Anthony Cairns, MA, BMus, ARCM, has been organist and choirmaster at Christ Church since 1965, and was consultant for organ rebuilds in 1970 and 1995. He briefly studied piano teaching, cello, and choir training at the Royal College of Music and holds degrees in law (Cambridge, 1961) and music (London, 1977).
Anthony taught class music in Surrey secondary schools, becoming Head of Music at Esher College in 1977. He taught academic music and keyboard harmony at the Purcell School 1987-97. He was conductor of Leatherhead Choral Society 1991-2000, and formed the Leatherhead chamber choir AntiphoniA in 2007.
As an organist Anthony is largely self-taught, and particularly admires Peter Hurford and Olivier Latry.
The Christ Church organ was built by Hill Norman & Beard in 1970 with 16 stops, using some pipes from previous organs plus some neo-baroque sounds typical of the 1960's and '70's (Chimney Flute and Fifteenth on open-foot voicing, like the Royal Festival Hall organ). In 1995, HNB moved some loud stops from the Great to a new double case in the nave, 6 stops were added, and the tone was refined.
Violet Archer was born in Canada in 1913. A pupil of Hindemith and of Bartok, she adopted a neo-classical style. In a long career she held several senior posts in universities in the USA and Canada. Canadian indie rock band - The Violet Archers - is named after her.
As Canada Day / Fête du Canada (July 1st) is only 12 days off, we hear also from some of her fellow-countrymen.
Healey Willan emigrated from the UK in 1914 to lecture at Toronto University. He composed over 800 works. He was made a companion of the Order of Canada when that honour was founded in 1967. He claimed that he was English by birth, Canadian by adoption, Irish by descent and Scotch by absorption.
John Cook was born in Maldon Essex and was a pupil of St John’s School, Leatherhead. He was later a pupil of Boris Ord and David Willcocks at Cambridge, emigrated in 1954 becoming Cathedral organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario. In 1962 Cook was appointed
organist and choirmaster of the Church of the Advent, Boston and held posts at MIT and at Longy School of Music, Cambridge, Mass.
Denis Bédard, pupil of Gustav Leonhardt, is organist of Saint Coeur de Marie, Quebec. He composes organ and choral works and is a professor at the Conservatoire de Québec.