I had a real scoop this month. For our Draycott Diaries Jubilee Special, I chat with internationally acclaimed choral conductor, composer and organist Barry Rose OBE.
As resident organist and Master of the Choir at St Paul’s Cathedral in London from 1974, Barry participated in many royal services. These included the 1977 Silver Jubilee and the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.
Barry’s glittering career started with no qualifications whatsoever, just a love for pipe organ music – practising regularly on a harmonium and the local cinema’s Wurlitzer-type organ to learn his craft. This eventually allowed him to get away from working in an insurance office (much to his Father’s disappointment). A lucky meeting got him an audition for the Royal Academy of Music, and determination and talent did the rest.
We learn that conducting a famous Cathedral choir has its hazards – including flying lampshades. More importantly, how was he allowed to turn his back on the Queen?