similar people. interests and get to know them. ” Being part of the choir has brought me great camaraderie throughout my life and always brings me happiness and joy. ‘
Her backing vocals now cover pants instead of shorts, and the soprano voice has long given way to a rich bass, but 80 years in the same choir have not tarnished Bob’s love of music. McFarlane.
Marjory Watson, choir director for 11 years, said: “Bob is the type of member all choir directors love to have. He is loyal, reliable, supportive and always gives his best.
‘He’s still a great singer – a mainstay of the bass section. She is a lovable person whose quick wit and sense of humor make choir practice more enjoyable for everyone. ‘
Mr McFarlane recalled that during World War II the light bulbs above the benches were fitted with tin shades to allow the choir to view their music without emitting too much light during blackouts.
And at the end of the war, he sang in church for a distinguished guest – Field Marshal Bernard ‘Monty’ Montgomery, the commander behind some of the Allies’ most crucial victories.
The 86-year-old joined the choir at St John’s Church in Perth in 1941 when he was six, and only national service and a home stint kept him from taking his place in the stalls .
Mr McFarlane said: “He was at one of the special services on Remembrance Day and I was standing at the door and he spoke to me.”
As a young man, Mr. McFarlane moved to the Maldives while performing his national service. He then worked in insurance and married Margaret in 1961.
He was forced to stop going to St John’s during the Covid lockdowns, so the couple watched services via the internet.
But the great-grandfather is now reunited with his friends and choir members. “We missed out on meeting people, but we’re all in the same boat,” he said.
“The congregation at the church resisted well. Singing is not the same when you are socially distant, but we still do our best. ‘
O Holy Night tops Carol poll
O Holy Night has been named the favorite Christmas carol of the British.
The song topped a poll conducted by Classic FM for the sixth consecutive year, beating Silent Night to No.2.
Gustav Holst’s version of In The Bleak Midwinter came in third, followed by Hark! The herald angels sing.
Based on a French poem, O Holy Night is considered the first Christmas carol ever played on the radio – in 1906 – and it was recorded by Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. Howard Darke’s version of In The Bleak Midwinter came in fifth in the poll, followed by O Come, All Ye Faithful, Carol Of The Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Once In Royal David’s City and Away In A Manger.
John Brunning, who will host the Christmas Day recap on Classic FM, said: “O Holy Night has it all – beautiful melody, powerful words and, at its core, a story of hope and the promise of redemption. Its enduring popularity is undeniable.